I have also used 'A Pit Terminology Used in Coal Mining' a publication compiled by William Stukeley Gresley, dated 1883 and given to me by Philip Wyles.
AB15 - Anderson Boyes steel rope hauled 15 inches high machine for undercutting coal at face lines. Similarly AB 12 being 12 inches high for thin seams
Abattib - (Leicestershire Coal Field) Walls or ranges of branch or rough wood
Abtheilung - (Prussian). A fixed part' or district of a mine assigned to the care of a fire-man or deputy.
Acre - Unit of land standardised by Edward I, 40 rods x 4 rods, now 4,840 square yards
Acreage Rent - Royalty or rent paid by the lessee for working and disposing of minerals at the rate of so much per acre. Very frequently this rent is calculated at so much per foot thick of the seam or mine per acre, the measurements being taken on the slope or plane of the coal, etc., and at right angles to the dip.
Addit or footrill - Entrance to a mine, usually a drift which sloped from the surface down to a coal seam.
Addle - (North of England) To earn.
Addlings - (North of England) Earnings or wages.
Adit - An underground level to the surface from the level of the mine workings, or from part of the way down the shaft (Fig 1), generally used for drainage purposes.
Advanced Head - A roadway heading which is in front of the coal face line.
Advance Face - A face where the coal is extracted as the face and roadways advance, advancing away from the main roads. Opposite to retreat mining.
Adventurers - The original promoters or speculators in a search for coal, etc.
Aerial ropeway towers - System of dirt tipping using buckets traversing along a steel rope on towers.
Aerometers - The air pistons of a Struve ventilator.
Aerophore - The name given to an apparatus which will enable a man to enter places in mines filled with explosive or other deadly gases, work there with freedom, take with him a light, and remain for an indefinite time.
AFC or Panzer - An armoured flexible conveyor, used to transport coal off a face. Coal cutting machines were often mounted above the AFC. Hydraulic chocks were attached to the AFC. They could then be advanced using a ram. Also known as the panzer. Steel pans linked together with chains and bars
Aftercooler - Fan with cooling air set up near a return gate lip at a coalface to lower the working temperature.
Afterdamp - A mixture of lethal gases after an explosion, colourless, deadly, just one of the many hazards one encounters venturing underground.
Agent - One to whom the general laying out and supervision of the workings is entrusted by the owner or lessee. He may have a number of separate collieries under his care. The wages and contractor's prices are regulated by him. Any addition or alteration in the various departments connected both with the underground and surface works, machinery, etc., must generally be sanctioned by him. He is responsible to the owner as well as under the Coal Mines Regulation Act for the appointment of competent managers, enginewrights, deputies, surveyors, etc. See Viewer.
Agent Manager - Higher grade of Manager usually at a colliery producing + 500,000 tonnes/year.
Air (1) The current of atmospheric air circulating through and ventilating the workings of a mine.
Airbagging - A flexible trunking used to conduct air from an auxiliary fan to where it was needed at the head of a driveage.
Airborne Dust Sampler - Taking samples of Airborne dust by thermal precipitator and/or P.R.U. Pumps.
Airbreaker - An alternative method using compressed air, instead of using explosives to break down the coal.
Air-Box - A rectangular wooden pipe or tube made in lengths of say 9 to 15 feet for ventilating a heading or a sinking pit.
Air-Course - Any underground roadway used for the special purpose of ventilation.
Air- Crossing - A bridge which carries one air-course over another. In collieries liable to heavy explosions, in order to prevent as far as possible the blast from destroying these air-crossings and deranging the ventilation, it is better to avoid the use of the ordinary timber or even masonry bridge, and to make an entirely isolated air-course several yards above the underneath road, and if a seam of coal be conveniently situated on which to construct it, it will not be an expensive plan. See Fig 2. (The dotted lines show the position on an ordinary crossing.)
Air doors - means of passing from intake to return
Air-End Way - Headways or levels driven in the coal seam parallel with a main level, chiefly for the purpose of ventilation or for the return air. They are connected with the main level by openings or thirls.
Air-Gates - (Midland Coal-field) Generally a return airway gate from a coalface (but could be an intake gate).
Air-Head - See Air-way.
Air leg - Compressed air boring machine, used mainly in hard rock
Airless End - The extremity of a stall in long-wall workings in which there is no current of air, or circulation or ventilation, but which is kept sweet by diffusion, and by the ingress and egress of tubs, men, etc.
Air-Level - A level or air-way (return air-way) of former workings, made use of in subsequent deeper mining operations for ventilating purposes.
Air-Pit - A pit-shaft used expressly for ventilation.
Airway Repairer - Maintaining airways in proper state of repair to ensure proper ventilation in pit.
Air-Slit - (Yorkshire) A short head (1) driven more or less at right angles to, and between other two heads or levels for ventilation purposes.
Air-Sollar - A brattice carried beneath the tram-rails in a heading 'a' see Fig. 3.
Air Split - A division of airflow into two or more separate air ways.
Air Stack - A stack or chimney built over a shaft for ventilation.
Air Way - Underground roadway or tunnel along which air passes.
Allowance (1) Refreshment in the shape of bread and cheese and beer supplied by the lessees or owners of a mine to surveyors who dial the workings periodically.
Allowance Coal - See Colliers' coals.
All-Ups - (Leicestershire Coal-field ) A mixture of every quality of coal, excepting fine slack, raised from one seam, and sold as such.
Alluvium - (Alluvion). A deposit of soils, sands, quartz drifts, clays, and auriferous gravels of recent formation left by a flood or flow, especially in a river valley and on
the slopes of hills in the (in some cases obliterated) lines of drainage, are called
Altogether-Coal - Large and small mixed.
Alum Shale - Earth containing the mineral alum, beds of which occasionally occur in the coal measures, sometimes as an underclay.
Anchor pan - End of panzer conveyor holding chain or rope, bolted or anchored down.
Anderton shearer - A cutter loader with generally a 24” x seam height fixed cutting drum, rope hauled.
Anemometer - An instrument for measuring the velocity of air in a mine roadway.
Angle bars - Supports at a ripping lip to support the strata safely.
Anthracite - A hard, clean, bright, smokeless, and very pure variety of coal, having a conchoidal fracture, and burning with little or no flame, but containing very great local heating properties. It is much esteemed for malting and steam raising. It frequently contains over 90 per cent, of carbon; some of the anthracites of Pembrokeshire contain as much as 94 per cent. This coal weighs from 85 to 99. 5 Ibs. per cubic foot. It has a bright black lustre.
Anticline - Domed hill underground usually with steep sides, also oil founding basal measures. As opposed to synclines which are basin shape.
Antitropal - Ventilation system where air goes to coal face against direction of coal flow.Apparatus - North of England (Northumberland and Durham). The screening appliances upon the pit bank.
Arch - A structure usually of stone or brick, used in lieu of timber to support ground.
Arching - Brickwork or stonework forming the roof of any underground roadway.
Arch Girder - Also referred to as rings, used to support roadways.
Arles Or Earles - North of England (Northumberland and Durham). Earnest money formerly allowed to colliers at the time of hiring them.
Arrestor - Device for stopping moving tubs
Ascensional Ventilation - The arrangement of the ventilating currents in such-wise that the heated air shall continuously rise until reaching the bottom of the upcast shaft. Particularly applicable to steep seams or rearers.
Ash-Ball - (Shropshire) Mixed small fragments of greenish clay, quartz etc.
Attle - North of England (Northumberland and Durham). To arrange or settle.
Ass stick - Short handled whip used to control asses, donkeys or ponies
Assistant Manager - Usually one in charge of development, progressed up from Undermanager.
Assistant Undermanager - Junior Undermanager, usually in charge of back shifts, Afters and Nights.
ATT - Area Tunnelling Team, specialists available to all pits for difficult or unusual jobs.
Auger - A large rotary drill used on a face machine. A screw device penetrates, and breaks the coal. The coal is then loaded and transported via the armoured flexible conveyor.
Auger-Nose Shell - A clearing tool used in boring for coal, etc. having an auger-shaped end.
Auxiliary fan - A fan used in conjunction with air ducting to increase the ventilation to a section of the mine, eg. a development heading or a face heading. Auxiliary fan either sucked the air out (which was replaced by fresher air), or blew air in.
Average Clause - One which, in granting leases of minerals (coal, ironstone, and clay in particular), provides that lessees may, during (say) every year of the term, make up any deficiency in the quantity of coal, etc., stipulated to be worked, so as to balance the dead or minimum rent.
Award - Forest of Dean Coal-field. A grant or lease of certain minerals. See Gale.
Back (1) A plane of cleavage in coal, etc., having frequently a smooth parting and some sooty coal included in it.
Backfill:– Mine waste or rock used to support the roof after coal removal.
Backing. A piece of timber laid across a drive near the roof, each end fitted into hitches cut in the rock, with slabs or laths placed between it and the roof.
Back Brusher - kept the roadways clear of rocks and debris as the colliers advanced the coal face.
Back Rip - An enlargement of a crushed gate and the setting of new supports.
Back Ripper - One employed to remove old supports, excavate and set new supports.
Back Ripping - Road repairs when the gates were crushed, (parts of the top and sides were removed and either new rings were to be installed or the old rings were lifted). Maintenance where the floor had lifted and roadway height was restricted.
Back-Overman - A man who has the immediate inspection of the workings and workmen during the back-shift. He superintends the management of the pit from the time the overman leaves until four o'clock in the evening, when the pit is said to "loose" or stop work. In other words he is the foreman of the pit during the "back shift," or afternoon shift, in the absence of the overman.
Backs - Back of cut in coal face, or sticky coal difficult to break down.
Backskin - A piece of thick leather worn by some putters as a protection to their backs.
BACM - British Association of Colliery Management Union
Baff week - Or pay-Saturday. When miners' were paid on a two weeks basis the baff week was the second week.
Bags - Paper or plastic bags to be filled with small ripping dirt etc to be used as packers or as crushing when placed below an arch leg in a gate to assist with lowering of the roof. Also wire mesh bags were used for the same purpose.
Bailiff - Foreman or overman
Bait - the quick refreshment taken while working in the pits.
Balance rope - A rope joining bottoms of both cages to assist weight of empty cage or skip and also to steady them at speed in the shaft.
Band - a layer of slate or stotie interstratified in the seam of coal.
Bandsman - Laborer (loader) working with a band of men.
Banjo - A double sized electrical cable.
Bank - the top of the pit.
Bank, benk, bink - Various terms for Coal face, where coal is extracted.
Bank head - Top of a plane road, from a dip to level.
Banksman or Banker - Person in charge of loading or unloading the cage at the surface. He draws the full tubs from the cages at the surface and replaces them with empty ones; he also puts the full tubs to the weighing machine and onto the skreens upon which he teems the coals. It is also his duty to keep an account of the quantity of coals and stones drawn each day.
Bantle - A draw of men on a cage, a cage full of men descending or ascending a shaft.
Bar - A steel or wooden beam underpinned by props at coal face.
Barren ground - Stone in the fault between the parts of coal seam or erosion of seam.
Barrier (1) Limit of working.
Basket women - Hook on the tubs and are generally selected from widows of colliers or those who may have met with an accident.
Basset - (basit) (edge) Outcrop of seam at surface.
Barrowman - (Also known as Putter) A man who puts the tubs of coals from the working places to the cranes, flats, or stations, they were then taken by horses or machinery along the main or rolley-ways to the shaft. Before the application of tramways underground, coals used to be conveyed underground on sledges, and afterwards on barrows, whence the name.
Bastard top - Treacherous roof with slippy partings.
Bats (Batt) - Poor quality coal or dirt band in a seam.
Battleship - Large long lump of coal on put on the face conveyor and liable to create a blockage at the gate end when the face belt and maybe the gate belt would have to be stopped. Required the person at the gate end to have to smash the lump to handleable pieces. It was extra work for him and face workers did this on occasion for fun but would be berated or sacked from that panel by the chargeman or deputy if found out.
Baulk (1) - An interruption of the seams of coal.
Beam - The projecting part of a chock at a coalface, extending forward.
Bearer (1) - A large girder e.g. 12” (0.30m) or more deep.
Beat knee / elbow - Painful swelling / bursitis, due to ingress of small dust or pressing on floor.
Bed (1) - A coal seam.
Bedding - The layers of strata laid down above and below a seam.
Bedding plane - The interface between two adjacent beds of sedimentary rock.
Beehive - Type of coke oven.
Beethoven - A shot-firing device which fired 1 to 100 shots.
Bell pit - Ancient method of mining coal at shallow depth, the excavation being shaped like a bell
Bell Wires - Two wires which covered the length of a haulage system, when they were held together it made a bell ring, the haulage driver knew by the number of rings which direction he had to go ( inbye or outbye).
Bellmen - Men who worked on the conveyor belts or rope haulage signalling system.
Belt - A conveyor belt (an endless moving belt) used to transport minerals, sometimes used to transport men and materials.
Belt Extension - Adding lengths of structure to a conveyor belt to make it longer as the coal face advances.
Belt Idler - A cylindrical roller which is mounted on a frame which supports and guides a conveyor belt.
Belt take-up - A pulley and roller mechanism that is used to apply tension to the conveyor belt.
Beltman - One patrolling conveyors, usually capable of doing minor repairs.
Belt road - down which the coal travelled.
Benchmark - Surveyor’s level mark of known value on the side of a roadway underground, sometimes inverted in the roof. Also mark on the surface as per Ordnance Survey.
Benching - Creating smaller access, initially when making a large excavation, requiring the work to be done from top downwards in layers if necessary.
Benk, Bink, Bank - Coal face or wall.
Berm - Top of banking on waste tip.
Best (hards) (brights) - Choice pieces of coal that burnt well and long, picked out by hand on
Between - Boy working between two asses pulling boxes, tubs etc.
Bevin Boys - During World War 2 Ernest Bevin introduced his scheme for the call-up of young men to the mines as a result of an acute shortage of experienced colliers.
Biat - A leather strap worn over the shoulders, a sort of harness used by miners to draw coals to the pit bottom.
Big Butty - In the early 1800s a man on contract in charge of producing all coal at a mine by employing men and boys on behalf of the owner.
Billy Fairplay - Early simple screening device to separate large coal and small coal.
Bind - Shale or mudstone above a coal seam.
Bishop/Buttress pack - A waste stone pack build near gate end of a face to divert air and to
Bit - a piece attached to the end of a borer or drill rod, to drill holes.
Bitting - When small pieces of coal or dirt or dust keep dropping from the roof indicating a possible fissure or weight coming on or imminent roof fall.Bituminous coal - A type of coal found in the most parts of the country. Most seams vary quite a lot in constituency. Some have dirt bands or more sulphur, some more chlorine. Some burn more easily than others. Some seams are very good for gas or raising steam or for coking whilst others are only used for coal-fired heating systems or power station fuel
Black Damp - Term generally applied to carbon dioxide.
Blacksmith's striker - is an assistant (frequently an apprentice), whose job it is to swing a large sledge hammer in heavy forging operations, as directed by the blacksmith. In practice, the blacksmith will hold the hot iron at the anvil (with tongs) in one hand, and indicate where the iron is to be struck by tapping it with a small hammer held in the other hand: the striker then delivers a heavy blow with the sledge hammer where indicated. During the 20th century and into the 21st century, this role has been increasingly obviated and automated through the use of trip hammers or reciprocating power hammers.
