A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 1.—In Coal and Shale Mines

041.—Subordinate Superintending Staff (including Inspectors, Contractors and Foremen)

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aerial ropeway foreman
in charge of aerial ropeways used for conveying dirt from pit bank or washery to dirt heap, or small coal to washery and thence to coke ovens, etc.; examines ropes periodically and reports to enginewright or engineer (040) (q.v.); sees that sheaves, pulleys, etc., are greased and in good order; supervises repairs; work done in some areas by enginewright.
air road inspector
master wasteman, wind road inspector; examines sides and roof of airways necessary for ventilation, and is responsible for their maintenance and repair; work usually done in Lancashire and S. Wales by fireman (q.v.).
ambulance superintendent
is responsible for efficiency of' ambulance appliances; sees that ambulance boxes are kept fully equipped; orders fresh supplies; gives first aid to any injured worker.
assistant deputy, assistant examiner, assistant fireman ; deputy fireman
assists deputy, examiner or fireman in his manual duties as distinguished from his statutory duties under Coal Mines Act, e.g. helps to lay rails and get tubs on rails, to set up timber and arrange brattice cloths and to fix doors and frames; examines coal got to see that it is free from dirt and rubbish; may hold certificate to fire shots.
assistant keeker ; deputy keeker
assists keeker (q.v.) in some of his duties, e.g. inspecting coal on belts and screens, overseeing weighing, keeping time books.
assistant traffic manager
see traffic manager's assistant.
assistant under-manager, assistant under-viewer
assists under-manager (040) (q.v.) and acts in his absence; has charge of a definite area of mine and is responsible for safety, output; in some districts work is done by back overman or fore overman (q.v.).
back-bye deputy
makes daily examinations of workings in "back-bye," i.e., between shaft and working face but not at actual coal face, under direction of back overman (q.v.); does necessary timbering in small mines, otherwise directs timberers (044) (q.v.).
back overman, back shift overman ; middle shift overman
represents undermanager (040) (q.v.) and carries out supervisory duties during second shift; visits daily (as far as practicable) parts of mine not visited by fore overman (q.v.); confers with overman, master shifter and deputies (q.v.) on state of mine; makes daily report; is in control of firemen in his shift; in some districts work is done by assistant under-manager (q.v.).
(i) see overman;
(ii) in West Yorkshire is manager of small pit; cf. manager (040).
bank foreman, bank overman, bank superintendent ; heap inspector, pithead foreman, pithead inspector, pit top foreman, surface foreman, top boss
is in charge of workmen above ground working at heap- stead; in coal mines as distinct from shale and other mines, is also in charge of men at screens and is responsible for proper cleaning and screening of coal, where there is no screen foreman or keeker (q.v.).
bargain man, bargain taker (not a hewer)
see contractor.
beagle driver (Durham)
see haulage foreman.
belt inspector
see screen foreman.
boiler inspector
makes statutory inspection of steam boilers and reports on their condition; tests for pressure, examines flues, valves, glands and makes daily report in prescribed form to manager (040) (q.v.); . work usually done by enginewright (q.v.).
brow major ; head banksman
in charge of loading and unloading cages at surface : gives signals for winding operations.
bumber (slang)
see haulage foreman.
butty, buttyman (not a hewer)
see contractor.
chain inspector
inspects chains in use in and about mine, especially those used in endless chain haulage- system; reports defects to enginewright for repair by blacksmith; usually done by blacksmith (190) (q.v.).
in Northumberland and Durham a deputy (q.v.) on repairing or night shift, in charge of stonemen (047), repairers, shifters (044) and datallers (047) generally; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night chargeman.
charter master
see contractor.
coal inspector
(i) inspects coal at pit bank after it has been screened and before it is passed for sale;
(ii) cotcher (S. Yorks), cropper; examines tubs of coal sent up by collier (042) (q.v.), and, if necessary, screens coal at special screen; determines, in collaboration with weigher and check- weigher (048) (q.v.), whether forfeit shall be paid or not by collier for dirty coal.
