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Coal Holes on Station Road in July 2001.

Do you know how it should be spelt?

A coit was a building found in all terrace houses in Rishton. It was a little building all on its own at the bottom of the back yard.

It contained two little buildings, one of which started out its life as an ashpit, and the other either a coal hole or rubbish hole.

The black and white photo shows a set of coits in a back yard (83 Hermitage Street).

Looking down on a set of coits.

The door on the left was the waste closet. and the door on the right was the coal hole. On these coits there is also a flag to the right, next to the back gate, half way up the wall. This was used by this particular household for the storage of the ash bin (seen below the flag) and whatever you wanted on the top! The thickness of the roof flag can clearly be seen in the photograph.

Notice should be made of the back yard floor, which is all flag stone. These would all have been 3 or 4 inches thick, and are very difficult to break.

The roof of the coit was a 3 inch (7.5 cm) thick stone flag, made in the local quarries, and covered the entire roof area in one piece. Needless to say these were heavy pieces of stone and were great to play on in the back streets.

 Coal inlets for Deliverly in the Back Street

Visible in the top picture you can see the line of the stone roof jutting out into the back street at the top of the wall. The roof was sometimes built on, and holes left in the stone to let the water run off the roof into the back street, again, as seen in the picture above. There are two holes in the back street, one high, the other low. One was coal, the other muck.

Kids used to run up and down the back yard walls, from one end of the street to the other, along the top of these coits. The top of the walls being covered with the same thick slabs of stone (sometimes thicker!) as the roof was.

The coit leans up against the backyard wall, and there would be two openings into the back street, these would be used by the coalman to deliver the coal, and the waste collectors to remove any rubbish.

Openings to the coits from the back street, and the stone slabs on the roof.

Sadly most of the coits have been demolished, and the backyard walls built of stone like the ones shown in the photographs on this page start to tumble without the support of the little buildings. One by one these walls are being rebuilt and the site of the coal holes is now disappearing.

The coits are being knocked down so that people can have more space in their back yards, or extensions built to the back of their properties.

In the era of privy/middens, which were in outbuildings, summertime was characterised by the vast number of houseflies that buzzed around the houses. Long, sticky "fly papers" adorned the gas-brackets indoors. The early privy, which was also known as "closet" or "petty", was simply a large container that was periodically emptied by the "night soil men". Later came the tippler; when this filled with liquid it tipped over and the contents descended direct into the sewer.

 Bricked up coalholes on Station Road in July 2001.

References

 

Metal hole, but the door has gone. May 2001.