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

047.—Other Workers Below Ground

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Note: The occupational terms marked with an asterisk * are also applied to workers doing similar work on the surface for other workers above ground. see (049).

*assistant pitman, assistant shaftman, assistant shaftsman
see shaft hand.
back lighter, back lichter ; light carrier
waits by and carries forward back light to place where compass or dial is erected as soon as dialler has got back-sight to it during underground surveys.
band walloper
drills band of stone inter- stratified in coal face, by hand or with machine drill; when blasted down by fireman, removes stone with pick and shovel, loads into tubs and pushes away to stowing place in goaf.
battery boy, battery carrier ; shot firer's boy, shotlighter's assistant
carries electric battery and cable for shot-firing.
belt boy, belt lad
as for belt boy (049), picking dirt from coal on conveyors underground.
*belt lowerer ; jib lowerer
stands at outer or "jib" end of conveyor and/or picking belt, to raise or lower belt as truck becomes full.
belt tenter
is responsible for good condition of belting used for driving mine machinery; renews lacing and rivets when necessary.
see fireman (shot lighter).
blow georger (slang term)
see fan boy.
bobby lad
see counter.
makes bore-holes for discovering quality, inclination and thickness of strata where outcrop of coal or shale cannot be detected but other indications point to its presence; boring is done by percussive action by means of chisel, or by rotary movement such as diamond drilling.
borer (for shot firing)
see driller.
see crutter.
brattice man, bratticer ; clothman, doorman
erects canvas or wooden brattice. i.e., partition in heading, shaft, or gallery used for ventilation, to direct current of air close to working face; outs wooden battens to size, nails together to make framework, nails on brattice cloth; where air pipes are used extends them as working advances; is under direction of fireman, who in, Durham himself does this work.
*cabin minder ; hut keeper
has charge of cabin down mine or at pit head, and custody of tools, clothes, tokens, etc., kept therein.
a lampman (q.v.) who attends to lamps attached to miners' caps; used only in a non-fiery mine.
see tool carrier.
cements walls of shafts, etc., either by spreading by hand with trowel or by means of grouting machine, to prevent percolation of water.
chain man, chain bearer, chain carrier, chainer ; surveyor's assistant
carries measuring chain and level for mine surveyor; cf. chain man (970).
chalks number of stall from which coal is obtained ou tub or corf.
*changer and grather
a pump fettler (q.v.) who keeps buckets and clacks (or valves) of old bucket type of pumping engine in order; changes buckets when necessary; obsolescent.
*checkman, checker, check taker
receives and distributes checks or tokens of underground workers, to keep record of their attendances.
chock drawer ; prop drawer, prop puller-off, timber drawer
withdraws "chocks" (timber supports) set to support roof and no longer required as working coal face advances, usually by means of Sylvester, a chain fitted to rack and lever; may also withdraw chocks which have been broken; usually done by cogman (q.v.).
chocker, chockler, chock-loader, chockman
see cogman.
chock leader
see timber leader.
choppie leader
see timber leader.
see brattice man.
coal miner (stone work)
see crutter.
cog cutter
cuts timber with hand saw and hatchet to required size for cogs or chocks to support roof in coal mines.
cogger, cogman ; chocker, chockler, chock-loader, chockman, pillar man
builds up pillars or cogs or chocks (oblong blocks of hard wood) and stone to support roof in long wall working; in some districts done by hewer or collier (042) (q.v.); sometimes acts as chock drawer (q.v.).
companyman, company's man
is paid day wages directly by owner; usually a hewer (042) (q.v.) engaged in deficient places to get them in good order for miners.
compass boy
carries compass or dial for surveyor (040) (q.v.).
contractor's labourer
is employed and paid by a contractor (041) or contractor hewer (012) (q.v.) to do general labouring work.
contractor's man
is employed and paid by a contractor (041) (q.v.) usually at time-rate of wages; may be hewer (042) or stoneman (q.v.).
corf greaser, corve greaser ; hutch greaser, tram greaser, tub greaser
greases or oils wheel axles of tubs or trams.
corf marker, corve marker
chalks on the full trams (or tubs) of coal the tally number of the miner who has cut the coal they contain; may be done by hewer himself or by filler; cf. chalkor.
