Keeping track of your sacks
These metal tags were for labelling coal sacks. They were taken from A. & H. Betts Ltd, who were coal merchants in St Rule Street in Battersea. The company was established in 1887 and supplied coal, coke and fuel oil for use at home and by businesses. The coal was supplied by the Normanton Coal Company who were based in a town of the same name in Yorkshire.
Coal delivered to the home
Up until the 1940s, most homes in Britain used coal-burning stoves. The stoves kept houses warm and provided heat for cooking. Every week, the coal merchant would travel around from house to house delivering coal. It was normally kept in a coal shed at the back of the house or in a coal cellar.
The government later realised that the burning of fossil fuels like coal was bad for the environment. The selling of coal was no longer accepted. The coal business went into decline, and Betts was forced to close in 1974.
Museum number 74.65/1