The Coal Hole on the Strand in London.
The Coal Hole is a pub on the Strand in the theatre district of London. It is connected to the Savoy Hotel and at one time was its coal bin. There used to be holes in the sidewalk about one foot in diameter where they used to pour bags of coal from horse drawn carts. The holes were round - not square - so the lids could not fall inside. Coal hole covers are valuable collectors' items over here.
In 1952 - London had a killer smog. All of the homes and buildings were heated with small coal stoves and fireplaces. They did not burn anthracite - they were fueled by smokey low grade lignite. In 1956 - they passed the Clean Air Act which made it against the to use coal for heat. The homes still have the chimneys - it is common for some homes to have as many as 12 chimneys - one for each room. Also - the buildings are covered with black soot - and no one seems to own a pressure washer. They say the dirt is tradition.
In 2 weekends from now - Lulu and I are going to Durham for the coal miners' union parade. Although the coal mines were closed down by Maggie Thacker in the 1980's - the miners still meet every year and have a big parade. They make colorful banners that are awarded prizes. Yes - they drink a bit too.
Richard Harris - of the Molly Macguires movie fame - lived in the Savoy Hotel later in life and enjoyed drinking there daily.
We had a late supper - 8PM is late for us - as we try to switch over to London time. Meat pies are popular here - and mine was chicken and mushroom.
Inside the Coal Hole - we sat in the balcony.