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

049.—Other Workers Above Ground

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Note: In addition to the occupational terms contained in this section see also those marked with an asterisk * in codes 043, 044 and 047.)

aerial flight attendant, aerial ropeway attendant ; flight attendant
works at filling end of aerial railway at which buckets are filled with coal or stone to be conveyed away from colliery; pulls empty buckets from, ropeway to rails round base of bunker, stops buckets at chute doors, opens chute by pulling lever and pushes buckets, filled with small coal or dirt, back to ropeway.
apparatus lad
labourer assisting engine man (950) (q.v.) in cleaning engine or apparatus, fetching oil, grease, etc.
ashman, ash wheeler ; cinder shifter
rakes ashes from furnace, and removes them to refuse heap; in Scotland, generally done by boiler fireman (951) (q.v.).
assistant banksman ; pusher-in, shover-in
assists banksman (q.v.) in drawing out and pushing into cages, the tubs' etc. brought to surface.
assistant dialler
see assistant surveyor.
assistant surveyor ; assistant dialler
helps surveyor (040)(q.v.) ia preparing plan of mine; frequently does work of draughtsman (932) (q.v.).
banker, banker-out
see banksman.
bank head lad, bank lad ; pit brow lad, pit head boy
general terms for youths working on surface of mine; includes dirt picker, endless rope boy (043), number caller, tally lad, etc. (q.v.).
bank labourer ; pit brow labourer, pit head labourer, surface labourer
general term for workers doing unskilled work at pit bank (coal or shale mine).
banksman ; banker, banker-out, browman, hillman, lander
draws full tubs of coal from cage at top of shaft, and replaces by empty ones; signals to winding engine- man (950) or onsetter (043) (q.v.) and regulates lowering and raising of workmen and coal.
see pit brow girl.
bat picker
see dirt picker.
belt boy, belt lad
see dirt picker.
belt hand
(i) see dirt picker;
(ii) carries out small repairs to belts under belt man (q.v.).
belt man
(i) see dirt picker;
(ii) attends to picking belts on which coal is conveyed from screens and cleaned of stone in transit, and is responsible for their smooth running under direction of screen foreman (041) (q.v.), who sometimes himself does this work.
billy boy, billy man
attends to working of a Billy Fairplay, a machine connected with screens, which registers weight of small coal to be deducted from gross weight sent to bank by each collier.
bog teemer
see dirt rook man.
boxman, nut coal boxman
watches and attends to proper working of, and supply of water to, boxes in which different sizes of coal are washed; cf. coal washer.
branchman, horse branchman
drives a horse, which pulls railway trucks along colliery sidings.
brass picker
a dirt picker (q.v.) at picking belts removing coal showing yellow pyrites impurities.
brow hand
general term for person i working at pit head, e.g., taking coal from cage to pit screens, or marshalling tubs at head of self-acting incline.
see banksman.
cabin man
dries and looks after pit sinkers' clothing in shelters at pit head.
cart loader
loads coal with shovel into carts for sale in neighbourhood of pit; may fill, weigh and carry coal in sacks to carts.
examines coals sent from screens, and removes splints, i.e. slaty coal, in readiness for sale as house coal.
catch boy
(i) changes points in haulage road;
(ii) attaches and detaches clip in main and tail haulage;
(iii) operates catches which hold tubs in cage.
chock loader
loads up chock timber into tubs to be sent into mine.
cinder shifter
see ashman.
see cleanser.
cleaner at breeze box ; cokeman (Glos.)
works at box or bunker where "breeze" (small cinder or coke produced from coal or coal dust) is collected after screening; sweeps up round box and with long rake keeps mechanical screen clear of obstructions; sometimes opens chute to release breeze from box or bunker into wagons.
cleanser ; clanser
cleans water courses and drains, using rake, shovel, etc.
click boy
see pin boy.
coal cleaner
see dirt picker.
coal manipulator
general term for any surface worker handling coal, e.g., screener, picker.
coal picker
(i) picks over spoil or rubbish heaps with pick to salve any good coal to be found;
(ii) a dirt picker (q.v.) who picks out pieces of good coal from produce of seam of variable quality as it passes along on picking table.
coal refiner
may be either coal screener, dirt picker, or coal washer (q.v.).
coal screener ; screeman (Scottish), screen attendant, screener, screen hand, screenman, screen trapper, veerer
watches that coal passes over screens and dust or small coal properly sifted through; may also pick dirt from conveying belt as coal passes to screens; of . dirt picker.
coal washer ; slack washer, washer, washery labourer, washeryman, washman
works at machine for washing coal in washery to remove impurities; sees that machinery is working properly and that water supply is maintained.
Gloucestershire term, see cleaner at breeze box.
see tally boy.
crusher boy, crusher man
attends to coal crushing machine where coal is crushed prior to coking or making into patent fuel; shovels coal into hopper, if not conveyor fed; controls machine by levers.