coal wharf manager
in full charge of coal wharf from which coal is shipped in barges, etc.; supervises one or more clerks, keeping records of coal received and shipped; cf. landsale manager (770).
colliery estate agent
see house inspector.
contractor (not a hewer), colliery contractor ; bargain man, bargain taker, butty, butty man, charter master
(i) contracts for getting of coal in specified section at agreed rate per ton; employs and pays his own workers (hewers, etc.); carries out all necessary timbering and repair of stall; stows and packs stone; responsible for safety of his workers;
(ii) contracts to keep in repair certain lengths of underground roads;
(iii) contracts to clear coal at machine cut face at fixed price per ton; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. coal mining contractor, shale mining contractor.
contractor on make-up system
a contractor (q.v.), who contracts at a price, on the understanding that the colliery will guarantee the minimum rate of wage to his workers.
in Midlands, superintends haulage workers underground and controls pony drivers; as for haulage foreman.
cotcher (S. Yorks )
see coal inspector.
see coal inspector.
day deputy, day examiner, day fireman, day shift fireman, day shift inspector
a deputy examiner or fireman (q.v.) on day shift.
deputy ; deputy overall (Durham), examiner, inspector (Scotland)
is in charge of district or section of seam; is responsible for ventilation; makes reports as to gas, state of roof and sides and general safety; takes temperature and barometer readings; in some cases also sets timber, layB rails, fixes brattices, and, if holding fireman's certificate, fires shot for men; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night deputy.
deputy fireman
see assistant deputy.
deputy keeker
see assistant keeker.
deputy overall (Durham )
see deputy.
deputy overman
a deputy (q.v.) who is responsible directly to the under-manager (040) and not to the overman (q.v.).
doggy, road doggy
(i) see haulage foreman;
(ii) slang name for various minor officials or foremen.
drainage inspector
see mine drainage inspector.
engine road corporal
a corporal (q.v.) in charge of mechanical haulage on underground system.
enginewright ; machinery inspector
has charge of whole or part of machinery on surface and below ground, according to size of colliery; examines and tests periodically boilers, chains, pumps, winding machinery, ropeways, engines, etc.; is assisted by foremen and inspectors, e.g., chain inspector, boiler inspector, aerial ropeway foreman, pump inspector (q.v.); reports to engineer (040) (q.v.).
see deputy ; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night examiner.
examiner of tubs
makes visual examination of tubs and corves; does minor repairs; sends other faulty tubs to repair shop; reports to enginewright (q.v.).
fang manager
see shaft examiner.
legal title of a deputy holding a certificate to fire shots as required by Coal Mines Act, 1911; the fireman, however, does not usually set timber, as is sometimes done by deputy; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night fireman.
fireman (stopping examiner)
examines fire stoppings, built to isolate fire in colliery workings.
foreman ; master
superintends work of set of workmen either above or below ground; sometimes specifically designated. e.g., foreman hewer.
foreman haulier
see haulage foreman.
foreman pitman
see shaft examiner.
foreman washer
see washing master.
fore overman
is in charge of workers on coal drawing " fore '' shift, i.e., morning shift; is subordinate to under-manager, but superior to firemen, examiners or deputies on same shift; responsible under management for safety of an area, which he visits daily; registers all time worked, yard work, etc., done by hewers (042), putters (043) and datal workers (047) (q.v.); in some districts, work is done by assistant under-manager (q.v.).
see overman ; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night shift gaffer.
haulage contractor
takes contract on tonnage basis for whole or part of haulage operations; engages and pays his own assistants.
haulage foreman, haulage overman
beagle driver (Durham), bumber (slang). doggy, road doggy (slang), foreman haulier, master haulier; in charge of haulage hands, e.g., drawers, pony drivers, putters 043); sees that loaded tubs are going to proper roads and that empty tubs are getting to proper districts; responsible for harness and sees that it is kept in good repair; cf. rolleywayman (043).
haulage rope inspector
inspects rope3 (wire or hemp) in haulage work and reports defects to engine-wright (q.v.).
head banksman
see brow major.
heap inspector
see bank foreman.
heap keeker
see screen foreman.
horse inspector
inspects horses and ponies used in and above mines and certifies them in proper condition for working; sometimes also does work of farrier or horse shoer (190) (q.v.).
house inspector
colliery estate agent.