Blade (1) - A pick for a shaft.
Blind end - Fast end of a coalface.
Blocking out - System of drivages to explore an area for future production.
Blower - a sudden discharge of inflammable gas from some chasm or fissure in the coal or stone.
Blue mark - Where coal dust has got into a cut of the skin down the pit and when healed shows as a blue mark under the skin forever miner’s tattoo.
Board or bord - principal working-places, from four to five yards wide, holding one and sometimes two hewers.
Bobbin - 4oz pellet of explosive.
Bo-bo - Large twin-axled underground loco, diesel or electric / battery.
Bobby’s hat or helmet - Extension put on top of a prop or chock leg when seam thickens.
Bolting - Roadway only supported by roof bolts & mesh.
Bonnet (1) - The top part of an oil lamp.
Bonnie end - Conveyor return end.
Booster fan - An underground ventilation fan used to increase the ventilation of a district or a seam.
Booster ‘conveyor’ - Another conveyor belt with separate motor installed underneath and touching an existing conveyor belt, assisting that conveyor to carry a bigger load.
Bond - the annual agreement of specifying the conditions upon which the parties are hired.
Bord - Road or working, usually associated with pillars, and called Juds and Jenkins etc.
Bore hole - A hole bored for blasting. A vertical or horizontal hole bored for the purpose of ascertaining the character of the strata, or for tapping old workings filled with water, or for drawing off methane gas.
Borer - A drilling machine.
Boring - Act of drilling a hole in coal or strata.
Gas Emission Borer - Boring holes for the purpose of releasing gas from strata.
Bottom loader - Conveyor with coal loaded onto bottom endless belt on floor of coal face.
Bottomer - A miner employed to attend to the bottom of the shaft.
Bottoms - Bottom of seam, usually when sticky – not cut by machine jib.
Boundary - Planned limit to which the underground workings can go.
Bowk - Bucket or kibble in a shaft when sinking for raising sinking debris or men
Brakemen - A person employed to work the steam-engine, or winding engine used in raising the coal from the mine.
Brasses - layers of pyrites occurring in the coalseam
Brass knockers - Iron pyrite or fool’s gold, nodules of pyrite.
Brattice - A sheeting used to deflect air into particular areas to improve ventilation and dilute flammable or noxious gases.
Break - Break in seam or break in a shot hole.
Breaking in - The start of digging out coal on a face line or stone etc in a development heading.
Break out - Basset (basit) edge of a coal seam appearing at the surface.
Breaker - Circuit breaker in electrical circuits.
Break line - The line that roughly follows the rear edges of coal pillars that are being mined. Where the roof is expected to break.
Breasting - Going round some bad work and re-establishing a face line.
Breccia - Natural concrete-type material at the base of the water-bearing measures preventing water flowing into the lower measures.
Bridge - Allowing access across a conveyor usually, or a stage loader at a face end.
Brights - Shiny coal, usually good quality.
Brobs - A term used in the Midlands for short props
Broken place - Easy work place with soft or loose coal.
Brow - Top of a rise or hill (Brew or broo in Lancs).
Brusher - A person employed to cut or blast the roof or floor of a roadway to give more height OR a person who gets the mineral down by blasting in the working face after it has been "holed"
Brushing (1) - Dinting floor of roadway.
Brushing (2) - Sweeping out gas in the past - now illegal.
Buildas - The practice of paying a proportion of the wages in beer
Bull bars or rails - Steel girders set at the gate end of a face under the ripping lip.
Bull chains - Thick chains to corners and middle edges of a cage from the safety hook, as extra safety measure.
Bull nose - Conveyor delivery roller jib end.
Bucket (1) - An Eimco shovel or loading machine.
Buffers - Mechanical device in sump below loading level to cushion a cage if overwound.
Builders - Large pieces or dirt or coal used as outside walls when making a pack on the coal face in the gobbing or at a gateside.
Bull week - Two weeks before Christmas when every effort is made to earn more money to be paid on the Friday before the holiday period.
Bunker (1) - A mechanical container, or a roadway used for stacking coal at peak production times to allow production to carry on at the face. The coal would be loaded out later when there was a lull in production.
Bunter (bed) - Water-bearing sandstone measures above the Carboniferous. Renamed Sherwood sandstone.
Bunton - A girder or beam in a shaft for framework.
Burnside - A boring machine usually used to bore into old workings to detect water or gas.
Burying packs - Where a back ripping is close behind the advancing face. The dirt is dropped to the floor and the gateside pack is covered to prevent leakage of air and possible spontaneous combustion.
Butt (entry) - Roadway of a pair leading to room and pillar system (counter butt for return air).
Butties - these were contractors who drove the roadways in the mine. They agreed to a certain sum of money out of which wages and materials had to come. Usually an unpopular system with the men, who often believed the monies were not divided fairly.
Butterfly (1) - Flap platform on top of cage to allow shaftsmen to examine shaft sides closer.
Buttock - Place where coal has been broken down / started or cut on coalface.
Buttocker - A miner who gets coal off at a "long-wall" face
Button - Conveyor on / off switch.
Button man - Conveyor attendant making sure that he stops the inbye conveyor when the outbye conveyor stops, ensuring no pile ups and also to clean up any spillage.
Buttress - Pack built in front of main pack near gate end.
Big Butty - In 1800s was a man in charge of setting on men, boys and females and getting coal for owner at an agreed price
Butty - 20th Century...a contractor or a chargeman in charge of group of men who has agreed a price for a job with the Manager.
Butty gang - Men who as co-partners work a section of a mine.
Bye pit - Upcast shaft or air shaft.
Bye work - Generally meaning repair work etc done outbye of the coal face.
Bye workman - Underground labourer
By or Bye - Used in such phrases as 'far in by' but generally 'far inbye', ie far into the pit
Cable - Power cable usually armoured.
Cable belt - Conveyor belt with steel cable attached running on pulleys.
Cable handler - Man, or later a mechanical device to stop a pliable cable snagging on the AFC.
Cage ( or chair ) - A structure/container used to carry men and materials up and down the mine shaft.
Caivil or Cavil - lot drawing or a lottery to decided the working-place of each individual.
Calamites - Tree fossil in coal or strata with easily recognisable ‘stripes’.
Calcite - A mineral present in thin sections in breaks in coal or thicker at a fault plane.
Calling-course - the round of the 'caller' or man appointed to rouse the workpeople. At Killingworth, for example, from one o'clock a.m. to half-past one the caller calls the men to go to hew at two o'clock. From three o'clock a.m. to half-past three he calls the boys to begin work at four o'clock.
Cams (Cambered) - Slightly curved girders set at roof level for gate support jabbed and wedged into a roadway side and not supported by legs.
Canary - Minimum 2 kept at the colliery for use in an emergency to detect carbon monoxide gas usually during a heating or following an explosion. Replaced by an electronic ‘sniffer’ in 1990s.
Canche of props - A pile of pit props in the gate ready for using at the coal face.
Cank - Usually a band of stone above a coal seam, with bind or mudstone above.
Cannel - Crackerjack, Candle, Jacks, Splinter, Parrot coal etc., slivers of coal that one can light easily, burns with blue flame. Cannel breaks with a conchoidal fracture. Can be used to manufacture petrol but not coke.
Canvas door - Canvas or sacking hung across the roadway to divert the airflow and control ventilation.
Cap or capping (1) - Point where a winding rope is joined to a capel that is fixed to cage.
Cap lid - A piece of wood set over a prop at coal face knocked in tight to secure the prop.
Cap Lamp - A rechargeable, battery operated, light worn on a miner's safety helmet.
Capel - A special hook for cages or rope joint for haulage work.
Cappers - Little square shaped pieces of wood, used either at the base or top of a prop.
Carbide - A binary compond of carbon, especially calcium carbide, which is used in making acetylene gas.
Carbon dioxide - A true gas formed by the oxidation of carbon, occurring in exhaled air, in the products of decomposition of some types of explosives, and in the products of combustion of all carbonaceous matter.
Carbon monoxide - Carbon Monoxide (CO). Probably the most dangerous of the polluting gases of a mine atmosphere, it is formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon and occurs whenever carbonaceous, or bituminous substances burn.
Capsule - Usually a sausage shaped plastic container to contain water for use in shotfiring.
Car - Large tub, mine car or manriding vehicle.
Carbon monoxide gas - Carbolic oxide (CO) given off from incomplete combustion.
Coal Carman - was a coal carter or dealer. He had a wagon and horse. He went to the mine, collected about a ton of coal and delivered it to houses, factories etc. He would often cover very large distances and might take a few days to deliver all his coal before reeturning to the mine for another load.
Cartridge - A charge of powder contained in a case.
Casting - Moving coal or dirt by shovel from one man to another.
Catch gear - Framework in headgear to arrest a cage should an overwind occur.
Catch prop - Prop set temporarily for safety whilst other operations are carried out before a permanent support is set.
Catenary (1) - Accurate system of measuring by surveyors using a steel band in suspension between two points and a predetermined amount of strain attached to one end.
Cathedral arch - Steeply pointed arches for special high work on split junctions.
Caved in - Ground where the roof has fallen, or the sides which have collapsed.
Caving - Method of mining which allows the waste area, behind the advancing, face to collapse.
Chaff and chaop - Pony feed.
Chain (1) - Surveyors’ measure, 100 links of 7.92”, 66 feet, 22 yards, or approx 20m long.
Chain Conveyor - A conveyor which transports material along solid pans by the scraping action of flight bars (bars connected to the chain ).
Chainless - Refers to the cutter loader not using a chain – cog wheel or pin wheel system.
Chain man - Surveyors’ assistant.
Chair - Another name for a cage in a shaft.
Chaldron - Volume of coal equal to 25½ cwts or 36 bushels.
Chalker-on - A boy who keeps an account of the work and who is usually also a craneman.
Chancery - Court of the Lord Chancellor, records go back to 1199.
Chargeman - Person in charge of a team of men
Chargeman tunneller - Foreman in charge of men driving a tunnel
Charging station - Garage where loco batteries are charged up, give off hydrogen gas.
Charterman - Early name for contractor or Butty.
Charter master - Contractor for working a pit or part of a pit
Check or Motty - Brass tabs or motties with the miner's number. One motty given to the Banksman when entering the cage to go underground and another when coming out of the pit. This served 2 purposes. No1 was for payment and No2 for safety, i.e. knowing who was underground and when they came out of the pit.
Check Viewer - A viewer employed by the leasor to see that the provisions of the lease are duly observed.
Check Weigher - Mottie or swipe card to register manpower underground and timekeeping. The weigher employed by the workmen.
Cheeking - Material taken off the side of a gate / crush, to widen it.
Cheese weight - Large flat round steel weights tensioning shaft guide ropes in the sump.
Chew - A piece of pigtail chewing tobacco.
Chiller - Cooling unit or aftercooler to cool the ventilation air current.
Chock - Wooden block of wood, roughly 2 ft. long and 6 inches square. Used to support the roof of the coal face when stacked also steel chocks(which could be released by knocking a pin ) they were advanced as the face advanced, also walking face chocks (on mechanised faces which were attached to the steel face chain conveyor AFC and advanced with an hydraulic ram).
Choke damp - (or Stythe) Another name for Blackdamp. When the emission of carbonic gas is very strong and the ventilation inefficient, the whole space is frequently filled with 'stythe,' causing the extinction of the candles, and finally life itself.
Chorine - Sometimes found in coal and forms hydrochloric acid when mixed with water.
Choaking - Or running in, when side of shaft falls in whilst sinking
Chock (1) - Chock nog Wooden timber pieces 3 ft long by 6” x 6” built up like a tower from floor to roof of a coal face or at a roadway junction to support girders.
Chock block - Wedge shaped piece of wood to prevent runaways, or a piece of wood for a chock support.
Chock Shield - Large steel hybrid face support with lemniscate linkage to rear legs.
Chock track - Travelling road along a coal face beneath the support.
Chummings (chum'uns ) - Empty tubs.
Circular roadway - Arches set and joined in a vertical circle and usually infilled with concrete blocks etc with debris dropped into bottom to create a floor level at a predetermined height.
Cistern - Pumping lodge.
Clay - Fireclay underneath the seam. Or Bricks of a soft clayey material broken down to tamp behind explosives in a shot-hole.
Cleaning up - Filling coal or stone from where it has fallen.
Clearer - Unskilled labourer who clears away the rubbish etc.
Cleavage or cleat - Existing break in coal seams running North North West – South South East 152º approximately, same through the Coalfields.
Clinker - Usually lumpy waste product in ashes when burning coal or coke.
Clip car - Manriding car that can be screwed and unscrewed from rope.
Clipping on - Manually fastening tubs to a haulage rope using a mechanical device or clip.
Clivy - Connector from rope to a link.
Cloaking - Usually vertical boards or timber stuffed behind the sinking rings in a shaft to support the sides of the shaft, particularly in loose ground.
Clod - Usually the dirt overlying the seam or a coal seam name.
Cloth - A heavy Hessian cloth hung as ventilation restriction (now PVC).
Clunch - Hard or soft seat earth or floor below a seam.
CO (carbon monoxide) - Gas produced by part burning, a highly dangerous gas (White damp).
CO2 - Gas produced by exhaling air etc (Blackdamp), can asphyxiate.
Coal bearers - Women or children who are employed to carry coals on their belts on un-railed roads up and down steep braes, with burdens varying from 0.75cwt to 3cwt.
Coal Carman - was a coal carter or dealer. He had a wagon and horse. He went to the mine, collected about a ton of coal and delivered it to houses, factories etc. He would often cover very large distances and might take a few days to deliver all his coal before returning to the mine for another load.
Coal cleaning - A process which separates the coal from unwanted stone material, by utilizing the differences in their specific gravities. The unwanted material is generally heavier than coal and sinks. The separation of coal from heavier material, was done in a medium of S.G 1.4 or above. The Baum box system used water but in this case the separation was assisted with air pulsations, causing a jigging motion, so separating the heavier material from the lighter material. Walter Fowler. (Ex Plant Manager Haunchwood, Snibston and Baddesley Collieries. South Midlands Area)
Coal Cutterman - Operating and/or flitting coal-cutting machine.
Coal Cutter Mover - Moving, spinning or turning cutting machine.
Coal Preparation Plant - The place on the surface of the mine where coal is cleaned and prepared for sale.
Coalface working - Movement of the coal due to strata pressure. Sometimes known as weighting, or weight coming on.
Cobbles - Graded coals in coal preparation plant.
Collier (1) - Originally a ship transporting coal from North East to London.
Colliery - The site of a mine extracting coal.
Colliery Electrician - Competent electrician qualified by experience or training and/or apprenticeship, engaged at a colliery on the installation, examination, testing, maintenance and repair of the colliery's electrical apparatus.
Colliery Electro-Mechanic - Competent electrician and competent fitter qualified by experience or training and/or apprenticeship, engaged at a colliery on the combined duties of installation, examination, testing, maintenance and repair of the colliery's electrical and mechanical apparatus.
Colliery Fitter - Competent fitter qualified by experience or training and/or apprenticeship, engaged at a colliery on the installation, examination, testing, maintenance and repair of the colliery's mechanical apparatus.
Colliery Overman - A senior Overman in charge of a shift, reporting direct to an Undermanager.
Combination - In the NE meaning development work. In the past the combination of miners forming a union.
