History of the City of London coal duties

Public works in the early 19th century


From this period onwards, the duties were used exclusively to finance public works in London, partly though the agency of the City (for example the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange authorised by the Royal Exchange Improvement Act 1838 and other works in the City mentioned below), but to a greater extent though the agency of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works, and Buildings, who were responsible, among other things, for the building of New Oxford Street, the extensions of Coventry Street and Cranbourn Street which made a through road from Piccadilly Circus to Long Acre and the widening of Leman Street (as authorised by the London Roads Act 1839, the Metropolitan Thoroughfares Act 1840, and the Street From Coventry Street to Long Acre Act 1841). In all these cases the actual money raised by the duties was not sufficient to pay the costs incurred in the initial stages of a project: what happened was the money was raised on the credit of the duties which were then used to service and repay the debt.

Again, these Improvements are depicted on the Plan of London shewing public works.

The London and Westminster Coal Trade Act 1838 continued the duties until 1845 and made provisions regulating the coal trade within 25 miles of the General Post Office in St Martins le Grand. The Coal Duty, London Act 1845 continued the duties to 1862 and extended them to all coal coming within 20 miles of the General Post Office by any mode of transport, as described in The London District 1845-1861.

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