Voices in the Coalshed: Christmas and Coal
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Voices in the Coalshed: Christmas and Coal

Coal and Christmas are often linked in people’s minds by the common belief that naughty children would find a stocking full of coal rather than toys on Christmas morning. We are not certain where this idea comes from, but some people believe that Santa Claus, reluctant to leave an empty stocking, would use whatever was nearby and take coal from a scuttle near the fireplace to fill the stocking.

Although I am sure that this is true, I do not know anyone who received coal instead of toys.

Some children, however, did receive toys linked to coal. The December 1949 edition of Coal magazine (Coal magazine (NCB), Dec. 1949, p27) had an article giving advice about suitable toys to buy for children. More toys were becoming available that winter as things were getting back to normal after the second world war.

The writer tells us that “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without toys,” but reminds us that, “It is always a mistake to buy expensive toys.”

They are intrigued by, “a goods train with its trucks loaded with coal and pit props.” Highlighting how everyday life is reflected in the toys on sale. The writer even says that, “modern mining lends itself very well to reproduction in toys.” And hints that coal cutters and pit cages would be a good idea too.

Did you have a coal cutter or even a pit cage? Why not pay a visit to NCMME and see where coal for the naughty children came from?

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the Voices in the Coalshed volunteers.

Post by Volunteer Nicola.

Coal magazine (NCB), Dec. 1949, p27.