Command supervisor - Modern name for Deputy (2000s)
Compressor Attendant - In charge of inbye portable compressor at the face.
Conductor (1) - One of several weighted steel ropes to contain the cage in the shaft.
Conglomerate - Alluvial deposits. No working was to approach within a prescribed distance of such known or assumed areas.
Connies - Hard coal tops.
Continuous miner - A machine that constantly extracts coal while it loads it.
Contraband - Anything that could not be taken down a mine incase it sparked off an explosion e.g. cigars, cigarettes, any pipe or other contrivance for smoking. Any match or mechanical lighter and includes batteries, alcohol, drugs etc.
Contract - Agreement usually between men and Manager for a job of work.
Conveyor Plough Attendant - Cleaning out spillage ploughed off the return belt where open type structures are used; cleaning out the tension-end of face bolt and putting the coal back onto the belt.
Cooling tower - Wooden structure where exhaust steam from boilers was dispersed.
Copyhold - Copy of Lord of the Manor’s mineral area title deed.
Corporal - An experienced haulage worker in charge of operations.
Correlation - Precise survey by Surveyors to connect underground workings with the surface.
Corporal - Man in charge of a certain district under the deputy.
Corve, Corf - Strong osier baskets for drawing the coal and containing from 4 to 7 cwt. It is made of strong hazel-rods from half to one inch in diameter. They were used to drag or convey the coal from the hewers to the bank. The corves were made and kept in repair by contractors, named Corvers, who were paid by the score of coals drawn, according to the circumstances of the colliery as to depth, wetness, upcast, downcast,etc., sixpence to one shilling per score, or from 1d. to 2d. per ton.
Corvers - those who made the corves.
COSA - Clerical Officers Staffs Association.
Cotter - Steel pin dropped into loop hole on tub and the horse / pony hauling gear.
Coupler - A boy who coupled or connected, by means of coupling chains, the tubs of coal in order to form a set or train.
Cover - Amount of strata overlying the seam to the surface.
Cover boards - Boards app 3ft x 6 inches x 1 inch set around the periphery of arches.
Cowl - Steel curved cover over the shearer cutting head to divert cut coal onto the AFC.
Cracker jack - Cannel coal that splits and spits when burnt in a fire.
Cracket - A miner used a cracket to rest his head and/or shoulders on when working lying down. They were made from spare bits of wood found lying around, such as bits of pit props.
Cranemen - A lad 16 or 18 years of age, earning from 1s. 6d. to 3s. a-day (in 1841) whose business it was to hoist the corves of coals on to the rolleys with the crane. On the introduction of tubs and flats, younger lads of 15 or 16 years of age were used, they were named flat-lads. The crane-man or flat-lad proportions the work, or "places the work," he told the barrow-men where to go for coals, and the quantity he has to take from each place.
Crawley - A short chain conveyor connecting face conveyor with road belt conveyor.
Creep (1) - Action of the AFC ( armoured flexible conveyor) moving towards one end of the face.
Creeper - powered chain drive laid between rails, with blocks to engage axles of mine cars- usually used to advance cars at loader or in pit bottom.
Crib (1) - Framework in a shaft.
Cross-measure drift - A roadway driven at an angle between two seams.
Crush - Gate distortion.
Crusher - Device situated in the conveyor run for breaking big lumps of coal or dirt.
Crut - An underground incline.
Crutter - A man who drives cruts or stone drifts.
Crystals - Spread on floor to dampen the dust (e.g. sodium chloride).
Cuckoo shot - Illegal shot fired to break down the roof in a goaf where gas may be present.
Cupola - Dome at top of furnace shaft with chimney. Welsh Quakers brought the idea.
Curtain - Wire mesh shotfiring shield hung in a roadway to protect against ricochets.
Cushion fire - Gap left between explosive and ramming to give larger pieces of coal.
Cut - A movement forward of the face line, or the gap made under a seam.
Cutter nog - Wedge shaped block of wood or steel wedge driven into the undercut to support the coal before getting and loading out the coal proceeds.
Curving - cutting into the whole coal, as the preparatory course to blasting or wedging it down.
Cycle - System of coaling or production: such as cutting, loading, packing, ripping.
Cyclothem - Succession of strata from one seam to next – seatearth, seam, shale, sand, seam.
EDM - Electronic distance measurer used by Surveyors in lieu of a steel tape for accurate measurements.
Egress - Going out of a confined place underground to the pit shaft.
Eimco - Mechanical shovel, usually with caterpillar tracks.
Electrician's Help - Semi-skilled electrical worker engaged on minor repairs and maintenance of electrical equipment and appliances under the supervision of a fully qualified Electrician.
Elephant's tab - Large-sized hand shovel, shaped as such. Size 10 is ordinary shape square end.
Ell - Measure of length app 27 inches to 54 inches, also name of a coal seam.
Emergency Organisation - A system to be put into operation in the event of a serious incident, e.g. underground fire etc. A pre arranged committee and personnel are organised to carry out previously designated duties should there be an emergency
Emergency tanks - Large tanks situated underground to contain drinking water in case of emergency.
End coals or End on - At 90º to face coals or bord or end on to the cleat of the coal.
Endless - Haulage system with endless rope, running on ground rollers or roof rollers.
Engine - Usually means winding equipment or steel rope haulage motor.
Engine pit - Haulage engine at surface or pumping shaft with beam engine.
Engine tenter - Engine man
Erectors - A team of men who install conveyors or re-erect a conveyor in a new track on a coalface.
Exam (2) - Deputy examining a district.
Exam (3) - Gas testing and hearing test for Deputy's certificate.
Exam (4) - Manager's, Undermanager's or Surveyor's examination to obtain MQB certificate.
Exam (ination) (1) - Visual shaft examination by shaftsmen, once per 24 hours.
Extender - One of a team employed to move up the conveyor return ends
Extension (1) - Extra piece put in an arch or girder, either bolted or welded.
Extension (2) - Stilt at base of an arched girder to counteract floor lift.
Extraction - Amount of coal produced at a coal face, also height of coal extracted.
Extraction - The process of mining and removal of coal or stone(rock) from a mine.
Eye - Pit bottom or shaft.
Eye frame - Girders or brickwork built to hold up the shaft brickwork in pit bottom.
'Fire!' - A warning cry shouted before exploding a shot by Shotfirer or Deputy.
Face - Coal face where production is done.
Face coals - Coal worked along the line of cleavage, allowing long or large pieces of coal to be got. However working can be dangerous as long pieces or slines of coal can fall.
Face Haulage Man - Haulage by pony or mechanical means at the face.
Face legs - A line of props set near to the advancing coal face.
Fall - A mass of roof, rock or coal, which has fallen in any part of a mine.
Fan - For air in development headings, either forcing or exhausting; Main surface fan ventilating the mine; or booster fan underground.
Fang - Wood or metal pipe used to convey fresh air to the workings in a mine.
Fanman - In charge of ventilating fan at the face.
Fast end - Dead end or blind end or cul-de-sac of a coalface.
Fathom - Unit of length, 6 feet, used for depths of shafts or seams.
Fault - A slip or strata displacement. Break in the continuity of a coal seam
Feather edge - Where a roadway dips down in line under the same roadway.
Feeder - A machine that feeds coal onto a conveyor belt evenly. OR a flow of water.
FIDO - Face information data on line direct from coalface to surface by computer.
Filler – a miner at the coal face with a shovel, he could be filling corves with coal, corves being strong osier baskets in which the coals were conveyed. He could be shovelling coal onto conveyors, often working in very difficult places often lying on their sides in a space with the roof only 20-22 inches from the floor.
Fire basket - A basket of fire hung in a shaft to create rising air before fans were in use.
Fire clay - Clay strata excavated along with the coal and used for making bricks etc.
Firedamp - Methane gas, CH4, lighter than air, burns with a blue flame, explosive range 5 to 15%, most violent at 9.4%. Cannot burn above 15% because of insufficient oxygen in the air. Smallest amount detected on a testing flame of an oil lamp is 1¼% when all machinery to be switched off and at 2% all men to be withdrawn to a place of safety.
Fish Plate - A steel plate with holes and bolts to join rails or arches (and wraparounds).
Fishtails - Edges of a washout where coal disappears, fans out, rock replaces the coal.
Fissure - An extensive crack, break, or fracture in the rocks.
Flame lamp - Hand held gas detector, with re-lighter facility for officials.
Flameproof Equipment - Equipment which must withstand, without distortion or damage, with a large safety factor the most violent internal explosion possible with a methane/air mixture.
Flamper - Can refer to soft top or a thickness of dirt or bind above a seam up to a parting.
Flank panel or face - A longwall coal face worked generally at right angles from a gate of a previously worked panel or district.
Flanker - A shot bored and fired sideways into the coal in line with the face.
Flat - Tram with no sides.
Flat tops - Straight girders or straight-topped arches, square work.
Flat-Lad - Also known as Craneman. A lad 16 or 18 years of age, earning from 1s. 6d. to 3s. a-day (in 1841) whose business it was to hoist the corves of coals on to the rolleys with the crane. On the introduction of tubs and flats, younger lads of 15 or 16 years of age were used, they were named flat-lads. The crane-man or flat-lad proportions the work, or "places the work," he told the barrow-men where to go for coals, and the quantity he has to take from each place.
Flatman - a term similar to or in place of Craneman; the difference being that, where tubs are used for the conveyance of coals, no cranes are necessary because they do not need to be hoisted on to the rolleys, as in the ease of corves they are merely linked together at the flat or level by the flatmen.
Fleet angle - The angle from the winding drum to the pit headstock wheels or sheaves.
Flight - Part of a panzer conveyor pulled along by the chain driven by a motor.
Flitters or erectors - Team of men who dismantle conveyors and rebuild them in a different track on the coal face.
Flitting - Dismantling the face conveyor from a track and erecting it again in another track nearer to the coal face.
Floor Heave - The floor of a mine lifting as a result of high ground stresses.
Floor lift or blow - Upheaval in gate usually requiring removing, heave or lift or creep.
Flush (ing) - Usually roof material from waste running through chock into travelling track.
Fly (1) (cut) - A correction cut to straighten face line.
Fly (2) - A prop flirting out due to adverse pressure.
Flyer - Quick knock off, job done earlier than expected.
Foal - A lad not strong enough to put (push from behind) alone, but able to do so with the assistance of a little boy, who performs his part by pulling the tub by a couple of ropes or traces attached thereto, called soams. The little boy is called a foal. Also see Putter
Foot blocks - Square blocks of thick wood used to spread the load of the base of an arch.
Footrill or Addit - Entrance to a mine, usually a drift which sloped from the surface down to a coal seam.
Fore poling - The setting of wooden or steel rods in boreholes above a face or lip in bad ground to try to prevent the roof falling.
Foreign coal - Coal from another mine or source is tipped into a surface bunker to be mixed with the coal produced (as a sweetener).
Fork or hambone - A clip used to attach tubs to the endless rope. Knocking off the fork releases the set of full tubs on a landing outbye.
Fossil fuel - Any naturally occurring fuel of an organic nature, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas.
Foul coal - impure, from an admixture of slate etc.
Foulness - inflammable air.
Founder or Foundation - First shaft sunk to work a seam.
Four x four - 4" (or 100mm) H section girder. Other sizes e.g. 6"x 8" (152 x 200mm), 8"x10" (200 x 250mm) etc.
Four yarders - A set of steel rails 4 yards long.
Fourteen pounder - Large hammer weighing 14lb for breaking large lumps of stone etc,
Friable - Usually coal or roof showing a tendency to break easily into small pieces.
FSV - Free steered vehicle, not connected to cables - large rubber-tyred diesel loader.
Full round - A round of shots or delay detonator shots.
Furnace - Used instead of fan for ventilation.
Furnace pit - Shaft with furnace usually in pit bottom to create airflow, with dumb drift.
Furnaceman - who attend to the ventilating furnace.
Furnishings (shaft) - Usually refers to the various pipes and cables etc in a shaft.
Gaiters - Strong plastic leg covers over the calves to prevent injury.
Gallery - A horizontal or a nearly horizontal underground roadway.
Galloway Driver - was the man who drove the pit ponies, a special small breed known as Galloways, because of where they were bred in Scotland. They are now believed to be extinct.
Gang rider - Person riding upon, and in charge of a train of underground waggons
Ganger - A boy driving a pony and tub.
Gangers - Frequently younger lads waiting their turn to go onto the coal face. They were underground pony-drivers, moving tubs of coal or waste, empty tubs, and work materials to the required area.
Ganging - The act of transporting materials or coal by tram or tub.
Garland - A gutter round the shaft walling collecting water running down the shaft and delivering it to the pit bottom by down pipes.
Gas cap - A lowered flame on a lamp showing methane gas percentage if present.
Gate end - Usually coal face lip inbye, but also could refer to outbye end of gate.
Gate end box - An electric panel used to control and distribute power to face machinery.
Gate end loader - Loading point for tubs inbye from shaft, outbye from face.
Gate or gait - Underground roadway.
Gate side pack - A wall of stone or waste from gate ripping debris built at the side of the roadway for support.
Gates - Roadways leading to a face.
Gaumers - Conveyor chute receiving section from one conveyor to another.
Gear - Once referred to the harness used by horses or ponies to pull tubs.
Gees - Coal / dirt band in some seams.
General Manager - In charge of company, or a large mine + 1,000,000 tonnes/year.
General Worker - Performing work of a general character other than highly skilled work.
Geologist - Previously to 1967 Surveyors carried out general geological duties such as examining seam sections, and monitoring boreholes being drilled both surface and underground and borehole cores, faults etc. Since that date only qualified BSc graduates were appointed to the position.
Getter outer - Pit bottom onsetter sending full tubs up the pit. Another man got the empties in.
Getting coal - Extraction of coal at the coal face (by any means).
Gin - Usually a cog and rung system with horses (eg Eckington up to 1940s).
Gin ring - The circle traced by a horse turning a gin for the winding gear at a coal pit.
Gin-Drivers - boys who were employed to drive the horses in the gin or engine used in raising coals from pits of moderate depth.
Ginny carriage - Small tub / jotty for conveying materials on a rail track.
Gin-rope - a rope for letting engine-weights down the engine-pit for charging buckets, etc. The Jack-gin belongs to the engine shaft.
Girders - Straight or arched steel roof supports.
Glebe - Land assigned to an incumbent of a Parish as part of his benefice and endowment of the church and an amount of royalty per ton to be paid for working any coal below such lands.
Goaf, gob or gobbing - Waste area left behind the coal face after extracting the coal and where the roof has fallen in.
Gob - (2) - Waste. The area behind the face chocks where the coal had been removed.
Gob gate - A gate driven in coal in which to pack waste stone material
Gob legs - A line of props set behind the conveyor track on the coal face.
Gob stink - Smell from an underground heating (paraffin), 'once smelt never forgotten'
Gobbin cap - Round leather skull cap worn whilst holing dirt out from under the coal seam.
Goliath - A conveyor motor size.
Grade (line) - Surveyors line for workmen to follow.
Grade pan - A face panzer section rising at the gate end to deliver onto a stage loader at 90º.
Gravimetric - A machine for sampling the amount of airborne dust.
Greaser - A boy who greased the tub axles at bank. A machine which automatically greases the axles as they pass over it.
Guard (1) - Metal fence round an engine etc.
Guard (2) - Paddy / manrider guard.
