Hi coldguy, I meant start up the iron fireman, that is flip the switch and make the motor/fan run.. You want to check that mice haven't made nests and clogged the tubes/fans/flappers/airways etc... My Iron Fireman had several nests in the tubes and fan.. Made real mess when I first ran the fans..
As for sealling it off... what I meant, is that in the third from last photo you posted, it shows what appears to be the boiler smoke outlet with some kind of tubes/heat exchanger in a large horizontal tube arrangement, then on top if this large tube is the chimney flue pipe exiting the boiler... The end of the large tube appears to be open to the flue pipe... so I assumed that there is some kind of cover or access plate that covers the end of the large tube, sealing off the boiler from the boiler room ???? Maybe I need to see a close-up of the chimney flue arrangement..
If you were able to crush the coal underfoot, then I'd say it is soft coal, bituminous coal. I can stand on a golf ball size piece of anthracite and twist and turn and only grind a little coal off the bottom of the piece... I can't crush it into powder or numerous pieces, it is too hard... another comparrison I did when I had bituminous around was to take a 3" piece of bituminous and a 3" piece of Anthracite... using an 18# splitting maul, held 6" above the bituminous piece, I dropped the maul on the coal. The coal broke into 6-8 pieces, and lots of fines [powdery coal]. When I dropped the same maul from the same height on the piece of anthracite, I heard a 'clink' and the maul fell over, the anthracite was pretty much untouched, a small flake or two had popped off the bottom, but the piece was 99% intact. HARD stuff.
Yes if the coal is old it may be very hard to ignite, I had forgotten about this.