Page:A tour through the northern counties of England, and the borders of Scotland - Volume I.djvu/325

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is, for the most part light, friable, full of bitumen, caking in burning, and leaving a cinder after repeated burnings with little ashes, and these of a reddish brown colour. This is the better sort; the inferior burns more quickly, makes less cinder, and leaves white ashes, but is not much esteemed. The whole of this is brought down from the works in waggons along rail-roads, and poured, by covered wooden channels called staiths, (run up at the edge of the river near the works) into boats, or keels as they are here denominated, a clumsy oval vessel, carrying about twenty tons each. These convey the freight to the vessels. The coal-mines are chiefly, though not all, worked by companies of undertakers, who receive leases from the landed proprietors for that purpose. From these people the fitter receive the article, and deliver it to the ship-owner, who pays them in notes of six weeks date, and runs the risque of the sale in London. The number of people employed on the river in this vast trade are as follows ; Colliers, 6700; Keelmen, 1547; Trimmers, 1000; Seamen, 9000.—The population of Newcastle, exclusive of Gateshead, is 28,294; of which 15,945 are females, and only 12,349 males. The houses amount to 3276, and the families to 6845; a calculation that gives 8⅔ to a house, and