(i) general term covering a number of subordinate officials or foremen under the manager or engine-wright, e.g., boiler inspector, heap inspector;
(ii) (Scotland) see deputy; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night inspector, inspector of colliery property, see house inspector.
inspector of colliery property
inspects miners' houses, where these belong to colliery owners, to see that they are kept in repair; work often done by foreman joiner or mason.
inspector of rescue station
is responsible for upkeep of rescue station and for efficiency of rescue brigade; orders supplies of necessaries (oxygen, bandages, etc.).
keeker (Durham and Northumberland)
see screen foreman.
keeper, keeper instructor (colliery rescue station)
see rescue station superintendent.
lamp inspector
conducts periodic examination of safety lamps and reports to management.
loading inspector
(i) supervises the tipping of coal at loading shoots on surf ace so as to prevent damage to coal; usually done by screen foreman or assistant keeker (Durham) (q.v.);
(ii) oversees loading of corves or tubs below ground to prevent loading of undue amount of impurities; often done by deputy, examiner or fireman (q.v.); cf. coal inspector.
machinery inspector
see engine-wright.
see foreman.
master haulier
see haulage foreman.
master shifter
in charge of repair and constructional work underground on the repairing or night shift, takes instructions from overman; responsible for getting pit into thorough working order for working shift next day; oversees timbering of roofs, etc., and general safety of pit; supervises gang of repairers, shifters 044) and stonemen (047).
master stoneman
in charge of stonemen (047) (q.v.); supervises work of drilling and boring, ripping of roofs for making height, driving roads through headings, etc., receives instructions from overman or manager (040) (q.v.).
master wasteman (Durham and Northumberland)
see air road inspector.
metal contractor
see stone contractor.
middle shift overman
see back overman.
mine drainage inspector (Staffs, term) ; drainage inspector
is responsible for proper working of pumps, syphons, pipe columns, lodgments, and adits in connection with mine drainage system; makes periodic examination, and carries out minor repairs; reports to enginewright (q.v.), who in other districts is responsible for this work.
night boss (slang), night chargeman
(i) an overman (q.v.) working on night shift;
(ii) in Northumberland and Durham carries out duties of deputy (q.v.) on repairing shift at night.
see overman.
overman ; bailiff, overlooker, gaffer, underlooker (Midlands and Lancashire)
supervises working of mine under direction of manager or under-manager (040) (q.v.); makes daily report in prescribed form.; is superior to deputy, examiner or fireman (q.v.) working on same shift; usually holds second class certificate under Coal Mines Act; for duties, see back overman, fore overman; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. night overman, night shift overman.
overman, sectional
an overman (q.v.) in charge of part of mine.
an umpire appointed in some coalfields to decide disputed points on which previously appointed arbitrators (an employer's and a workmen's representative) have failed to arrive at agreement.
pit foreman
general term, seldom used, to cover subordinate officials exercising general supervision of work done in pit. e.g., overman, deputy.
pithead foreman, pithead inspector, pit top foreman
see bank foreman.
pug hunter
see traffic man.
pump inspector
is responsible for efficiency of pumping apparatus; makes periodic examination of valves, glands, etc.; supervises pumpmen; executes minor repairs; reports to enginewright (q.v.).
rescue station superintendent, superintendent of rescue station ; keeper, keeper instructor (colliery rescue station)
has charge of central rescue station, and is responsible for training of men forming rescue brigades.
rope and chain inspector ; shackle inspector
combines duties of rope inspector and chain inspector (q.v.).
rope inspector ; wire rope superintendent
is responsible for good condition of ropes used in and about mine; makes periodic examination and carries out minor repairs, splicing, etc.; reports to enginewright (q.v.).
