Taking Coal To Leeds

I must have taken this photograph over half a century ago, but I can still recall leaning over the bridge to take a photograph of this coal barge unloading its cargo in Leeds. The accuracy of my memory does not stretch to recalling which bridge it was, but I can get around that by simply captioning it, “Leeds”. Try as I might, I can’t quite make out the name of the barge, but quite clearly it was owned by LICS (Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society). The LICS was founded in 1847 by a group of workers in a flax-spinning mill, who raised funds from amongst themselves to produce flour to sell cheaply to their members. From such beginnings it grew to become Britain’s largest co-operative society whose activities included food and non-food retailing, and, as we can see, the supply and delivery of coal.

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