Guide rope - Steel rope in shaft to keep cage in line.
Gullet - a fissure in the strata, generally containing either water or inflammable air.
Gummer - Cleaning out cuttings, cleaning up gummings, cleaning up holings. and inserting gibs or nogs.
Gummings - The slack / dirt produced by coal cutter picks in undercut of seam.
Guss and crook - Belt with chain passing between the legs for pulling boxes, corves or trams in the past.
Gypsy - a miner who has travelled round and worked in a number of collieries.
Gyro theodolite - Very precise instrument used by Surveyors for checking the precise direction of north for surface / underground correlation.
Main Gate - The intake airway which was the conveyor belt road down which the coal travelled
Hack - a heavy kind of pick for breaking stone.
Hade - The dip angle of the fault.
Half head system - Half of gate is cut by face machine and half by ripping by machine or blown down.
Half on or Hawn - Line of coal at 45º to face coals.
Halfbar also Split-bar - Basically a long prop split down the middle, used with props as roof supports.
Half-marrow - Young Putter or foal
Hambones - A device used to attach and pull tubs.
Hames - An obscure name for a horse's limmers.
Hammers - blows, as 'he paid me my hammers,' i.e. beat me.
Hand got - Coal worked by pick and shovel basically. Generally coals blasted down at the face by explosive and loaded onto a conveyor by a collier using a shovel.
Hand holing/holing out - Cutting out the base of a seam by a hand pick or mauler, or maundrel.
Hand putter - A miner who pushed mine waggons.
Hand tramming - The act of pushing or pulling tubs by hand instead of by haulage rope or loco.
Hanger-On - Men who put the full tubs in and take the empty tubs out of the cage at the shaft bottom, or at any other landing or stopping place. They are usually paid by the score or ton, their average wages amounting (1849) to about 4s. per day of twelve hours.
Hanging on - Putting tubs on rope or chair (from corves in past).
Hardground man - Miner employed in driving in rock other than coal.
Hards - Very hard coal, difficult to cut out by hand using a pick.
Hardstop - A type of soft quick drying mortar material, for sealing off a stopping.
Harness (1) - Equipment for putting on a pony.
Harness (2) - Safety gear and chains for men working in shafts.
Head or heading - A development drivage in coal or stone.
Header - One doing the work of driving a tunnel etc.
Headings - Roadways which are being developed, moving forward to open up new faces.
Headsman - A lad not strong enough to put (push from behind) alone, but able to do so with the assistance of a little boy, who performs helped by pulling the tub using a couple of ropes or traces called soams. The little boy was called a foal. He sometimes assisted the headsman by pushing the tub beside him. When the boys were of the same age or strength they were equally paid and called half-marrows.
Headstocks - The framework holding the winding wheel over the shaft.
Headways - a pair of narrow drifts, 2 yards wide, driven into the whole coal and constituting an intake and outlet for the air.
Heapstead - Platform at the shaft mouth elevated above ground level to allow coals to be tipped over screens or onto a conveyor.
Heating - Fire in waste caused by spontaneous combustion (spon com).
Heavy gang or Humping staff - Team of men specialized in transporting heavy or difficult loads in the pit.
Helper-Up - A lad employed to assist the barrow-man or putter out of a dip or incline.
Hewer - Coal face worker who works or digs coal. He cuts and loosens the coal with a pick, referred to as ragging in some pits. He could be aged from 21 to 70. Back in 1849, as part of his wages, which averaged 3s. 9d. to 4s. 3d. per day for 8 hours working, 4 or 5 days a week, he was given a house with two or three rooms, according to the number in his family, and a garden, also a fother (a cart-load) of small coals each fortnight, for which he paid sixpence.
Higgler - Old name for coal merchant 1800s
Hitch - a considerable interruption of the bed of coal.
Hitcher - Miner putting waggons into the cage, later the Chief attendant at the pit bottom.
HMI - Inspector of mines and quarries.
Hod boy - He conveyed coal to mine waggons in the working place.
Hog's back - Hump or roll in the floor of a seam, likened to a hog's back.
Hoggers - Footless stockings worn over the boot tops and tongue.
Holed - Breaking through into another working, holed through.
Holer - person employed to undercut the base of a coal-seam to assist the hewer to bring down the coal; these jobs could sometimes be combined.
Elsewhere, "Holer" - Describes a person engaged in drilling holes for shotfiring explosives for the purpose of loosening rock or coal. Another alternative is someone engaged in driving small, narrow tunnels between roadways, presumably as part of a mine ventilation plan.
Holing (1) - a general term for a narrow passage between two headways, or two board. The term appears to be sometimes used as synonymous with driving.
Holing (2) - Cutting out by pick a gap below the base of the coal seam.
Hollows - Ancient name for goaf, i.e. where coal has already been worked.
Hollybanks - Generally straight or shallow topped arches (made at local firm Hollybank).
Homotropal - Ventilation system going outbye from face to pit bottom with flow of coal.
Hooker On - Attaching or detaching tubs to or from haulage rope at the face by lashing chains, clips, shackles, etc.
Hooking on - Fastening tubs to rope, lashing; or hanging corve to shaft rope in the past.
Horseback - Bump in a seam floor.
Horse engine - Very early type of winding apparatus using horses to raise the coal.
Horse fettler - Another name for a horse keeper also known as an Ostler
Horse Gin - A device where a horse walked round and round in a circular path and operated a drum with a rope for winding coal up a shaft.
Horse hole - Entrance into a shaft where horses were netted and lowered down.
Horseheads - Girders in brackets pushed forward at a ripping lip for safety.
Horse-keeper - (Ostler ) attends to the horses in the pit.
Horseshoe arches - Arches shaped as such set in certain conditions to counteract side crush.
Hugger - Hanging, hard un-fissured coal near a fault.
Hurdle Cloth - A hessian cloth or PVC sheet erected in a roadway to deflect air to remove or dilute the percentage of gas to acceptable levels.
Hurrier, also sometimes called a Coal Drawer or Coal Thruster - was a child or woman employed by a collier to transport the coal that they had mined. Women would normally get the children to help them because of the difficulty of carrying the coal. Common particularly in the early 19th century, the hurrier pulled a corf (baskets or small wagons) full of coal along roadways as small as 16 inches in height. They would often work 12 hour shifts, making several runs down to the coal face and back to the surface again. Some children came from the workhouses and were apprenticed to the colliers. Adults could not easily do the job because of the size of the roadways, which were limited on the grounds of cost and structural integrity. Hurriers were equipped with a "gurl" belt – a leather belt with a swivel chain linked to the corf. They were also given candles as it was too expensive to light the whole mine.
Hydraulic - Of or pertaining to fluids in motion.
Hydraulic Chock - Used on faces to control the strata and to push the AFC over (using a ram) after the coal is extracted.The ram is then used to pull the chock forward using the AFC. as an anchor.
Hydraulic Hose - A common hose used to work rams and chocks etc.
Hydrogen Sulphide - A gas popularly known as 'stinkdamp' from its characteristic repulsive smell of rotten eggs. Extremely dangerous as 0.1% can kill if breathed in for only a few seconds
Hydroproof - A blasting powder for use under water- i.e. in the flooded bottom of a dipping head end.
Hydrox Filler - Removing the firing head, cleaning shells after firing and re-charging the shells under the supervision of the Shotfirer and/or Deputy and keeping records.
Hygrometer - An instrument for measuring relative humidity.
Idler - Conveyor roller, as well as the obvious.
IFS - Immediate face support, where support is quickly advanced behind the machine.
In gate - Roadway leading from the pit bottom to a coalface.
Inbye - Away from the pit shaft, (underground).
Incendive sparking - Rock which when cut causes sparking that could explode gas if present.
Incentive bonus - Contract made between management and men to increase production.
Incline man - Person attending to work on an inclined plane.
Incrop - Where a coal seam 'outcrops' underground against newer or later laid down rocks or strata.
Inrush - Striking a body of water or material that can flow when wet.
Inset - An access to a seam part way down the shaft.
Inspector - Person (Her Majesty's Inspector) appointed by the Government to ensure good working practices are followed and regulations relating to mining operations are being observed. . Also workmens inspectors ( men appointed by the workers to ensure the same ).
An underground inspector was required to attend to the working of the coals, and to see that proper pains were taken to make them large and good. He was also required to attend to the straight driving or holing and used compass marks for the purpose.
Inspector (1850s.) - A man employed at the surface to attend to the cleaning and skreening of the coals. His wages were usually 3s. per day, or 18s. per week, with his house and firing free.
The Back Over - Man, performed the above duties if the colliery did not have a lot of fire-damp, and his time was not engaged in attending to the safety of the mine. The wages of an inspector were 21s. or 22s. per week, with house and firing free.(1850s)
Intake - Fresh air roadway leading to a coal face.
Interaction - A working face affecting or being affected by another working below or above.
Intergrown - Mixed coal and dirt at base of a seam, usually poor quality and not saleable.
Inundation - Another name for inrush of water.
Jack catches - Mechanical catches on cage to stop tubs falling off in transit or device in pit bottom where tubs are arrested and then allowed to move forward when the catches are released by the operator
Jack-roll - a hand-windlass.
Jacks - Poor coal within the seam, could be another name for cannel coal.
Jazz - A steep gate to a coalface or a district name, e.g. 66s Jazz.
Jazz rail - A pair of rails that are crooked, and would throw speeding tubs off to the side.
Jig (1) - Mechanical conveyor with eccentric cam moving coal along.
Jig (2) - Stone head on a steep slope, sometimes operating main and tail haulage system.
Jigger - Miner who attended the brake of a self-acting incline or jig.
Jotty - A small-sided open-ended tub, usually wooden sides.
Joy loader - Mechanical Loading machine with gathering arms and feed conveyor behind.
Jubilee - Side tipping wagon for dirt tip waste.
Judd and Jenkin - The block of coal cut by the hewer at the face ready to be got down.
Jumbo - A very thick wooden prop, up to about ½ m dia.
Jumbo cable - Thick electrical cable, 6,000v +.
Jump up - Where the coal or strata is thrown higher at a fault plane in direction of travel.
Jumper - A sharp ended round bar or ringer for breaking down coal.
Junction - 2, 3 or 4 way split of a roadway.
Keeker - an inspector of the hewers, wailers etc.
Keeps - the apparatus at the top of the shaft for retaining the cage till the loaded tub is exchanged for the empty one.
Keps - Device for resting cage at pit bank, now not used.
Kerf - Undercut of coal or fast end corner of a coal face.
Key - Usually refers to shotfiring key to turn in the portable device to explode a charge.
Kibble - A large bucket on the end of the winding rope usually used in shaft sinking.
King (to) - The act of the cage being held in the headgear. John King inventor.
King plate - Hole position in headgear to arrest cage safely if an overwind occurs, (bell).
Kist - Wooden chest used by the Deputy to store tools, also a meeting place.
Knocker - Lad who took (knocked off ) the clip off the tubs as they reached their destination.
Knocking off (1) - End of shift or job.
Knocking off (2) - The act of taking a clip hauling tubs off the haulage rope.
Koepe - System of winding, ground mounted or tower, friction / multi rope winding.
L bars or lip support - Steel supports for safety at a ripping lip.
Ladder system - Where 2 roadways are driven parallel with regular crosscuts.
Lagging - Boards or metal sheets placed behind steel arches.
Laid-out - tubs of coals forfeited by the hewer as having an excess of stones or slates.
Lamming - Dirt in a coal seam that could be extracted and loaded out separately or gobbed.
Lamp Keeper - who has charge of the Davies
Landing - Can be an inset or a platform in a shaft or at top or bottom of shaft.
Laser (beam) - Light beam set up by Surveyor for direction and grade in a roadway.
Lashing Chains - Chains used on a moving endless rope haulage.
Lashing on - Throwing a measured length of chain attached to the draw bar on a tub over a moving overhead haulage rope several times forming a 'knot' that tightens allowing the rope to haul the tub or run of tubs.
Last draw - Last cage ride at the beginning of the shift before the shaft only available for coaling or sending in materials.
Last man button - Switch in pit bottom where the onsetter can signal himself out of the mine.
Lay of rope - The twist in strands of steel ropes – Laing's lay e.g.
Leaf - A layer of strata or coal.
Lease - Area of coal leased from an owner of the coal in the past, usually started and finished at one of the old Quarter days – 25th March or Lady Day, Midsummer or 24th June, Michaelmas or 29th September and very occasionally 25th December or Christmas. Now a lease for a parcel of coal either underground or opencast is obtained from the Coal Authority in Mansfield, Notts.
Leg The lower part of steel arch road support- a pair of legs and a crown form a "ring" (on 3 section rings or arch girders).
Legs (1) - Wooden supports under ends of girders or steel side supports of arches..
Legs (2) - Surveyor's tripod.
Lepidodendron - Fossil leaf in coal seam or strata.
Level (1) - Gate driven fairly flat (on strike) as opposed to steep dip or rise.
Level (2) - A surveying instrument used to determine difference in height from one point to another.
Lid - A piece of hard wood (cap lid) set over a prop at the face - (foot pad under a prop).
Limmers or Limbers - Contraption for pony harness to allow tubs to be hauled.
Linesman - Surveyor's underground assistant, taking measurements, laying up centre lines, face lines etc and assisting on surveys of workings.
Lion - A conveyor motor size.
Lip or Rip Gate - road at the coal face end, where there is stone above the coal seam to be blown down creating height for gate supports to be set.
Liquefaction – The process of converting coal into a synthetic fuel, similar in nature to crude oil and/or refined products, such as petrol.
List - Batty coal.
Little Demon - Small shot firing battery for detonating single shots.
Load haul dump truck - arge truck conveying dirt to the tip.
Loader - One loading coal etc into a tub or onto a conveyor.
Loader gate - A roadway where coal or dirt is transported by conveyor or other means.
Loader or Loaderman - Filled tubs, trains or minecars at loading point
Loading - The act of filling coal etc into tubs or onto a conveyor.
Loading point - Place where conveyor loads coal into tubs/mine cars.
Lock out (1) - Action of coal owners in the past refusing men work.
Lock out (2) - A safety device on a machine etc to prevent it being accidentally started.
Locker (1) - Pit Head Baths container for clean and dirty clothes.
Locker (2) - Handle of steel or wood for arresting tub wheels.
Lockering - The act of placing a locker in the wheel of a tub to restrict movement
Lockers - A short wood or steel device which was inserted into the tub wheel, this locked the wheel and friction between the wheel and the tub track caused the tub and any others coupled to it, to come to a standstill.
Loco road - is always in the main intake.
Lodge (1) - Pump house / roadway or excavation or tank built to contain water.
Lodge (2) - Union branch.
Lofco - Mechanical device catching tub axles for raising tubs up or down a slope.
Lommy - Soft dirt above a seam.
Longwall - A coal face worked on a fair distance between gates.
Longwall Power Loader Operator, and Assistant - Men who on the production shift move along the face with the power loading machine. Their jobs include operating the controls of the machine, setting or withdrawing supports or trimming the face or breaking up coal. They also advance the conveyor or rubbing rail and set supports immediately behind the conveyor or rubbing rail.
Loop - Tension device for a conveyor belt.
Loose all - Time when men were let up the pit at end of shift, 6 bells or knocks sounded.
