Sea Coaling


A 'sea-coaler' is someone who makes their living by collecting and selling coal washed up on the beaches. Examples of beaches in the North East where sea coaling was practiced included Seaton Carew, Horden, Blackhall and Lynemouth. There is evidence of the trade going back to the 7th century. There are still a few sea coalers today (19 in Hartlepool in 2015)[1], long after the coal mines have shut.  

Sea Coaler at LynemouthSea coaling involves hard physical labour, raking and shovelling up the washed up shards of coal, which are heavy and water sodden - often twice a day at low tide. A sea coaler can harvest up to a tonne of coal every day. Some sea coalers used horse and carts, of the few remaining today some have vehicles they drive on the beach. Some of the coal washed up occurs naturally as the sea erodes coal beds. However, on some beaches it came from coastal collieries, such as Horden, which dumped mining waste (mostly rock, but including some coal) in the sea via rope and pulley systems. In these cases the beaches have gradually cleaned up after the collieries shut. 

from Youtube (youtube)
Low water sea coaling Horden blackhall

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Simon Cotterill
from Youtube (youtube)
Sea Coal - UK

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Simon Cotterill
from Newcastle University (youtube)
Caught By The Camera No. 27 (1935)

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Simon Cotterill
from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...
The twilight of 'sea-coaling': Pictures capture the dying industry where men scrape together coal washed up by the sea
- Daily Mail, 14 April 2013. "Images show the back-breaking work done by 'sea-coalers'. The men harvest coal washed up on the beach in Hartlepool. But the trade is under threat ...

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Simon Cotterill
from Youtube (youtube)
Seacoal Men Collecting From Middleton Beach, Hartlepool

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Simon Cotterill
from Youtube (youtube)
Sea Coal - UK, July 2006

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Simon Cotterill
from Flickr (flickr)
Sea coaling, Lynemouth

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from Flickr (flickr)
Raking up the Sea Coal

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from Flickr (flickr)
Hartlepool Art Gallery - People's Choice - 12 Aug - 17 Sept, 2006

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from Flickr (flickr)
Raking up the Sea Coal

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from Flickr (flickr)
Beach tyre track

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Simon Cotterill
from http://www.thenorthernecho....
Beach fight: Sea coalers allowed on Hartlepool's beaches
- Article by Chris Webbe, Northern Echo, 6th April 2015. "SEA coalers have been allowed back on to Hartlepool beaches. Before Hartlepool Borough Council banned motorised vehicles from the town's ...

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Simon Cotterill
from http://www.geograph.org.uk/...
Sea-coal on North Gare Sands
- "The black colouration in the ripple-marks is sea-coal: small pieces of coal from seams exposed below the sea, washed ashore by the waves. A larger lump of coal can also ...

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from http://www.disphotic.com/re...
REVIEW – SEACOAL BY CHRIS KILLIP
- March 2, 2015 by Disphotic (blog) "In 1976 the photographer Chris Killip, who had relocated from London to the north of England, first came across the beach near Lynemouth, on ...

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Simon Cotterill
from Geograph (geograph)
Erosion at Beacon Point

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Peter Smith
from Geograph (geograph)
Sea coal, Cresswell beach

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Peter Smith
from Geograph (geograph)
Stack of sea coal recently scraped off the beach

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Peter Smith
from Geograph (geograph)
Sea coal

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Peter Smith
from Geograph (geograph)
Gathering sea coal, Hartlepool Beach

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Peter Smith
from Geograph (geograph)
North Gare Sands

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Peter Smith

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