Charcoal burners

My original home county of Sussex was once heavily forested. When iron stone was found as well, charcoal was needed in large quantities for the iron smelting business. Charcoal ‘burning’ became a steady occupation for men willing to live in rather temporary shacks out in the woods. It was actually a skilled job to get the wood carbonised into charcoal, but not to allow it to really catch fire. The charcoal fire needed round the clock attention for several days. Here we see a post card of a charcoal burner’s home in Arundel Park.


My family didn’t live in that part of Sussex, but even so, this is a family postcard.


This card was sent to my Gran, Ethel Stevens in January 1905. The address was that of my Gran’s own granny, Helen Stevens. The sender was my Great Aunt Eliza. She was in service in Firle.

The message really reflects how postcards were the text message of the day. It is really a brief message more or less saying, ‘see you at five o’clock at the station tomorrow’.

In 1903 Eliza had ‘got into trouble’. She had a child!  I have the feeling, from some postcards, that my gran, still a youngster, did quite a lot of caring for baby Ernie for Eliza had to work. But I note on this card that Eliza says, ‘hope all are well as it leaves us both the same’. So Eliza seemed to be writing on behalf of two people, but the second one might have been Will Hughes who she married in 1906.

Whatever the situation, it’s a cute card which perhaps great great granny might have remembered seeing in her area, and like all messages, it adds just a little to family knowledge.

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2 Responses to “Charcoal burners”

  1. Janet Says:

    Another postcard treasure.

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