Loose it - was used to high light the end of shift... ie I'll see you in the showers at loose it. Or call in the office at loose it. Thanks to Darren Haines
Loose Place - Place where coal is easily worked.
Low landing - Bottom deck at surface.
Lowerer - Miner who lowered waggons down an inclined plane.
Lowside - The dip side of a coalface as opposed to topside.
A Magnetic Meridian for underground surveys was established at the Silver Hill pit in 1870. The sketch on Bob Bradley's page shows the difference between true North (vertical) and magnetic North (to North West). The position of the needle pointing to magnetic north varies by about 8 minutes of arc each year and was to the west at this time moving east. Sometimes it is not absolutely clear whether allowance has been made for the difference on some of the very old plans. (See also Mining Dial)
Main and Tail - Haulage system, fulls (tubs) running down pull empties up on the other track.
Main fan - A mechanical ventilator installed at the surface; operates by either exhausting or blowing to induce airflow throughout the mine.
Main Gate - The intake airway which was the conveyor belt road down which the coal travelled, see also mother gate.
Main Gate Face Entry - Access point to the face from the main roadway, Mother Gate.
Main Intake - Supplying fresh air from the downcast shaft to a working area
Main Return - Roadway carrying the foul air back to the upcast shaft
Main Road - Gate road usually from pit bottom leading to coal cutting district.
Main seam - Name of a thick seam of coal in S Derbys and Leics.
Maintenance Man Mechanical Appliances - Engaged on minor repairs and maintenance of mechanical appliances.
Manager - Overall in charge of a mine on behalf of a company.
Manchester gate - Safety device to stop runners or runaway tubs, originating from NW area.
Manhole - Refuge hole between legs or rings, dimensions should be 3ft.by 4ft. by 6ft. and they should be whitewashed and numbered. Distance apart depended on the type of roadway and gradients, usually 10 yards or 20 yards. They provided a safe place in case of runaway tubs etc.
Manker - Warwick girder safety device to prevent tubs running away.
Manometer - An instrument which measures the pressure difference between roadways.
Market man - Collier who has not got a regular job and fills in anywhere where a man is short.
Marrer - Mate or person working with another (from NE).
Marrow - A partner or Mate.
Master-Shifter - The person in charge of the shifters.
Master-Wasteman - The person who has charge of the wastemen.
Maundrel - A small shafted pick for hand-holing out under coal, slight curved blade.
McLane tip - Conical waste tip, where the dirt is hauled up an incline and tipped over the top.
Meco self contained breathing apparatus - one using liquid air, 'Aerophor' and one using compressed oxygen contained in cylinders, 'Meco'. In the "Meco,' apparatus the oxygen feed is fixed at 2.3 litres per minute. The small apparatus cylinders are charged with 300 litres at a pressure of 120 atmospheres.
Meco-Moore - Cutter-loader 1940s to late 1960s, developed from AB 15 coal cutter and having several cutting jibs e.g. over, under and rear. the coal falling onto a small cross conveyor and onto the face conveyor.
Meeting Station - Point where Deputy meets his men on district before they proceed inbye to the face or job of work.
Mega - An electrician's testing meter.
Meshing - Wire mesh rolled out behind cutting machine to prevent roof falling held up by the chock beams. Also later, plastic-type meshing for assisting roof bolting or gate side support.
Metal Man - Person who takes the roof down to give more height.
Metal Mickey - Slang name for recording device for winding engines (after 1973 Markham disaster).
Methane - CH4 or firedamp gas, from 5%-15%, explosive mixture, most violent at 9.4%. Will not burn above 15% due to lack of oxygen. Lighter than air.
Methane Ddrainage - A system where holes are bored up or down into the strata above or below a coal seam but generally over the waste to capture methane gas and through a series of steel pipes either exhaust it safely into the general body of the mine air underground at a maximum of 2% or as at Shirebrook and other pits it is piped up the shaft and utilized in boilers to produce hot water for the pithead baths.
Methane Monitor - An instrument that is used to measure the amount of methane present in the mine atmosphere.
Middle Set - Temporary prop set along a coal face between the gob leg and face leg.
Mine Car - A large steel tub, from 3 tonnes – 7 tonnes capacity.
Mine Driver – Part of a team which created roadways to the line of the coal face. Mine drivers would drill holes in the rock and use explosives to blow it down.
Mine Gases - Mine Gases. During the normal working of coal seams it is necessary to pass through the workings a sufficient quantity of air to keep the atmosphere properly conditioned for breathing, because of the fact that firedamp is slowly exuded by the coal and surrounding strata, and carbon dioxide gas is formed by oxidation of the coal and timber and by the breathing of men and animals. The latter processes remove oxygen from the mine atmosphere and thereby tend to bring the percentage below the normal 21%.
Mining Dial - Bob Bradley
MINOS - Mining information on screen (computer).
Misfire - The complete or partial failure of a blasting charge.
Moleskins - Colliers' trousers, hardwearing, replaced by denim, now a set of coloured overalls.
Mono - Generally referring to a type of pump used to force water through a pipe.
Morphia - A pain killing injection given after certain serious accidents. Could only be given by selected trained first aid men who were certified competent for this purpose
Mother Gate (1) - Loader or main conveyor road on a panel.
Mother Gate (2) - Main roadway ( usually an air intake roadway ).
Mottee - Token, small metal disks, with identification numbers relating to a workman.
Motty or mottie - Brass or alloy tally, one to give to banksman when entering the mine and one kept to hand in on return to surface, for time keeping and also as a safety record.
Motty or Peg Board - Where a specific number of motties or pegs are found at the entrance to headings etc where man power is restricted. As one goes into that place, a motty or peg is put on the board denoting how many men are in that heading, usually 9, or in cases allowable by the HM Inspector other numbers of men with designated tasks. If a person or visitor wants or needs to go into that place another person has to come out to keep the maximum number correct.
Mouth - Shaft top or adit entrance at the surface.
Muck (1) - Dirt in the coal seam or at the base of a coal seam.
Muck (2) - Dirt produced from underground tipped at the surface, (muck hill or dirt tip).
Mudstone - Generally soft bind or strata overlying a coal seam.
Mule haulage - Mechanical rope haulage device for pushing tubs.
Multi-shot - A series of explosives detonated at the same time.
Mussel bed (cockleshell) - Band of fossil shellfish overlying Low Main (Tupton) seam.
NACODS - National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers.
Naked light mine - Where illumination is by open light, candle, oil lamp, carbide lamp etc.
Natural Ventilation - Ventilation which is provided without the assistance of fans or furnaces.
Nesh roof - Poor friable strata above a coal seam.
Net - used for letting down and drawing up horses.
Neuropteris - Fossil leaf of a plant.
Nick (nick her up ) - Undercut the seam.
Nicking - Making marks on a piece of wood to count the number of tubs etc.
Nicking - vertical cuttings in the coal preparatory to blasting etc.
Night Gaffer - Used to be an Overman, nights regular in charge, later Assistant Undermanager.
Nitrogen - A gas occurring to the extent of 79% in the atmosphere.
NMA - National Miner's Association.
NMIU - Nottinghamshire Miners Industrial Union 1920s-1930s.
Nog (chock nog) - Piece of pine wood approx 6 inches square x 3 feet long.
Noper or nopper - Hammer at one end and short pick at the other end for use with rail laying or setting props.
Norm - A task worked out by method study for each job of work.
Nose bag - Receptacle containing feed hung over a horse's or pony's neck.
NUM - National Union of Mineworkers from 1944 on when all local unions united.
Nuts - coals passing through the screen-bars from which the dust is removed.
Ochrey - Inrush or inundation of water (e.g. Clay Cross, or Molyneux colliery near Teversal).
Off The Road - A tub or tram, or any vehicle which comes off the rails.
Oil lamp - Hand held flame lamp with bonnet and glass window, used for illumination and for detecting gases, either firedamp where a gas cap is observed on a lowered flame or blackdamp where the flame could be extinguished due to lack of oxygen in the air.
Oiler - One employed to oil the pulleys for haulage ropes or steam winding engines.
Oncostman - Workman not paid by the day.
Onsetter - known as the pit-bottomer. Person in charge of loading and unloading the cage underground, at the bottom of the shaft, underground equivalent to Banksman. He signals to the banksman and winding engineman when the cage is loaded with men or mine cars and ready to move. Where tubs are used he usually had a boy of from 12 to 15 years of age, to help him. The boy was paid from 1s. 3d. to 2s. a-day in 1841.
Ostler - Horsekeeper in charge of all the animals.
Outburst - A dangerous situation with excess methane gas or water from coal or floor.
Outbye - Going towards the pit shaft (underground ).
Outcrop - Where coal is showing at the surface, Basset edge.
Overcast - An airway built over the top of another airway. Required to separate intake and return airways in some areas. Where one road passes over another.
Overlap (1) - The rope on the winder that goes over the top of the winding drum.
Overlap (2) - System of ventilation where air from one fan is passed through another.
Overlooker - (Also known as Overman) Underground foreman subordinate to the manager.
Overman - (Also known as Overlooker) The third in rank of the officers of the mine, in charge of safe operations in a section of the mine. He ensures efficient production at the coal face, organises repairs and deploys the miners.He is the underground foreman subordinate to the manager.
Overwind - Where the cage is wound too far at pit top and is held in headgear by safety device, e.g. King's Patent, Ormerod hook or Bennett's catchgear.
Owner - One who owns the mine or lease.
Oxygen - Oxygen is a colourless, tasteless, and odourless gas, it is slightly heavier than air.
Oxygen - Liquid Oxygen
Pack - Roof support made of stone. Large stones at the front, built up like a dry stone wall.
Packer (1) - One deployed to build the pack walls and fill behind with debris.
Packer (2) - A big piece of stone to use in the pack wall.
Packing - Act of building a pack wall and filling a void.
Packhole - Void at coal face to stow dirt either or both sides of the gate from the ripping lip.
Pad - Wood piece under a prop.
Pads - Knee pads or elbow pads for protection.
Paddy driver - One operating a rope driven or loco manrider.
Paddy guard - One employed to operate signals on a manriding train and to control the seating arrangements of the men.
Palm tree junction - A tall split junction constructed with some arches splaying out at the top likened to a palm tree.
Pan - Part of a panzer / crawley / stage loader through which the chain was guided, many pans were coupled together to make up the required length.
Pan line - Line of AFC (armoured face conveyor) on the coalface.
Panel (1) - A block area of coal worked or working.
Panel (2) - Face number or district name to identify it, e.g. 2s panel, 33s panel, 100s ‘A’ etc.
Panel (3) - An electrical switch gear unit.
Pantechnicon - Framework supporting electrical gear over a conveyor near to coal face.
Panzer - A Chain conveyor, Armoured flexible conveyor , AFC.
Papers - Generally referring to authorization certificates for various jobs.
Parcel - An area of land in acres denoted by boundaries marked on a plan.
Parting (1) - A rail junction ("points" in railway parlance) or splitting of two roadways.
Parting (2) - Usually where a gap occurs between different layers of rock above a coal seam as it is extracted
Parting (3) - Different layers in a coal seam where it is easy to break in to
Pattern - The layout of shot holes to be drilled for explosives to be used.
Peat - Partially decayed vegetable matter found in swamps and bogs, one of the earliest stages of coal formation. Used as fuel or for horticulture.
Peggy or Nipsey - Game played with pieces of wood, striking a small piece with a stick – general during strike periods e.g. 1926.
Peg board - For motties, situated at the single entrance to a heading to control number of men.
Peg out - Peg out underground survey on the surface.
Penitent - Person sent into a mine to clear gas – fireman, in very early days of mining.
Penobel - Blasting gelignite or "powder" (PE- permitted explosive, Nobel)
Perch or pole - Measurement equal to a rod (Measurement of 16½ feet or 5½ yards.)
Peter - When chains were used to carry miners up and down the shaft the Peter was a piece of timber to steady and balance the chain and to prevent it running over the headstock wheel when it gets to the top of the shaft.
Pick - A hand tool, used by hewers, for loosening coal etc., also machine picks, attached to a drum or chain to cut coal or stone.
Picks - Replaceable steel cutting edges fastened into cutter jib or drum.
Piece - Lunch, snap, bread, bait etc. Various names used throughout the Coalfields.
Pig tail (1) - Curled end of a coupler or drag or clip.
Pig tail (2) - Twist or screw of chewing tobacco.
Pikeman - Workman using a pick
Pikrose - Haulage engine, various horsepower sizes
Pillar (1) - An unworked pillar of support for neighbouring panels.
Pillar (2) - An unworked pillar of coal left to prevent subsidence to surface features such as Churches, motorways, railways, town centres etc
Pillar (3) - Shaft pillar, the size of which was calculated from various factors such as depth of seam, dip of strata etc left to prevent damage to the shafts from working the coal seams
Pillar edge - The external line of the above pillar.
Pillar and Stall - Method of working coal in squares, juds and jenkins.
Pillar work - Where a panel is worked, a panel width is left and another panel worked and so on generally to protect surface works from subsidence.
Pinch - A portion of snuff.
Pinch Bar - A long round, thin steel bar ( approximately 5ft.) used for lifting or prising items or materials.
Pinger - Extra quarter hour overtime
Pinner - Wooden wedge used to tighten up girders etc or lid for a prop.
Pin wheel - Chainless haulage system for a shearer.
Pipeman - Maintaining and extending pipe ranges at the face; dismantling and erecting in new position compressed air and/or water pipes at the face.
Pit-bottomer - (Also known as an Onsetter) Person in charge of loading and unloading the cage underground, at the bottom of the shaft, underground equivalent to Banksman. He signals to the banksman and winding engineman when the cage is loaded with men or mine cars and ready to move. Where tubs are used he usually had a boy of from 12 to 15 years of age, to help him. The boy was paid from 1s. 3d. to 2s. a-day in 1841
Pit - Colliery or mine
Pit brow (broo) lassies - Women screen workers, mainly in W Yorks and Lancs and Cumberland (last two 1963).
Pit eye - Pit bottom of shaft.
Pit rags - Miners’ clothing as in the past any old clothing would do for working in.
Pit top - Surface
Plane road - Long sloping main road for tub haulage.
Plane Runner - person employed to ensure that the tub system was operating efficiently and the roadways were clear of spillage etc, whereas a 'Corporal' was overall in charge and oversaw the system and the personnel involved.
Planks - Usually a prop cut down the middle, lengthwise from top to bottom ( 6ft. planks mainly ). used as a roof support.
Plate (1) - Steel sheet placed on floor, ripping dropped on to it, making it easy to shovel.
Plate (2) - A steel sheet on the floor where tubs can be spun from a set of rails from one direction to another set of rails in another direction, usually at right angles...spin plate.
Plough (1) - A rope hauled toothed device taking a thin slice of coal app 6 inches or 0.15m on a coal face.
Plough (2) - A device usually attached to a shearer or trepanner for pushing cut coal onto a panzer conveyor.
Pneumoconiosis - A chronic disease of the lungs arising from breathing in coal dust.
Pocket (1) - Pocket of gas. Gas found in a crevice or high part of a gate road.
Pocket (2) - Skip pocket, a storage area near shaft side in pit bottom. Skips are loaded from it.
Points - A junction in the tub track where tubs could be switched from one track to another.
Pony - Pit pony, horse, mule, ass or donkey. From a tiny Shetland pony to a large horse.
Pony loco - Short based steep-seam battery-loco with rubber tyres for shunting/hauling.
