Unloading a Collier

Technique includes aquatinting. Hand-coloured. This is a good illustration of what was known as 'whipping', the classic way of unloading coal in particular but also similar loose cargo or ballast. The vessel is probably a north-eastern collier brig on which a jeer has been rigged, footed at the base of the main mast. At the peak of the jeer is a large metal pulley with a four-tail 'whip' to the hoist by which the men heave a basket of coal from the hold and discharge it down a shute into a lighter alongside. In the mid-19th century as many as 600 colliers might be seen on any day in the Pool of London. They were sturdy and flat-bottomed and many illustrations also show them in more rural locations, beached at low tide and whipping coal into horse-drawn carts driven out on the foreshore.

Major overseas buyers of British coal were the Netherlands, France, Belgium and the Baltic states. Coal had always been regarded as a national asset, and thus the British government imposed heavy export duties and gave preference to British shipping. The general export duty was dropped in 1834, with a duty on exports in foreign ships remaining until 1851. See PAD7785 for further information about the series from which the image comes.

Object Details

ID: PAD7770
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Atkinson, John Augustus; Miller, William Walker, James
Date made: 1 Jan 1808
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Mount: 232 mm x 168 mm

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