Coal posts in south Hertfordshire
There are two coal posts in Northaw. One is at the west end of the Ridgeway, OS ref: TL 272 035, at the junction with Well Lane and second is almost within site further down Well Lane outside the entrance to Queenswood School's rear entrance OS ref: TL 270 032. Hertfordshire's coal posts are dotted around the south of the county, some at road junctions, others buried away in woodland and hedgerows. All are more than 130 years old. A feature on this site explains the history of the posts. All the grid references given below the pictures relate to the Ordnance Survey Landranger Series 1:50,000 scale map for Luton and Hertford (sheet 166). Click here for the location details of all the coal posts in Hertfordshire.
If you want to see the exact location of the posts on an Ordnance Survey map, click here and enter the exact grid reference (e.g. TL 271 035) in the search field and the map will be downloaded for you.
These square cast iron column with bevelled corners are the most common. They are set on a base with a cap and a small collar just below. Out of the ground they are about 4' high. When in position, and part buried, they are 3' to less than 2' depending on how deep they are set in the ground.
Between the cap and collar there is the arms of the City of London. Below the collar many have the details of the Act under which the posts were erected. On the base of the marker are the details of the casting company - Henry Grissell, Regents Canal Ironworks, London.
These inscriptions are usually dated. The columns erected under the 1851 Act have the inscription recording the 1861 Act screwed over the original (in some cases the plates have been lost). There are other minor variations.
The body in the post, including the cap, is white. The coat of arms depicted is that of the City of London, with the shield bearing the Cross of St. George and the Sword of St. Paul, painted red on a white background.
Beneath the coat of arms is to be found the letters "24 & 25 VICT. CAP 42". This refers to the Act of Parliament which led to the setting up of the posts and signifies the 24th and 25th year of the reign of Queen Victoria (1861) and the 42nd chapter of that act.