Popper - A short or extra hole drilled and fired to trim off or break up large lumps.
Post - An old name for a pillar of coal left for protection of surface building or shaft etc.
Post and stall - Where small faces are worked off a main gate and a similar width of coal is left between the small faces or rooms.
Pot hole - Usually large inverted dish-like slippery roof (tortoise shape).
Pouch - Small bag carried on ones belt to carry small items / tools etc.
Powder - Explosive, 2oz, 4oz, 8oz, or unit charge of higher weight in lbs.
Powder bag - Bag usually made from old belting to carry explosives.
Powder monkey - Usually one carrying a bag of explosives or assisting shotfirer for extra pay.
Power Loader Man - Directly engaged during coal getting operations on a coal face operated by a power loading machine (other than a remotely operated longwall face) Also see Collier, similar work but by hand
Power Stower - Building packs at coal face by means of power stowing equipment.
Pre-shift inspection - The deputy tests for gas, and examines a district to make sure it is safe before workmen arrive.
Prep shift - Where a team of men prepare the face for coal turning.
Pre-start - Warning sound or klaxon horn before starting a machine or armoured face conveyor.
Pricker (spiker) - A tool for making a hole in explosive to insert the detonator.
Production Manager - (1) In charge of a group of pits, superior to the Manager, (similar to Agent).
Production Manager - (2) After take over by UK Coal a title given to the Undermanager position.
Props - Wooden or hydraulic supports holding up the roof.
Proto - Breathing Apparatus
Prop Bobby - Person to go round faces counting props re lost ones (fine a team for loss).
Prop free front - The predetermined distance from the last support to the coal face agreed by an Inspector and not to be exceeded e.g. 6’ 6” (2m).
Pull - Refers to the amount of material extracted or brought down by shotfiring.
Pulley - A roller for deflecting or supporting a rope.
Pulley wheels - Wheels or sheaves in the headgear or headstocks, diverting the winding rope from the winding engine down the shaft.
Pull lift - Hand operated device for lifting equipment using a chain.
Pull wire - Manual signalling device for conveyors etc.
Pummel (end) - Where an electric cable enters a motor.
Pumper - Male or female child who descends into the deepest part of the mine to pump rising water to the level of the engine pump in order to keep the men's rooms of work dry. They frequently work up to their waists in water or in such cramped situations as to be nearly covered. The work is severe and continuous; they are relieved every 6 hours and rest for twelve.
Pushover - Act of moving the AFC nearer to face by hydraulic rams.
Putt - A cart or vehicle in which coal is put to take to pit bottom.
Putter (1) - A man or boy pulling or pushing trams or tubs by hand (tramming).
Putter (2) - A small haulage engine with single rope hauling one way.
Quick release - A metal device with 2 wedges and locking pins built part way up a temporary wooden support built of chock nogs. Knocking out the pins with a large hammer causes the chock nogs to collapse and enables them to be used again.
Quicky - Short shift, usually to attend a meeting for example.
Quota - System devised in late 1920s and 1930s to sell coal fairly by Company.
Quarter - Extra quarter of an hour for overtime.
Race - A channel where the panzer chain runs.
Rack Gearing - take a rack off, 'take it easy', rack up a cutter – 'increase speed'.
Raft of tubs - A run or several tubs coupled together.
Rafter coal - Coal left up unworked to form a good roof.
Ragging up - Finishing the job and dressing to return to pit bottom at end of shift.
Raise drill - Drilling machine, which when drilled down with say a 9" dia bit and holed through into a roadway or chamber below, a large dia bit say 60" is raised or drilled up excavating a large hole and the debris falls to the bottom roadway to be loaded out.
Rake - Body of ore, such as ironstone.
Ram (1) - A device for pushing the panzer conveyor over.
Ram (2) - 3 throw ram pump for example moving water.
Ram's head - Hand-held boring machine.
Ramble - loose stone lying above the top of the coal.
Rammel - is a term for rubbish or waste.
Rammer - A wooden rod for tamping an explosive in a shot hole.
Ramming - Material, usually clay tamped into an explosive charged hole.
Ramp - A wooden platform at a higher level than the rest of the roadway.
Ramper - Turn pike road.
Ranging drum - Shearer with a drum that can be lifted and lowered whilst cutting to different heights.
Rank - Rank of coal re coking properties 700, 800 etc (coal survey), anthracite being the highest rank.
Rap - Bell signal to an machinery operator ( winding engineman, haulage driver etc. ) 3 raps to the winder meant men were about to travel the shaft.
Rattlejack - Cannel coal.
Redman - Chewing tobacco, imported from USA, used for centuries by Indians.
Re-entry - Going back into an old working which has been abandoned.
Reg 10 man - Un-qualified assistant mechanic or electrician.
Regular days - One who always worked on the day shift e.g. 6.30am to 2pm.
Regular nights - One who always works on the night shift e.g. 10pm to 6am.
Regulator and Regulator Doors - Constructions which controls the air flow in a roadway, it balances the quantity of air reaching faces etc. and prevents the ventilation from short circuiting.
Regulator (1) - A door with a wedge or opening, regulating air flow, slide to release pressure.
Regulator (2) - In late 1920s / 30s person appointed by the government to regulate output of colliery companies.
Re-lighter - Oil lamp with personal re-lighting device, usually used by officials.
Rescue and Firefighting - Plan prepared and updated by Surveyor for use by Rescue team for use in an emergency (updated copy kept at Rescue Station for instruction purposes).
Rescue man - Volunteer Colliery miner or regular Rescue Brigade man at Rescue Station.
Resin - A chemical material that is inserted into drill holes, it quickly sets very hard, it is used for roof bolting and anchoring head drives etc.
Respirable Dust - Coal dust particles, 1 to 5 microns are the most harmful.
Rest day - Individually chosen day off, requested and approved officially 'beforehand'.
Retarder - Device for arresting tubs.
Retreat - To work coal from the boundary back towards the pit bottom, or to work a face back from a predetermined position arrived at by driving roadways out and coupling up and working the coal back to another predetermined position.
Retreat Face - The roadways are developed to the boundary then the coal is extracted from the inbye end and retreats outbye. Retreating back towards the main roads.
Return - Roadway along which the air travels from the face and out of the mine.
Return (1) - A foul air road to pit bottom.
Return (2) - Pulley wheel on rope haulage, conveyor return end.
Return (3) - An official form to fill in at periodic intervals, e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
Return Air - Air or ventilation that has passed through the workings.
Return Airway - A roadway along which air returns from the working face(s).
RH25 etc - A roadheader.
Rib - The side walls of the roadway.
Rib or rib side - The fast end or side of a face.
Ricket gate - Gate with channel for water to run naturally to a sump hole to be pumped out.
Ridder - Person who rakes or rids coal down a steep working.
Ride - Ascend or descend the shaft in the cage, or travel to and from work on manriding cars or conveyors.
Rider - Attendant on an inclined plane.
Riders - Men congregating to ride, at top or bottom of the shaft.
Rifler - A named portion of the Top Hard coal seam.
Rigid guides - Wooden or steel shaft guides instead of free hanging steel ropes.
Ring - An arch, 2, 3 or 4 pieces joined together with fish plates and nuts and bolts.
Ringer - Pinner or large straight Crow bar.
Ringrose - A large battery lamp for detecting methane gas with red flashing light should any gas be present. Usually hung at a place of work to inform workmen of gas.
Rings - Steel arches supporting the roof.
Ripper - One of a team employed to extract the gate profile material and set gate supports.
Rippers - Men who remove the rock above the coal seam and set rings (arches) as the face advances.
Ripping - Dirt or rock taken from above a seam to form height in a gate or roadway.
Ripping Lip - As the face was lower than the roadway, the extra height was called the rip. Obviously one at each end of the face. Shots were fired to bring rip down. Modern day ripping is done by machine.
Riving and Chewing - Tearing and pulling.
Road - Main thorouoghfare connecting shaft to the faces.
Road (1) - Passage, gate or airway.
Road (2) - Tramway, tub track etc.
Roadlayer - Person who installs the tub track, grading floor, sleepers etc.
Roadways - Snickets - cross cuts, slant gates, material turn outs, bob holes, were all minor connecting roadways.
Robbing - Working of coal on retreat between existing pillar and stall or room and pillar work.
Rock bolt or roof bolt - Tensioned rod or rope anchored in a drilled hole into strata to increase the inherent strength of the bed or beds of strata.
Rockman - Slate getter - a skilled workman who excavates or "gets" the blocks of rock, which are split and dressed into slates.
Rod - Measurement of 16½ feet or 5½ yards.
Roll - A disturbance in a coal seam usually in the floor.
Roller turn - Bend in roadway with haulage rope deflected by pulleys / rollers.
Rolley - Coal truck.
Rolley way - Haulage road.
Rolley-Way Man - A man whose business it was to attend to the rolley-way and keep it in order. It was also his duty to see that no time was lost in getting the full waggons to the shaft and the empty ones in-bye again.
Rolley-ways - the-principal horse-roads extending into distant parts of the mine and made sufficiently high for an ordinary horse, by cutting away the roof or floor if necessary. Some of these rolley-ways are two miles long they are kept in repair by the rolley-way man.
Rood - Measurement ¼ of an acre.
Roof - The top of a coal seam or gate road.
Roof Bolt - A steel rod used to support the roof, along with wire meshing, by securing it in a hole drilled into the roof.
Roof bolted roadway - A roadway driven with the only visible means of support being roof bolts and bars and sometimes mesh (to roof and sides).
Roof Bolter - Responsible for boring holes and inserting and adjusting special bolts to bind the strata. (See above)
Roof bolting - was a system where a 10 feet long hole was drilled into the roof using a Wombat machine. Epoxy resin capsules were then inserted into the hole, followed by a ten foot threaded rod the roof bolt, and the whole lot was spun mixing the resin. When the resin went off the roof was supported, in theory. Fine with good strata, it was just lethal here.
Roof Support - Anything used to support roof. Examples of roof supports are roof bolts, arches, powered supports, wood chocks, timber or hydraulic props.
Room (and pillar) - Small area of coal, single entry, worked leaving pillars either side.
Rope - Haulage or winding rope, steel Laings lay etc, hemp rope 6" x 2" e.g.
Rope man - A man employed to maintain and extend, splice or install haulage ropes.
Ropemen - Men who repair and maintain rope haulages.
Round - Several shots or multi-shot detonators and explosive fired at the same time.
Royalty - Amount of money received by the owner of the coal lease, usually so much per ton extracted.
Rubbing rope - Rope down shaft between cages to prevent them catching when passing at speed.
'Rubic chute' - Slang name for complicated arrangement within a chute where coal or dirt is transferred onto another conveyor from one direction or from another direction or both together, loaded out for storage then loaded back through at off peak times.
Run - A set of tubs on a rope haulage or diesel/battery loco hauled.
Run In pit - Shaft where men and materials were wound.
Run of mine - Output brought up to the surface before being washed or screened.
Runner (1) - Pusher of mine waggons.
Runner (2) - Runaway tub or tram.
Runner (3) - Pit bottom tea / message man for gaffer (Undermanager).
Runner in - Person who put waggons into the cage at the bottom of the pit.
Runners - Girders supported generally at right angles by bearing girders at a junction.
Running in (1) - The act of allowing several empty tubs to run loose into a gate.
Running in (2) - Where loose material flows from roof leaving large cavities.
Saddles - cast-iron fittings confining the tram and tub on the rolley.
Safe haven - Underground muster station.. an emergency steel shelter with food and water capable of supporting people for up to 48 hours.
Safety lamp - See Davy lamp
Saleable - Amount of coal sold (coal, including dirt and moisture).
Salvage - Act of recovering tackle from an old district or roadway.
Sandstone - A sedimentary rock consisting of quartz sand and iron oxide or calcium carbonate. Very hard rock, layered or current bedded.
Sattle board - A movable decking pushed out at top of shaft to receive a corve or Corf or box.
Sausage - A capsule of resin used in roof bolting.
Schaffler - A small shot firer, made in Austria
Scissors - The crossing in the tub tracks.
Score - Amount of coal produced at that time in the shift, number skips or tubs wound.
Scotch or Dick - was a piece of wood, triangular in shape across it's width and about two feet in length. The scotch had to be placed under the back wheel of the leading tub in order to lock it, the set would continue to run towards the pit bottom, but at an ever decreasing speed and the trick was to bring it gently to a stop before it came to rest at the back of other vehicles waiting to be wound up the shaft. It was important that you got this right, if you let the set in too quickly or you lost control you could could derail one or more of the "coalers" (Tub full of coal, dotters if full of dirt) or a tub could be pushed into the shaft.
Scour or scouring - A roadway driven in the waste or old works, scufting out.
Scraper (1) - Device for cleaning up or detecting breaks in shothole.
Scraper (2) - Dirt tip spreading / loading machine.
Scraper (3) - Device on conveyor for scraping fines and sludge off the bottom of the belt.
Screen (1) - A device with different size holes in plates for sorting coal into various sized pieces and grades.
Screen (2) - In early 1900s a fork used instead of a shovel for loading coal – no small coal sent out of the pit. Men penalised for doing so.
Screen or Traps - for screening coals, consist of bars of iron.
Screeners - those who took the small coal from beneath a screen of iron, over which the coals, as they came from the hewers, were poured into the waggons or carts. They removed stones, slates, brasses, etc.
Screens - Pit head where coal is sorted from dirt before washing or loading out.
Screen-trapper - an attendant at the screens.
Screw - Usually meant a piece of pigtail chewing tobacco, often offered to a colleague.
Screw Clip - Box or Fisher clip for hauling tubs. The clip is screwed down onto the haulage rope.
Screw Prop - Steel prop with top part spiralled and when turned by a handle caused the prop to be tightened up to the roof.
Scroll - Angle of picks on a cutting drum to assist in loading coal onto a face conveyor.
Sea Coal (1) - Coal shipped down the coast from NE by collier boat.
Sea Coal (2) - Coal found on the beach left after high tide.
Search - Refers to searching men for contraband items.
Seatearth - The material on which a coal seam is laid down on generally containing fossilised plant rootlets of the trees or vegetation that created the coal seam.
Second Means of Egress - The alternative roadways from the working areas of the mine which would be used if an emergency arose.
Self Rescuer - A stainless steel canister, about the size of a small tea caddy, carried on the belt at all times. When the red lever on top was pulled, you could pull out a small respirator with a mouth piece, noseclip and webbing straps to hold it in place. It contained an air cooler, smoke and dust filters, and most importantly, a substance called Hopcalite, which converts carbon MONOXIDE into carbon DIOXIDE (that extra atom of oxygen makes all the difference!). They're supposed to last for an hour.....it also contained a bypass valve- Miners were told that if they had to be sick they were to do it into the mouthpiece and not remove the self rescuer
Send for ‘toss - In the 19th and 20th Centuries meant that the cart was need to transport a severely injured or ‘usually dead’ man or boy to hospital or home. The usual statement when taking a body home was to say to the widow ‘We’ve brought him home missus’.
Sentry - Safety person posted at extreme edge of danger position when shotfiring, usually wearing a red cover over his cap lamp to denote to anyone approaching the area that firing was in progress and to stop that person passing into the danger zone.
Setting Timber - Erecting supports to control the roof, traditionally timber props, later steel and hydraulic props.( See image under Planks).
Shackler - Person who couples waggons.
