There are serious concerns that the rising price of coal is putting it beyond the reach of the poorer classes. Nevertheless, the Constable of St Helier had ordered the police to arrest anyone found picking up the lumps falling off carts transporting loads of coal from the harbour. It’s a move that some commentators have described as heartless.
Shortages due to wartime demand and difficulties shipping it to Jersey has caused the price of coal to steadily rise. Some are already referring to the vital fuel as ‘black diamonds’, such is its value. Not surprisingly, it has become common practice for people to follow the carts transporting coal arriving at the harbour and pick up any lumps that fall onto the road.
While the practice of gathering fallen coal is not new, merchants have complained that the number taking part has grown considerably recently. There are claims that young lads are using sticks to knock the coal off the carts, and also that some carters are deliberately overloading, being in collusion with those doing the collecting.
In response, the Constable, John Pinel, has ordered the police to arrest anyone found picking up fallen coal.
D/Z/H2/6 contains reports, correspondence and newspaper cuttings relating the coal being gathered from the road and plans to stop the practice.