Trustee Keith Sugden has been trawling through the archives . . .
In 1889 the charity distributed 85 imperial tons (86 metric tonnes) of coal to 118 Great Shelford residents. When you consider the maximum gross weight of a vehicle allowed on today’s roads is 44 tonnes, you can see that was one heck of a lot of coal. And bearing in mind the population of Great Shelford at the time was 1,020 spread across 238 households, this meant that half the households in the village received fuel relief from the charity.
Many of the recipients were agricultural labourers and fuel poverty – to use today’s term – reflected the depressed state of British agriculture in the late 19th century. Alas fuel poverty continues to this day, albeit for different reasons.
Villagers experiencing hardship may wish to contact our partner, John Huntingdon’s Charity in Sawston, who can provide advice on benefits, housing, homelessness and debts. Their services are free of charge and confidentiality is assured.