Shaft - Vertical hole which connects the surface with the underground workings. Fresh air enters the mine by the Down Shaft, circulated the workings and came out via the up Shaft.
Shaft (1) - The constructed hole sunk from the surface to the seam or pit bottom.
Shaft (2) - Hand-held pick.
Shaft sinking - The act of sinking a shaft and if sinking 2 shafts one shaft is always sunk a few metres in front of the other to prevent interaction when firing shots.
Shaftman - Shaft sinker.
Shaftsman - Examiner, blacksmith, joiner, engineer – person working in a shaft on 6 hour shift.
Shaker (pan) - A metal eccentric crank motion conveyor to move coal downhill.
Shanker - makes sure that the mine shaft is properly supported. Looks after the smooth running of the cage up and down the shaft and manages the transport of unusual loads.
Sharpener - A man employed on pit top to sharpen collier’s picks etc.
Shear (1) - Generally meaning where movement of the strata has created a crack or displacement of the strata but not causing a fault or slip as noted above.
Shear (2) - The act of cutting the coal face with a shearer cutter-loader machine.
Shearer - Machine used to cut coal on a longwall face. Revolving drum cutter-loader, 1955 on.
Sheave - Winding wheel at headgear where the rope hauls the cage up and down the shaft.
Shield (1) - A metal frame to shelter behind when firing shots.
Shield (2) - Very large face support, with lemniscate action on legs, usually 4 or 2 leg chocks.
Shield (3) - Safety tunnel moved forward in cut ground, Brunel, London clays and tried in pits.
Shift - The part of any day worked. for example, Early, Mid, Days, Afters, Extenders, Twilights, Nights, Cutting, Week-end etc..
Shift Manager - Senior overman in charge of the mine on the back shifts.
Shifters - men who repaired the horse-ways and other passages in the mine, and kept them free from obstructions.
Shoe - A metal clamp device for guiding a cage in a shaft or a face machine to AFC.
Shonkey - Pit shaft with only one cage and a counterbalance weight.
Shop - Workshop on surface for a craftsman e.g. Blacksmiths, Welders, Joiners, Fitters, Electricians etc.
Shot - An explosive action or shotfiring.
Shot wire - Thin plastic covered wire attached to a detonator.
Shotfirer - A qualified person in charge of explosives, who detonates shots or explosives. ‘Shotty’.
Shotfiring cable - Cable coupled to shot wire and battery, min 20 yards long for single shot in coal, 50 yards for 6 shots. In headings can be + 250 yards (m) long.
Shotfiring curtain - Metal chain mail erected to prevent pieces of coal or dirt projecting beyond it to protect persons behind it.
Shotfiring shield - Transportable metal shield used by the shotfirer to protect him whilst firing shots.
Shotstick Shot-firing pole. - Thin wooden pole used to ram the explosives and clay into the drill holes. Later known as a
Shot wire - Thin plastic covered wire attached to a detonator.
Shuffle - Action of cutting at a gate end to prepare for cutting back the other way along the face line.
Shunter - Person sorting and moving wagons on the surface.
Shuttle car - An electrically or diesel driven , free-steered vehicle or car car / transporter for coal usually filled by a Joy loader.
Sigilaria - Type of fossilised fern found in the formation of coal.
Silkstone - Seam name from Yorkshire, alternative name for Blackshale in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Siltstone - fairly hard abrasive strata overlying a seam classified between a mudstone and sandstone.
Single entry - where a single roadway is driven to its planned length in coal and a small face is headed out say 10 metres long. Chocks and a face machine and panzer installed and then that small face is retreated back using that gate. Ventilation is effected by an exhausting fan at the gate end and the air tubing is salvaged and moved outbye with the conveyor and other equipment. A pillar of coal would be left and a similar face worked and so on. This system was used in subsidence sensitive areas.
Single point suspension - Where a cable is hung down a shaft from framework at the top without being supported by cleats hammered into the shaft side.
Single shot - Usually a 4oz pellet exploded from a minimum distance of 20 yards away.
Sinker - Man in team excavating a shaft. Master sinker in charge.
Sinking - The act of excavating a shaft.
Sixteen/seventeens - 16/17 x 12 ft, 3 piece arch size in feet; others 14 x 10, 11 x 9, 10 x 8s, 2 piece.
Skinning - Setting smaller arches inside usually distorted larger arches to form a smooth gate way, assisting the ventilation and safety.
Skip - Large container for raising coal and dirt up a shaft.
Skull cap - Soft cap with clip for lamp used by colliers before helmets 1957.
Sky bolt - Large steel bolt with a circular handle supported in solid or rock roof to use to lift heavy tackle etc.
Slack - Very small pieces coal.
Slack bobby - Person employed to tour stalls to catch men using shovels to load out slack instead of using forks (screens) to load out larger pieces of coal.
Slant or slit - A gate driven at an angle to the main gate.
Sledge or sled - Ancient wooden device for hauling coal.
Sleeper - Usually made of wood for fastening rails to.
Sleeving - Setting smaller arches inside larger distorted arches similar to skinning above.
Slickensides - Very shiny slippy smooth-sided rock material which falls easily, very dangerous.
Sline - A longish piece of coal, from face coals generally needing to be broken down into smaller pieces to allow the coal to be loaded out into tubs or onto a conveyor.
Slinger - One of a team of men coupling chains etc to lower large items under a cage.
Slinging - The act of lowering large items down the shaft, not in a cage but under it.
Slip - A break in the strata, not necessarily displacing the seam, or maybe by only a few inches or centimeters.
Sloom - Soft dirt under a seam of coal.
Slusher - A mechanical device with a bucket and rope hauled by an engine for moving dirt.
Slusher Operator - Operating mechanical slusher for loading dirt or ripping; scouring drifting gobs or coal heading.
Small Leader - A lad employed to put small coals to a stowboard.
Smallman (Swan clip) - Clip for fastening tubs to a rope, pulling action. Long or small handle.
Smalls (small coal) - Pieces of coal, gravel size or smaller.
Smasher - Person employed in breaking up waste rock.
Smoke (1) - Shotfiring fumes.
Smoke (2) - Glass tube containing a chemical which when broken open produces a smoke-like haze to watch and check the direction of airflow where the air current is sluggish or undetectable by normal means.
Smoke (3) - Using tobacco in cigarettes, pipes or cigars, illegal to use underground or in certain surface areas.
Smoke (4) - The haze or smoke from an underground heating or open fire.
Snake - The act of pushing over the armoured face conveyor behind cutter, or cable.
Snaker - Man employed to operate the chocks to push the AFC over to the coal face after the machine has cut past. (cable handler).
Snap - Sandwiches etc. taken to eat part way through the shift. Usually carried in a special 'snap' tin.
Snap ticket - Arranged by an official so that sandwiches and a drink from the canteen is sent down the pit to men asked to do more than 2 hours overtime.
Snap time - 20 minutes meal break part way through a shift. Usually all machines and conveyors stopped. Sometimes that period used for maintenance or cleaning up.
Snap tin - Metal container, one end square, other end rounded, to contain food.
Snap/clip - A clamp used to connect tubs to endless haulage rope
Snicket - A small short gate between 2 others or at a face fast end to ventilate that area.
Snicket / Snicket Gate.- A short connection road.
Solid - Roadway driven in new ground, or roadway where the roof has tumbled in and blocked the roadway or face line .
Sough (Suff) - Ancient small roadway driven in or beneath a seam collecting water to allow working to the rise side to be carried out in relative dryness.
Sounding - Knocking the roof to see whether it is strong and safe to work under. See also jowl.
Spacer - Piece of metal of fixed length for rail gauge.
Spad, (spud out) - A metal spike used by surveyors for lining in gates and action of setting the spads.
Spall (ing) - Coal dropping off the coal face, piling up causing problems.
Spears - Pitch pine wood baulks to guide the cage in pit bottom or at pit top at loading level.
Spedding Flint Wheel - A flint and steel mill to illuminate places where candles could not be burned. The flint was so arranged as to catch the steel wheel that kept up a continual flight of sparks as long as the wheel was kept turned. It was strapped to the users shoulders, and usually operated by a boy
Sphenopteris - Fossil plant leaf.
Spill plate - Side plate on a panzer to stop coal spillage into walking / crawling track
Spillage - Coal or dirt that has fallen off a conveyor belt or tub.
Spin plate - A flat piece of steel app 4 ft sq to turn or spin tubs to go in a different direction.
Spine road - Major development roadway.
Spiral - Angle the picks are set at on drum to load coal, or part of vertical bunker.
Spires - Coal / dirt band in some coal seams.
Splice - Joining of an endless rope or join a conveyor belt.
Splicer - One who can join steel ropes by intertwining – a rope man.
Splint - coarse grey coal, adapted for steam-engines
Splinter coal - Cannel coal.
Split (2) - Where the coal seam has a band of dirt in it that gradually increases in thickness.
Split or split bar (1) - Wooden prop split in two, used as a beam with props under
Split shift - Where men work on certain jobs at starting and finishing times between normal working times as laid down.
Spoil - Waste material, Slag heap or dirt tip.
Spot or spotter - A gaffer’s or Surveyor’s lamp with a bright spotlight able to shine a bright light for quite a distance.
Sprag - A wooden or steel device for holding up coals to prevent falling.
Springboard - A spragged wooden plank to slow down tubs by rubbing on moving tub axles.
Sprocket - The toothed drive wheel of a face panzer.
Spud or spad - Can refer to a Surveyor’s mark underground (as above).
Square (1) - To complete the square i.e. to extract the coal face a distance as far as the width. of the coal face, sometimes giving extreme weighting conditions.
Square (2) - Face line to be at right angles with the gate.
Squeezers - A device usually in pit bottom to arrest tubs and release them in ones or twos etc.
Squib - An old type of fuse for an explosive. In the past made up by the collier himself.
Stable hole - Excavation usually at gate end of coal face to enable a cutting machine to be turned or moved over for cutting in the opposite direction, or partway along a face line excavated temporarily for machine maintenance.
Stage loader - A short chain conveyor which transfers the coal from the panzer (AFC) to the conveyor belt.
Staith - Place where coal is loaded at the river side often by a spout or by a machine for lowering the waggons.
Staker (1) - A large piece of coal or rock getting fast whilst travelling on a conveyor belt.
Staker (2) - Length of rail used on a coal face jammed between roof and floor acting as an anchor for an AB 15 or other coal cutter haulage rope
Stall (1) - A portion of the coalface run by a Butty.
Stall (2) - Extraction in pillar and stall work.
Stall (3) - Pony compartment in the stables.
Stall (4) - The act of a conveyor for example stopping under extreme or over-loading.
Stallage boards - A platform suspended in front of rip to support men when drilling shot holes and setting arches.
Stallman - Sub-contractor in charge of a "stall" or working place.
Stand pipe - End of a methane drainage borehole where gas is drained from the strata.
Stanger - A large wooden stake some 2m long used by a man to arrest moving tubs by jabbing the large taper shaped end under the front tub wheels.
Staple pit - A shaft underground down the pit, from one horizon to another.
Staple shaft - An underground shaft connecting 2 or more levels of mine but not reaching surface
Star Clip - A device used to attach tubs or trams to an endless haulage system by hammering it closed/open.
Staul - Old spelling, for where coal was mined in blocks.
Stave - A surveyor’s levelling staff.
Steam (1) - Coal seam quality used for raising steam in boilers.
Steam (2) - Pressure built up in a winding engine.
Steel checker - Man employed to check number of props and bars on a coal face.
Steel Supports Straightener - Straightening steel props and bars with straightening machine at the face.
Stemming - Material such as clay for ramming into shot hole to prevent explosive blowing out.
Stemming - Used to plug a drill hole after charges had been set, plugs of moulded sand- "Coreplugs"- were used, clay was also used.
Step faulting - Series of faults all jumping up or dropping down the same way.
Steward - Old name for person in charge underground.
Stick - Stick carried by Management and Deputies used as a measure to check prop spacing etc.
Sticky backs - Coal on the face at the back of the cut that is difficult to chop down.
Stigmaria - Fossilised rootlets found at the base of some coal seams.
Stinkdamp - Sulphuretted hydrogen gas, with smell of rotten eggs, sense of smell destroyed and 0.1% is lethal after a few seconds.
Stint - Length of a collier’s work on a coal face, (Darg in Scotland).
Stock - Amount of full tubs in pit bottom or heap of coal on surface.
Stonedust - Crushed limestone (calcium carbonate). The ignition of naturally occurring methane gas is serious enough, but if this propagated a coal dust explosion then the consequences could be devastating throughout the mine. To help reduce the risk of this happening stone dust was introduced, the idea being that it would provide a concentration of suspended dust particles in the path of the flame of an explosion, it was hoped that this would reduce temperatures and arrest an explosion. Stone dusting became compulsory on the 1st January 1921.
Stonedust barriers - (see stonedust above)....a number of loose boards erected on platforms supported across a roadway above head height. Loose stonedust was piled on top of the boards. A specific number of shelves containing stonedust were erected in the main gate of the panel. Certain distances were laid down. A light barrier was to be maintained within say 130m of the coal face and a heavy barrier containing more shelves say up to 250m from the face. A new system using hanging bags of water (nicknamed bats) from supports has replaced some of the barriers. Should an explosion arise the idea was that the shock wave would knock the barriers down upset the shelves and the stonedust would blanket the roadway thereby cutting off flames from the explosion.
Stone Dusting - Operation of spreading stone dust.
Stone man - Worker who deals with stone or rock, ( not coal). Usually referring to a man regularly doing development work in stone drivages.
Stone duster - Man employed to spread stone dust along and all over a gate road.
Stopping - A brick or breeze block or plaster wall which seals off old roadways and redirects the ventilation air flow.
Stowing - Loading debris in a gate by hand or mechanical means.
Strand - A chain fixed to flight on a panzer or armoured face conveyor (AFC).
Strap - Bar laced at right angles over other bars.
Strike (1) - Where workmen withdraw their labour.
Strike (2) - The line of the coal that is level.
Striker (1) - One who withdraws his labour and refuses to work.
Striker (2) - A blacksmith’s helper.
Striker (3) - A relighting device for an oil or flame lamp.
Strip (1) - Make ready for work by removing some working clothes or get undressed to bathe.
Strip (2) - One pass or cut along the coalface by a coal cutter, or one push over of the AFC.
Strip (3) - Extract all the coal along an old face goaf extraction with a new coal face end.
Strip mining - Refers to opencast mining.
Strut - A piece of solid wood or length of steel of predetermined length between arches to equalize the spacing.
Stuffing box - Device enclosing a drill rod at a borehole face to prevent inrush of water or gas when boring into an area containing same.
Subsidence - The sinking, or collapse, of the rock and soil layers due to the extraction of a coal. Surface features and buildings may be affected.
Sulphur - Found in coal and when mixed with water forms sulphuric acid.
Sump - The bottom of a shaft, or any other place in a mine, that is used as a collecting point for drainage water.
Sump boards - A wooden cover over the sump at the bottom running on / off level in the pit bottom to prevent anyone or anything dropping down to the bottom of the shaft.
Sump hole - Hole where water is collected ready for pumping.
Sumper (1) - Can be a shot fired in a sinking shaft.
Sumper (2) - A cutting machine on a coalface
Supervising Workman - Workman appointed under the National Coal Board Scheme of Training for Coalface Work to supervise and instruct one trainee at the face.
