1712 Newcastle Hospital Bill
The Keelman's Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne was built in 1701 as an almshouse for sick and aged keelmen and their families. The keelmen worked on keels, which were flat-bottomed boats that carried coal from the shallow banks of the Tyne to waiting collier ships. The keelmen loaded the coal onto the collier ships and these ships carried the coal from the Tyne down the east coast to London. Unusually the Hospital was paid for by the keelmen themselves, who set up a charitable trust and agreed to contribute a penny a tide from the wages of each keel's crew. The Hospital was completed in 1701 at a cost of £2,000. The funds for the maintenance of the Hospital were controlled by the hostmen of Newcastle, who owned the keels and controlled the coal production business. On 1712 John Ker, Steward of the Hospital, together with keelmen John Meanes and Robert Haliburton, sent a petition to Parliament requesting that the keelmen be allowed to manage the charity themselves.