The father and sons team who run R A Blackford coal merchants. From the left are Richard, Alan and Philip.

Need coal for your fire? Call R A Blackford

Twenty different fuels are available for every type of fire and to suit all budgets at R.A. Blackford and if you would like advice on getting the best out of your fire this is the place to go.

The family business was launched in 1936 by the father of Alan Blackford who runs the firm now with his two sons Philip and Richard.

They are based at Five Ash Down, in Cobdown Lane, and deliver within an area stretching from Eastbourne to Clacket Lane near the M25 and between the A21 and A23, also going to Shoreham and Worthing.

Customers are also welcome to call in to take advantage of a cash and carry service.

Alan said the firm can advise on the best fuel to suit the purpose, whether that’s for boilers, wood burners, multi-fuel stoves, open fires, gravity feed fires or for blacksmiths and farriers.

He added: “You won’t get a good fire going if you are using the wrong fuel. Our years of experience mean we can tell you what will best suit your needs.”


It’s the smaller pieces of coal you need when starting a fire.

R.A. Blackford also sells kindling, logs, firelighters, coal bunkers, coal buckets, hods and fireside companion sets.


Kindling and logs available at R A Blackford coal merchants.

Alan has been known to go out and help a customer struggling to get a fire started. He said people think of using paper but don’t always add enough kindling. He advises picking out smaller pieces of fuel in the early stages too.


Coal buckets and hods at R A Blackford.

Alan was a teenager when he came into the family business after his father died at the age of 39 in 1954.

He worked with his mother and two employees to keep the coal merchants going, as well as a furniture removal business that was started during the war years – a lot of work was done in those days moving evacuees – and in 1958 the Blackfords went into haulage.

The coal merchant used to work out of the railway station where the fuel was brought in by rail. Alan said they worked alongside at least five or six other merchants. There were more in Crowborough and in places such as Isfield and Barcombe too – all the little villages used to have them at one time.

Of course all that has changed and the introduction of gas and oil heating means many R. A. Blackford customers these days light fires to enjoy them rather than because of necessity.

Alan said: “That makes it even more important for people to choose the right fuel – it’s no good randomly picking up a bag at a supermarket or petrol station, it might not be right for the purpose. ”

R.A. Blackford delivers coal loose (50kg) or in pre-packed plastic sacks (10/25kg). The coal depot is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4.30pm and on Saturday (November to Easter) 9am to noon.

For more information please call 01825 732183 or visit the R.A. Blackford website at

• Contact details for R A Blackford can be found 24/7 in their listing in our Uckfield Directory. Look for the name or search in categories for Coal Merchants or Fuel Suppliers.

See also:

Where to shop in Uckfield during November

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Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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