Coal provides 37% of the world’s power and helped pave the way for the industrial revolution. In fact, the use of this simple fossil fuel tripled at the dawn of the 19th century and has only increases as each year passes. Britain has a very personal relationship with coal and its mining industry is incredibly rich. In this blog, the team here at Pearson Fuels have decided to analyse the defining moments in more depth…

Industrial Revolution

Coal was mainly used in the home until the industrial revolution led to the construction of mills, factories and seam powered engines across Britain. As a result, our coal consumption increased by around 500% in just a century. In fact, as the population increased so did the demand for coal and eventually it became more cost effective than wood.


Before the railways were built, coal was transported by horses that would pull heavy loads across the country. This all changed in 1825 when the Stockton and Darlington railways were opened and allowed for the mass transportation of coal, thereby securing a nationwide industry. With this said, horses were still used to transport the fossil fuel until the late 19th century.

Coal Mines Act 1842

In the early years of coal mining, it was more cost-effective to employ children as young as 5 to work in the coal mines because they were small and able to squeeze into tight spaces. Despite the uproar that governments would face now, this was common practice for many years until the Coal Mines Act of 1842 prohibited women and girls from working underground and prevented boys under the age of 10 from being employed in coal mines.


On January 1st 1947, the coal industry was nationalised and the National Coal Board (NCB) began operation. As a result, 980 coal mines across Britain created over 700,000 jobs for workers who were willing to undertake the dirty, and often dangerous, job.

70’s and 80’s Strikes

There were many strikes during the second half of the 20th century, however the most impactful was the UK Miners’ Strike that lasted from 1984 until 1985 as a result of the NCB’s plan to shut down mines across the country, which would see over 20,000 people lose their job. The strike included over 6,000 miners at the end, they were offered extensive redundancy payments.

Experts have predicted that we currently have enough coal supplies across mines in the world to last another 150 years as long as we continue at current levels. Here at Pearson Fuels we believe that there is nothing better than a roaring fire in the middle of winter and our team of experienced coal merchants are more than qualified to assist you with your purchase. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!