HC Deb 05 March 1872 vol 209 cc1391-2

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether he can state shortly the result of the recent trials of Mixed Coal as compared with Welsh smokeless Coal; and, whether it is the intention of the Admiralty to return to the use of Welsh smokeless Coal for the use of Her Majesty's ships?


Sir, I must demur to the use of the word "smokeless" as applied to Welsh coal, for it does gone-rate under some circumstances a certain amount of smoke. In the short time allowed for answering a Question, I cannot give the full results of the interesting experiments which have been made; but Papers on the subject will shortly be in the hands of hon. Members. Experiments have been made during the late season with the Indian troopships Serapis, Crocodile, and Euphrates. They have been run against each other, some with mixed and others with Welsh coal, and the results are very remarkable. There has been a great saving, both in mixed and Welsh coals, as compared with any previous averages, thus showing that great care taken in these competitive trials has produced economy in both kinds. The aggregate consumption of Welsh coal on these three ships in the experimental voyage out and home was 3,348 tons in 2,184 hours, as compared with 3,724 tons of mixed coal in 2,052 hours, showing a difference of 376 tons in favour of Welsh coal, and of 132 hours in favour of mixed coal. The difference was thus not very great in either case; but the aggregate amount of coal used in these voyages showed a saving of 2,000 tons over the average of the previous voyages of these ships since 1867. As to the intention of the Admiralty, it has been shown that there is economy in the Welsh coal where it is practicable to use it perfectly fresh; but mixed coal answers best in hot climates, as it keeps better than Welsh. Accordingly, all ships starting from Portsmouth and Plymouth will in future be supplied with Welsh coal only, and the same course will be taken as regards Gibraltar; the depôt there will be supplied with Welsh coal only. The depôt at Malta will be supplied with two-thirds of Welsh coal and one-third of North-country coal. At Port Saïd, Bombay, and other district stations the present proportion of half Welsh and half North-country coal will be maintained.