screen foreman, screen inspector, screen keeker, screen keeper ; belt inspector, heap keeker, keeker (Durham and Northumberland)
supervises work of workers on screens and belts at surface, sorting coal by size, screening dust and picking stone, dirt and other impurities; co-operates with bank foreman to maintain even supply of loaded tubs; responsible for screening machinery to enginewright (q.v.); if necessary carries out minor repairs; duties performed in some districts by bank foreman (q.v.).
shackle inspector
see rope and chain inspector.
shaft examiner ; fang manager, foreman pitman
goes down shafts daily on top of cage and examines, visually and by tapping, sides of shaft, shackles, guides, fangs, ropes, etc.; makes report in prescribed form to enginewright (q.v.); when repairs are necessary, carries out minor repairs or supervises work of pitmen or shaft repairers (047).
stone contractor, stone work contractor ; metal contractor
contracts to do work in stone, such as driving stone drifts or ripping roadways; engages and pays workers under him.
surface foreman
see bank foreman.
timber contractor, timberman contractor
undertakes to timber or retimber roadways and workings in mine or any part thereof by contract.
timber inspector
examines shoring timber and pit props to see that there are no flaws, previous to their being used in mine; measures up and checks quantities for recording purposes.
token inspector
examines putters' and hewers' tokens, i.e. ., pieces of metal, tin or leather having stamped on them some mark by which owner may be known, so that, for wages purposes, putters and hewers may be properly credited with amount of coal got.
top boss
see bank foreman.
traffic foreman
takes charge of and supervises delivery and despatch of wagons about a colliery; in charge of enginemen and shunters; directs shunting operations; sometimes also looks after pit prop timber and its transport.
traffic man ; pug hunter
(i) directs shunting operations in sidings and branch railways underground; controls distribution of journeys of empty trains to various working districts;
(ii) on surface has similar responsibilities.
traffic manager ; traffic superintendent
in extensive collieries, supervises work of traffic foremen (q.v.); makes all important decisions in arranging traffic on railways, canals; keeps a record, with clerical assistance, of all coal sent out of colliery; in smaller collieries , work usually done by traffic foreman under supervision of surface manager (040) (q.v.).
traffic manager's assistant ; assistant traffic manager
assists traffic manager (q.v.) in arranging railway traffic, shunting trucks and ensuring that trucks are properly labelled for their destination.
traffic superintendent
see traffic manager.
in Midlands and Lancashire, see overman.
viewer's apprentice
in course of being trained to become colliery manager; spends a period of time on each section of the work, learning in practical manner the technical, mechanical and safety work of a mine; duties are supervised by manager, under-manager, surveyor, deputy, overman, fireman, enginewright, etc.
wagon inspector
inspects wagons at surface and is responsible for their maintenance in good condition; may do minor repairs, referring major defects to wagon repair shop; work usually done by foreman smith (190) or foreman carpenter (471) (q.v.).
washing master, washery foreman ; foreman washer
supervises men engaged in coal washery; ensures supply of water and coal to washing machinery; supervises oiling and greasing; may carry out minor repairs.
weighing machine inspector
makes periodic inspections of weighing machines on which pit bank wagons are weighed on their journey to and from pit; maintains same in good order by making minor adjustments and repairs; usually represents weighing machine manufacturer who is under contract to maintain machines.
winding inspector
makes daily inspection of all winding machines and makes report on prescribed form to enginewright; usually a skilled fitter (210); duties usually performed by enginewright (q v.).
windroad inspector
see air road inspector.
wire rope superintendent
see rope inspector.
workmen's examiner, workmen's inspector
one of two practical working miners (not being mining engineers) who are appointed and paid by workmen to make periodical examinations of all shafts, roads, levels, workings, airways, ventilating apparatus, old workings, machinery, etc., in accordance with Section 16 (1, 2, 3) of Coal Mines Act, 1911.

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From: A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921,
Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016.   This text is in the Public Domain.