counter ; bobby lad
counts journeys on mechanical haulage road.
cross-measure drifter
see crutter.
crow picker
inspects shale in mine before it is loaded, to see that only clean shale is loaded.
crutter ; brancher, coal miner (stone work), collier drift man, cross-measure drifter, drifter, driftman, hard ground man, hard heading man, mine driver, rock, blower, rock header, rock man, stone cutter, stone drifter, stone driftman, stonehead driver, stone header, stone miner, tunneller
drills and prepares charge to blast away dirt or stone and hard rock to form tunnel for wagons from one seam to another, or through fault to continuation of same seam; removes blasted rock with pick, bar and shovel and loads into tubs.
cupola attendant, cupola man
feeds, with coal, cupola or furnace used for ventilation in certain old collieries, and attends to cupola generally; obsolescent.
dataller, dateller, datler, datal worker
see day labourer.
day labourer, day hand, day man, day wage hand, day wage man ; dataller, datal worker, dateller, datler, dilker (Lancs.), odd worker, off hand man, wage man
general terms for men or boys employed above or below ground and paid by the day; may be employed and paid by the owners direct, or by a contractor (041) (q.v.); those below ground are mostly employed in constructional and repair work, timbering, roofing, laying roadways, clearing away debris, etc.
dilker (Lancashire)
see day labourer.
dirgler, dirtler
a labourer (q.v.) engaged in clearing dirt and rubbish from mine; clears away with pick and shovels into tub.
door attendant, door boy, door keeper, door tenter ; trapper, trapper boy
opens and closes doors erected to direct ventilating current as tubs pass on haulage road.
door hanger
see door setter.
door man
see brattice man.
door setter ; door hanger
erects doors for purposes of ventilation in underground roadways; saws up and fits wooden parts of door and frame; nails on canvas or brattice cloth; fixes frame in road or tunnel with or without mason work; sometimes done by brattice man (q.v.).
digs trenches to receive drain pipes or tiles for purpose of draining water away, lays tiles or pipes and fills in trench.
drifter, driftman, collier driftman, stone driftman
see crutter.
drill charger
drills by hand or machine hole for blasting, and inserts charge; sometimes in stone work or tunnelling, sometimes in getting coal.
borer (for shot firing), hole borer, shot borer, stone borer; drills hole in which explosive is to be placed for blasting down undercut coal, stone, etc.
*electric signalman
is in charge of electric signal arrangements and keeps appliances in order.
*engine sander
puts sand on rails to allow engine to grip when rails are slippery.
*fan boy, fan man, fan minder, fan turner ; blow georger
turns handle of small ventilating fan to ventilate heading not served by main air current.
fat boy, fat lad, fatter
see greaser.
fettler, colliery fettler, horse fettler
see horsekeeper.
firedamp man
assists deputy (041) (q.v.) where risk of firedamp is great, making tests with safety lamp; work otherwise performed by deputy.
fireman (shot lighter), fireman (blasting) ; blaster, shot firer, shot lighter, shotsman
fires shots in mine (after it has been examined for gas and found safe) where coal or stone is to be brought down by blasting; sets electric or time fuse; ef . deputy (041).
fireman's boy, fireman's night boy ; night boy, powder bog, powder man
carries explosives and accompanies fireman (shot lighter) when shot firing.
a coal cutting machine man (042) (q.v.) who on night shift moves coal cutting machine from one coal face to another.
sets frames for doors with or without mason work, in readiness for door setter (q.v.); work usually done by door setter.
furnace man ; stoker, underground stoker
attends ventilating furnace placed near bottom of upcast shaft, to maintain draught of upcast shaft; obsolescent .
ganten cutter
see leveller.
is responsible for gear or tools used above and below ground; keeps record of tools given out and received in store; in some districts sharpens tools.
see pump doctor.
*greaser ; fat boy, fat lad, fatter, oiler
greases axles of wheels of tubs, etc., or rollers or sheaves of haulage apparatus; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. rope greaser, sheave greaser, tub greaser.
*groom, colliery groom
see horsekeeper.
hard ground man
see crutter.
hardground miner
a hewer (042) (q.v.) working in hard strata underneath coal which has to be holed or kirved.
hard heading man
see crutter.
hint lad
gives warning of approach of haulage tubs.
hole borer
see driller.
