Keep the Home Fires Burning

Heating the houses in the early years

Photo:An advertisement from 1936

An advertisement from 1936

Wallington and Carshalton Times

For many years the residents used coal for most of their heating. It was delivered by horse and cart and later by lorry. Due to the design of the houses, it wasn't easy for the coal to be delivered. 

As you went into the house, there was a little porch which was just a little square with a doormat and if you had coal delivered it had to come in through that door and then the coalman had to walk through the living room door to get to the coal cellar under the stairs. And everything had to be delivered like that.   (Peggy Hooper née Triggs)

Barry Hackett's mother made sure she got a fair deal from the coalmen.

Coal used to be delivered by sack you know and the lorry would come round or even earlier with a horse and cart, they would come round with it. I always remember my mum saying, "Coalman's coming today.  Make sure you count the bags." 'Cause often they would say they'd put in three bags and they'd only put in two.  I always remember that. And my mum used to say "Make sure you shut all the doors.  Don't want all this coal dust going everywhere". The coal fires we used to have used to create the smog. The smog sometimes was dreadful  you know but obviously that's all changed now because everybody's gone away from them types of fires.

Cold mornings, cold bedrooms

Until the fire was lit in the morning, the house was very cold and the bedrooms were always freezing.  A lot of people remember the ice on the inside of their windows in the winter.

I used to beg to come down

Rosemary Turner

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 30/06/2010.
Comments about this page

One of my early memories was of how cold the house was during the winter. Dad was first up each morning to light the fire using paper kindling and coal long before the Clean Air Act was ever thought of.

By Peter Prior
On 17/10/2010

Towards the end of the war when coal supplies were low we as kids would be sent down to the Sutton Gas works on Saturday morning to buy coke. The only means of transport we had in those days were either the soap box carts that we made ourselves or any thing that had wheels. Some came down there with prams or push-chairs with boxes balanced on top.Some times the queues were so long that you might wait for an hour or more to be filled up. Coke was not the ideal fuel for the open fires,but mixed in with coal it did at least give us heat.

By Pete Leonard
On 25/03/2011

The coalman used to wear leather head gear that went down their neck and shoulders I was terrified of them !,! I still dont know why to this day ! Yes we had to count the bags to and you dare not move until it was over do you remember the ice on the inside windows (no double glazing then) It was my job to lay the fire first thing, It  became a skill in the end.we used to huddle round the fire.The fogs were horrible if you went out you had to be careful not to get lost also if the coal was wet we had to dry it  thanks for all  your recalls    AN ESTATE BOY,!,

On 27/01/2015

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