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Coal as a Freight, Coal as a Fuel: A Study of the British Coal Trade: 1850 - 1913

ALLAN, CHRISTOPHER,JAMES (2020) Coal as a Freight, Coal as a Fuel: A Study of the British Coal Trade: 1850 - 1913. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Coal was of great importance to the continuing dominance of Great Britain in the latter half of the nineteenth century. From 1815 to 1914, the Pax Britannica was built on a steady exploitation of Britain’s coal resources. The factories that built the country’s many manufactures ran on steam turbines powered by the ‘black diamonds’ dug up from across the nation, South Wales to Scotland. The nation’s homes were heated and its electricity generated by burning great mountains of it. The ships that protected the shores and projected power across the waves ran, during this period, almost exclusively on coal, as did the ships bringing the raw materials of the planet to ‘the workshop of the world’. Yet in this last regard, the crucial role played by coaling stations set about the planet’s coastlines has never yet been truly appreciated. In order to do this, it is necessary to discuss coal more generally and its importance to the British transport economy. This must be done both domestically (in terms of London’s dominant role in the British coal market, particularly for coal from the North East) and internationally (based around the South Wales coalfield and its use as a ballast to enable Britain’s imports), not to mention the dominance of steamships in international trade before the First World War – the latter a topic riven by debate. Furthermore, given the absence of scholarly work on coaling stations themselves, once their importance is established it is vital to undertake a study of their structure and variety, the firms and alliances behind their creation and to see if these were in fact a great British success story in a period traditionally associated with British entrepreneurial failure.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Oct 2020 08:41

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