*horse breaker
see horse trainer.
*horsekeeper ; colliery fettler, colliery groom, colliery ostler, fettler, groom, horse- fettler, ostler, pit horsekeeper
attends to feeding and grooming of horses and ponies above or below ground; sees that harness is in good condition and fits properly; makes report on horses and ponies required by Coal Mines Act.
*horse trainer, colliery horse trainer ; horse breaker
trains horses and pit ponies for their work in the collieries, drawing empty and full tubs.
hutch greaser
see corf greaser.
*hut keeper
see cabin minder.
jib lowerer
see belt lowerer.
jink carrier
a lad who carries loose couplings or jinks from where they are taken off journey to where they are required for another journey or sett of tubs.
conveys dirt or rubbish from face or backbye by means of small hand-drawn kibble or cart on runners.
*labourer, coal labourer, coal miners' labourer, colliery labourer, pit labourer, underground labourer
does unskilled work in or about mine, packing goaf, cleaning roadways, helping roadmen, etc.; sometimes specifically designated, e.g., hewer's labourer, stoneman's labourer, etc.
*lamp boy
(i) see lamproom boy;
(ii) see lamp carrier.
lamp carrier ; lamp boy, light carrier
carries safety lamps from workings to lamproom to be re-lighted.
*lamp cleaner ; lamproom man
cleans miners' safety lamps in lamproom.
lamp examiner
examines miners' safety lamps and is responsible for their being in order when handed out to miners; generally done above ground; sometimes done periodically by deputy (011) (q.v.).
*lamp keeper, safety lamp keeper, lamp locker, lampman
is in charge of lamproom; inspects, trims, lights and locks and makes ready miners' safety lamps; supervises lamproom men and lads; keeps record of lamps in and out of lamproom.
*lamp lighter ; relighter
is authorised to relight safety lamps at appointed stations underground or on surface; usually done by lampman (q.v.).
lamp oiler
see lamproom boy.
*lamproom boy, lamproom lad ; lamp boy, lamp oiler
helps head lampman in lamproom, cleans safety lamps and fills them with oil, cleans gauzes, etc.
*lamproom man
see lamp cleaner.
leveller ; ganten cutter
cuts with pick and bar drains in bottom stone of underground roads to convey water; removes rubbish with shovel to tub.
light carrier
(i) see lamp carrier;
(ii) see back lighter.
Cumberland term, see pickman.
machine driller
a driller (q.v.) operating machine drill.
metal driller
a driller (q.v.) who bores holes for shot firing in metal (stone).
mine driver
see crutter.
miner's carrier
see tool carrier.
night boy
see fireman's boy.
odd worker, off hand man
see day labourer.
see greaser ; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. pulley oiler, sheave oiler.
*ostler, colliery ostler
see horsekeeper.
*pick carrier ; pike carrier
carries picks to and from pick sharpener's shop.
pickman ; lockshopman (Cumberland)
distributes picks to coal hewers underground.
*pick sorter
sorts blunt from sharp picks and other tools at pit bottom and distributes them to colliers; or places them in numbered holes ready for colliers.
*pike carrier
see pick carrier.
pillar man
see cogman.
pipe layer, pipeman
lays and repairs pipes for steam, compressed air or water.
*pit boy
general term for any boy working in or about colliery, usually underground. e.g., as putter (043), haulage lad (043), lamp boy (q.v.).
*pit horsekeeper
see horsekeeper.
(i) examines and repairs colliery shafts, see shaftman;
(ii) is an experienced underground worker who can undertake all kinds of pit work;
(iii) general term for anyone working underground.
obsolescent, see pumpman.
powder boy, powder man
see fireman's boy.
prop drawer, prop puller-off
see chock drawer.
pump doctor, pump fettler ; grather
makes periodical examination of pumps and renews packing in glands.
pump boy, pump man, pump minder, pumper ; plugman (obsolescent)
works hand pump, or is in charge of machine pump; for duties, cf. pumpman (950).
a stoneman (q.v.) who takes down "ramble," i.e., stone of little coherency.
see lamp lighter.
rescue man
a member of colliery rescue team, called upon in cases of fire, explosions, etc., in mine to go underground in an attempt to rescue workers; is trained in first-aid, to work under handicap of gas-mask, to remove obstructions with various tools, etc.