Supplies - Anything, such as rings, timber, stone dust, lagging boards, chock wood, props, etc. needed to enable the coal face or heading to advance.
Supply and Wood Boys – this was a boy’s first job underground, transporting materials to different parts of the pit. Using a mono rail or a rope haulage system they supported the continued advance of the coalface and the roadways.
Supply gate - The majority of the face supplies are transported via this roadway. Also known as the return or tail gate.
Supports Checker - Checking supplies of supports to face; checking supplies and recovery of supports; checking bars and coal props on a face to avoid loss.
Supports Recovery Checker - Checking and directing the recovery of supports.
Swally - A depression in the roadway. In a wet roadway water collects here, known as swilley in some pits
Swan neck (1) - Conveyor / rollers in a swilley.
Swan neck (2) - An extension welded at right angles on an arch crown usually supported by a girder.
Sweating - Condensation formed around the site of a heating.
Sweetdamp - Another name for carbon monoxide gas.
Sweetener - Good quality coal from another source mixed with other coal to improve the grade.
Swilley - Steep sided dip or basin shape affecting a seam or roadway.
Swipe card - Replaced motty system for time keeping and underground location.
Switch (1) - An electrical voltage regulator/supply or a normal on/off power switch.
Switch (2) - Rail junction or points.
Switch Keeper - person who attends the switches or passing places on the underground railways.
Switch, Valve, Pump and Telephone Operator - Employed in connection with power loading in all the following activities; operating set of switches for face conveyors, loaders and other underground machinery; controlling water pressure valves; topping-up hydraulic fluid in booster pumps, as necessary; receiving, transmitting and taking action on the telephone or Tannoy system messages; communicating with both surface and power loading teams.
Switches - A bank of electrical panels.
Sylvester or Nanny - A safety device with ratchet and chain for pulling out props safely or pulling a heavy load.
Syncline - Steep valley underground, as opposed to anticline being a hill.
Tadger - A large electric drill used for drilling shotholes and holes for roof bolts etc.
Tail gate - Supply road or ventilation road. Top gate or bottom gate where coal is on a dip. The return airway down which the supplies were brought in. Also known as the return or the supply gate.
Taj - A pick blade with a sharp point at one end for cutting into the coal face and a small axe head at the other end for chopping wood.
Take - The area contained within the boundaries or limits of a mine.
Taker off - Person who unhooked waggons at self-acting inclines.
Tandem or Transfer Point - where one conveyor loads onto another.
Tank engine - Coal fired steam shunting engine on surface
Tannoy - Communication system throughout the pit.
Tea bottle - Metal bottle for cold tea drink, later termed dudley for water.
Tell tale - A system whereby any roof movement can be detected by inserting a device consisting of coloured tubes with markers fastened to wires into a borehole drilled upwards into the overlying strata in the roof of a gate or roadway.
Tentale - the tennage rent upon coals drawn
Tenter - This term appears mainly in the north of England or in Scotland. In this context a Tenter is someone who is in charge of machinery, usually in a factory. The word is closely related to the word "tend" so he is someone who "tends, or looks after" the engine.
Terrier - Inventory of possessions...landed property or church inventory.
Testing flame - A lowered flame on an oil lamp that can detect any methane gas in the airstream.
Theodolite - Accurate surveying instrument used for underground and surface surveys.
Thill - the floor of the mine.
Thirl or thurl - A joining of roadways, usually from opposite directions, hole thro'(old name thyrel).
Thirty lb (30lbders) - Rails at 30 lb weight per foot; (50 lb etc, - 120lb being Railtrack).
Thurlings (thirlings) - Passages for ventilation or haulage, conveyors etc.
Thurst - see Goaf
Tiger - Conveyor motor size.
Tilting deck - A sliding mechanism on the cage to allow large or long material to be loaded on a cage at a steep angle. Alternative to slinging long girders etc beneath the cage.
Timber - Any face or roof support generally – to timber up. However notably wood.
Timber Cutter - Preparing timber for cog making; cutting props the length required on conveyor face.
Timber Dragger - Man / boy employed to drag materials to the face up a bad gate where it is too low for trams or tubs to pass or a gate with no rails laid.
Timber drawer - Person whose work is to remove timber props.
Timber Gate - Roadway where the supplies are taken to the coal face (Supply gate).
Timberer - Setting or changing supports on face; timbering in front of or behind coal cutter.
Tin - Container for wages, collected by Butty, and then shared out among team
Tins - corrugated iron sheets used for lining/covering roadway behind arches to protect roadway side.
Tip - Waste material piled up on the surface. Since the Aberfan disaster in the 1960s all tips now have to have the dirt spread and laid down in thin layers and compacted by machine for stability.
Tirfor - Hand operated device for pulling or dragging equipment using a steel rope.
Titan - Huge ripping machine up to 70 tonnes, for driving tunnels, 1m diameter cutting head.
Token hanger - a boy of from 9 to 12 years old, who was paid 1s. or 1s. 2d per day for arranging the tokens attached to each corf to inform the hewer of its contents.
Tokens or Motties - Small brass disks, with identification numbers relating to a workman.
Tommy - Provisions given to a workman instead of money.
Tommy shop - Set up by colliery owners to sell goods (usually substandard) to workmen.
Top Coal - A few inches of coal left to form a good roof, poor roof above.
Top deck - The upper deck on a cage for men, materials or coal.
Top loader - Conveyor with coal loaded on top belt.
Tops - Top part of a coal seam or some coal left up to create a good roof.
Topside - The rise side of a coalface, as opposed to the dip side.
Tracker - Preparing tracks for coal cutting machine; preparing face for coal cutting operations; cleaning up the cutter tracks in front of coal cutter.
Trailing Cable - A heavily insulated electrical cable used to bring power to an electrically operated machine.
Trainee - New entrant to the industry undergoing a period of training or a man learning another job being taught by an experienced man.
Tram - A sort of flat tub or carriage, about 3 feet 10 inches long, on which the putters, who are thence sometimes called trams, put their coals.
Tram - Low-sided vehicle for transporting materials.
Trammer - Works as an assistant miner. They fill and haul the tubs, and bring materials to support and equip the mine workings
Tramming - Manoeuvring vehicles by hand.
Transfer Point - A point in the conveyor belt transportation system where coal or stone is transferred from one belt conveyor to another.
Trapper - A young boy who opened and closed air doors in 19th century.
Trappers - young boys employed to open and shut the doors, which kept the ventilation in the workings regular.
Tray - The metal base of a conveyor structure.
Trepanner - A split auger, or side wheel cutter loader for producing larger coals.
Trepan-shearer - Hybrid machine with an auger and a drum giving some large and small coals.
Trimmer (1) - a person who spreads the coals in the waggons or carriages in which the coals are conveyed along a railway from the top of the pit to the staith.
Trimmer (2) - Can be an extra shot to bring down 'a stubborn edge'.
Trolley - Electric overhead-wire loco (Gedling), or a vehicle for haulage.
Trouble - Fault or intrusion, bad work etc.
Trough fault - Where the seam drops down and after a while is thrown up again.
Truck - The setting up of Tommy shops requiring workmen to have to purchase their goods from them.
Truckle - Wheel or roller or bed on wheels.
Trunk belt - Main conveyor belt receiving coal from districts inbye leading to shaft area.
Trunk road - A main road in a mine.
Tub - A wooden or steel container with 4 wheels to hold coal or dirt, ¼, ½ to 1 ton +.
Tub thumper - Man who repairs tubs and other rolling stock in a surface shop.
Tubbing - Steel or cast iron lining for shafts in water-bearing strata.
Tubs - Small wagons used in the mine.
Tunnel (1) - Ripping tunnel at a lip to protect stage loader or conveyor and cables.
Tunnel (2) - Another name for an underground roadway or drift.
Tunnel (3) - To tunnel, that is to drive a tunnel or roadway.
Turn out - Rail points splitting off to left or right of main direction.
Turnpike - In the past a surface roadway where a fee had to be paid for passing along it.
Turret - A high placed horizontal cutting wheel on a trepanner in a thick seam.
Twilights - Evening shift, usually starting around 6pm and ending after midnight.
Twin strand - Double chain on an AFC' (or Twin midboard) hauling flights.
Two hundred 'hoss' - Large 200hp haulage engine for hauling tubs (e.g. Teversal / Butcherwood).
UDM - Union of Democratic Mineworkers, after 1984 following a major strike. A union set up by moderates in opposition to NUM (National Union of Mineworkers)
Undercast - Where one road goes under another road without a direct connection.
Underclay - The floor under a coal seam usually containing fosiliferous remains of roots.
Undercut - To cut below the coal face by a mining machine, a coal cutter, see pom pom.
Underground shift manager - New title for Colliery Overman after 2001.
Underlap - The rope on the winder that goes under the winding drum.
Underlooker - a man employed to supervise the underground workings of a mine. He was responsible directly to the manager or the owner.
Undermanager - A person having responsibilities defined by law. An undermanager is usually the person in charge of underground mining operations, often a coal seam and is next in authority to a manager or deputy manager.
Undermanager - Gaffer in charge of all underground operations.
Underviewer - Old name in 1800s (e.g. Sutton, Brierley Hill 1874) for such as above.
Union box - Refers to surface office used by Secretary / President of workers' union.
Unit - Panel or district number; or colliery unit in a NCB Area.
Upbore - To bore a hole upwards to prove coal seams or strata.
Upcast Shaft - Shaft through which air returns to the surface after ventilating the mine workings, for coal winding and returned air.
Upsink - To drive a shaft upwards from one level to another.
Upthrow - A fault where the seam jumps up forward in direction of advance.
Vend - Ratio of coal and dirt, also means sale of coal.
Ventilation - The supply of fresh air to all parts of the mine workings, and the removal of return air from the mine.
Ventilation or air bagging - referred to the method of ventilating a working place whereby the air was driven using a forcing fan through collapsible hessian or plastic tubing or if it was an exhausting fan using coiled or rigid uPVC or steel tubing.
Vessel - The oil container at the base of a flame lamp.
Vibration white finger - Causes fingers to go dead after constant use of boring machine or jigger pick.
Viewer - Old term - Person employed to oversee several mines (Surveyor or Agent). The manager of a colliery; one who has the charge of all underground, and generally of all surface, arrangements.
Waffler - A swan neck jib cutter developed from AB 15 coal cutter.
Waggonway corporal - Man in charge of waggonway under the deputy
Wailers - boys employed to pick out slate, pyrites, and other foul admixtures from the coal.
Wall - Could mean a coal face, or a pack.
Wallings - Coal face workings.
Wallower - A person using a hand winch to haul up a shaft or slope.
Wallowing - Before soughs, water collected in the well of a sump shaft and was removed in a primitive way with a device similar to an old mangle with a bucket and rope, a task known as " Wallowing"
Want - The area between the seam at both sides of a fault hade.
Warwick girder - Safety device in the form of a counterbalanced girder hinged to roof of roadway on incline, with lower end pointing uphill- intended to stop runaways. Also known as a Manker in Nottinghamshire
Washout - Where the coal has been washed away and replaced by stone.
Waste - The area behind the coal face where the coal has been extracted.
Waste tip - Area on the surface where all dirt and colliery discard is tipped.
Wasteman - Generally old men, who are employed in building pillars for the support of the roof in the waste, and in keeping the airways open and in good order. The shifter is his assistant.
Water Gauge - Instrument that measures differential pressures in inches of water.
Water Infusion Man - Responsible for apparatus and infusion of water at face.
Water Leader - boys who remove water from the horse-ways and other places and assist the deputies. In 1841 their wages varied from 1s. 3d. to 2s. a day.
Water money - Allowance paid for working in water.
Wax wall - Old term for clay pack to guard against spon com (spontaneous combustion), later sand packs for same.
Way - Underground rails.
Way Cleaner - who cleans the rails of the mine from time to time, removing obstructions of coal-dust, etc. using two pieces of rope or hay. These boys were usually aged 11 to 15 years and earned from ls. 3d. to 2s. 6d. a day in 1841.
Wayleave - Contract between parties to allow access and / or services to cross one's land
Wedge - Wooden wedges to loosen the coal instead of blasting.
Weetabix - Lightweight straw and cement blocks for building walls and stoppings.
Weighman - a person who weighs coal extracted from a mine, especially in mines where miners are paid according to the weight of the coal they dig.
Weight (or Weighting) - Extra downward force of the roof strata or sides underground.
Weight break (1) - A fracture of the strata showing a line of weakness.
Weight break (2) - The sudden lowering of the roof at the coal face with a frightening crashing sound.
Wet bulb - A thermometer kept wet by muslin dipped in a water vessel as opposed to dry bulb, The difference between the two temperatures denotes the humidity.
Wet drum - Cutting drum of shearer with inbuilt water sprays to suppress dust.
Wheel (1) - Winding wheel or sheave.
Wheel (2) - Return wheel of a rope haulage.
Wheel (3) - The cutting drum on shearer cutter loader.
Wheel hole - Excavation in the floor of a roadway to accommodate a rope return wheel pulley.
Wheelman - Responsible for boring holes in floor, moving forward wheels, inserting and adjusting bolts, and securing wheels in new position at each end of a plough face.
Whim gin - Early horse driven winding apparatus for raising coal out of a shaft.
Whin sill - A geological expression for an intrusion of hard volcanic lava that is difficult to work through and sometimes burns the coal away.
Whitedamp - Another name for Carbon monoxide gas / air mixture (CO).
Wildfire - An early name for ignited firedamp or methane gas below the explosive range.
Wimsey or whymsey - Small horse power winding engine (or whimsey) in first days of steam.
Winder (1) - Winding engine engine that raises or lowers the cages or skips in a shaft.
Winder (2) - Winding engine man operating the winder.
Winding (1) - Small snicket gate to ventilate a long fast end of a face (pronounced winn-ding).
Winding (2) - The act of hauling the cages or skips up and down the shaft.
Windroad boy - Boy who works in wind roads.
Windy pick - Hand held compressed air jigger pick.
Winning - The act of extracting the coal or colliery name e.g. 'A' Winning, Esh Winning.
Winsey or Winse - is a horizontal wheel round the diameter of which is a rope which went over a pulley and down the shaft. The wheel was driven by a horse and the purpose was to raise and lower men and materials down the shaft.
Winze or staple - Small underground shaft from one seam to another.
Wood Leader - who carry props to parts of the mine where they are needed.
Working - An area where the coal is being mined or extracted.
Working Plan - Plan made by the Surveyor showing all workings in the mine in a particular seam. A separate plan is required for each seam worked and also another overlay plan showing all firedamp (methane) drainage boreholes. All to be kept up to date within 3 months or 100m of the workings true position.
WPIS - Weekly Paid Industrial Staff workman, Supervisor or Chargeman.
Wrap round - A measured spacer or strut set between arch supports in gate, knocked round arch with hammer to secure same in position.
Wrought - The amount or area of coal worked.
Yard - Pit top and surrounds (as well as the name for a coal seam).
Yards - Measurement of coal face to calculate payments.
Yield (1) - Amount a prop / chock lowers.
Yield (2) - Amount of coal got out of the coal seam or from one cut of the coal face.
Z system - A method of working a coal face, loader gate on retreat, air gate on advance.
Zebedee - A large coiled electrical cable (nickname from TV cartoon Magic Roundabout).