road waterer ; waterer, waterman
waters roads in mine from india rubber hose connected to stand pipes, to keep down dust.
rock blower, rock header, rock man
see crutter.
rock miner, rock ripper
a miner (042) (q.v.) who gets rock instead of coal; cf. brasher (004).
roller cleaner
see sheaveman.
examines ropes used for hauling purposes, winding engine ropes, etc., and reports on same daily; also caps and re-caps ropes in use.
shaft hand ; assistant pitman, assistant shaftman, assistant shaftsman
assists shaftsman (q.v.) in keeping shaft in repair.
*shaftman, shaftsman, shaft lad, shaft repairer ; pitman, shanker, shanksman
keeps shaft in repair, carrying out minor repairs to wooden guides, bearings, drainage pipes, etc., sometimes also acts as shaft examiner (041) (q.v.).
*shaker worker
controls by levers, shaker, i.e. , conveyor which is shaken to and fro by means of eccentrics causing coal to be roughly sifted as it is carried along to loading place; may also assist to tip wagons of coal into cage which feeds shaker.
shanker, shanksman
see shaftman.
*sheaveman ; roller cleaner
greases and repairs iron or wooden sheaves or rollers, over or under which ropes are worked, both underground and on surface.
shot borer
see driller.
shot firer
see fireman (shot lighter).
shot firer's boy
see battery boy.
shot lighter
see fireman (shot lighter).
shot lighter's assistant
see battery boy.
see fireman (shot lighter).
cleans stables of pit ponies, and sometimes assists in grooming.
stemming carrier
carries tools for "stemming" or tamping shot-hole after explosive has been placed in it (this is done with clay or soft shale, a "stemmer" or beater being used).
stoker (furnace), underground stoker
see furnace man ; cf. stoker (951).
stone blaster, stone blower
inserts charge in hole bored by driller (q.v.); tamps it up ready to be fired by fireman (q.v.) and clears away rock brought down by explosion; work often done by brasher (044) or cutter (q.v.).
stone borer
see driller.
stone cutter, stone drifter, stone-head driver, stone header
see crutter.
general term for men working in stone as distinguished from coal, including brusher (044), crutter (q.v.).
stone miner
see crutter.
stopping builder
stops up old roadways to maintain ventilation in now workings, using bricks, stone and cement; as for bricklayer (565) and mason (572).
a stower (q.v.) who fills up old roadways with stone and rubbish.
stower, stone stower
stows stone blasted down, or left by falls of rock, in places appointed for purpose.
puts up straps of wood or steel in support of roof in machine cut coal face.
surveyor's assistant
see chain man.
syphon minder, syphon tenter
attends syphon by which water is drawn over a hill from higher to lower level; watches to ensure constant flow; opens and closes valve of compressed air main as may be necessary; work often done by pump man (q.v.).
(i) is in charge of water tanks in mine;
(ii) an onsetter (043) (q.v.) who onsets at shaft bottom tanks of water taken from sump holes, etc.
timber drawer
see chock drawer.
timber leader, timber taker ; chock leader, choppie leader, wood leader
conveys props planks, brattice and crown trees to various working places.
tool carrier ; carrier, miner's carrier
carries picks and other tools.
tram greaser
see corf greaser.
trapper, trapper boy
see door attendant.
tub greaser
see corf greaser.
see crutter.
wage man
see day labourer.
waiter, waiter-on
gives and receives signals in shaft bottom or other insets in shafts, where men only are wound, and at other shafts after coal drawing is completed; assists onsetter.
water baler
see water lader.
watercourse man
xamines and cleans out water courses or drains underground.
see road waterer.
water lader ; water baler
bales small quantities of water in working places into troughs or tubs for removal by water leader (q.v.).
water leader
takes away tubs of water baled out of working places by water baler or water lader (q.v.).
water man
see road waterer.
water piper
lays water pipes in mines; as for pipe fitter (251).
applies whitewash with a brush to wall of pit bottom, stables, pump rooms, refuge holes, etc.
wire rope splicer
splices and keeps in repair wire ropes used for hauling purposes in and about colliery; as for splicer (269).
wood leader
see timber leader.

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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.