(Lancashire ) a labourer who loads dant or residue from colliery washery into trucks for removal.
dirt carrier
(i) carries dirt (stone or other refuse) from picking table floor and drops it into chutes through which it reaches conveyor belt;
(ii) attends to tipping of dirt on rubbish heap on surface. see dirt tip boy.
dirt couper
see dirt rook man.
dirt picker ; bat picker, belt boy, belt hand, belt, lad, belt man, coal cleaner, picker, screen bog, screen girl, screen woman, slade picker, stone picker, stone waiter
picks out dirt (stone or other impurity) from coal as it passes on picking belts.
dirt rook boy, dirt tip boy ; rubbish unloader
assists dirt tipman (q.v.); loads dirt (stone or other refuse) picked out of coal at picking tables into tip wagon, and tips it on surface waste heaps.
dirt rook man, dirt tip man ; bog teemer, dirt couper, redd tipper, rubbish tipper, rubbish unloader, spoil tipper, stone heap labourer, stone heaver, stone tipper
empties trams containing rubbish or refuse from below ground or from picking tables, on surface waste heaps.
dram filler
Gloucestershire term ; carts coal to landsale depot.
duff man
empties duff, i.e., fine tailings from screens or washery, out of wagons into bunkers at steam boilers.
flight attendant
see aerial flight attendant.
flueman, flue cleaner
cleans flues of boiler; scrapes them with long-handled iron scraper, brushes out with wire brushes and clears away rubbish with shovel and barrow.
gripe mender
keeps gripes in repair. i.e. forks used for loading coal or coke into wagons; usually done by blacksmith (190) (q.v.).
head lampman
is in charge of lamproom on surface; inspects, trims, lights and locks, and makes ready miners' safety lamps, and does minor repairs.
(i) see banksman;
(ii) general term for any man doing labouring work on surface; of . hillman (048).
controls keeps or keps by lever at pit head, i.e., moveable frames used to support cage containing tubs of coal when drawn to surface.
Yorkshire term, cleans top layer of shale from coal with knapper, a small hammer and pick combined.
lamproom girl
helps in cleaning lamps in lamproom on surface.
see banksman.
lockman (lamps)
as for lamp keeper (047) .
motty boy, motty lad
see number caller.
number caller ; motty boy, motty lad
calls out number chalked by hewer on colliery trams as they are weighed by the weigher (048) (q.v.); usually done by pin boy (q.v.).
see dirt picker.
pin boy, pin girl ; click boy, pinner, tally boy, tally lad, token boy or girl, token lad
takes pins, tokens or tallies off full tubs as they reach weighbridge, and hands to weigher; of . number caller.
see pin boy.
pit bank woman
as for pit brow girl.
pit brow girl ; bankswoman, pit brow lass, pit head girl, pit head lass
picks stone or dirt from coal on picking tables. see dirt picker; and does other light work at surface.
pit brow labourer
see bank labourer.
pit brow lad
see bank head lad.
pit brow lass
see pit brow girl.
pitcher ; pond cleaner
cleans out pond or reservoir supplying boiler feed water, or settling ponds into which dirty water from coal washer is run to allow sediment to settle.
pit head boy
see bank head lad.
pit head girl, pit head lass
see pit brow girl.
pit head labourer
see bank labourer.
pit head man, pit headsman
takes hutches off cage at pithead and weighs them; usually done by banksman or assistant banksman (q.v.).
pit head runner
runs tubs from cage to weighbridge and thence to tipplers and back.
pit-heap lad
does odd jobs at heapstead. i.e., platform on surface near shaft where tubs are landed and run to screens; pushes tubs on to platform from landing, etc.
pond cleaner
see pitcher.
pony trainer
trains pit ponies above ground in hauling trucks, stepping over points in track, etc.; sometimes works them for a few days, when first taken underground; cf. horse trainer (047).
see assistant banksman.
redd tipper
see dirt rook man.
riddle lad, riddler
under instructions of coal inspector (041) (q.v.), shakes small fixed weight of coal through a sieve or riddle and weighs quantity of dirt and dust.
a rider (043) (q.v.) employed on surface haulage road.
rubbish tipper
see dirt rook man.
rubbish unloader
(i) see dirt rook boy;
(ii) see dirt rook man.
Scottish term, see coal screener.
screen attendant, screener
see coal screener.
screen boy, screen girl
see dirt picker.
screen hand, screenman, screen trapper
see coal screener.
screen woman
see dirt picker.
see assistant banksman.
slack washer
see coal washer.
slade picker
see dirt picker.
slag boy, slag picker
picks slag from coal on wagons on pit top.
smudge picker
picks out fine waste coal and dirt from coal washer.
sorter, coal sorter
sorts soft coal from hard coal on picking belts, and separates different qualities.
spoil tipper
see dirt rook man.
stone dust man
in charge of a stone dust crushing mill which crushes stone for use on underground roads to render coal dust inert; feeds lumps of stone to mill by hand and shovels dust into tubs.
stone heap labourer, stone heaver
see dirt rook man.
stone picker
see dirt picker.
stone tipper
see dirt rook man.
stone waiter
see dirt picker.
surface haulier
drives horses or ponies which draw small trucks of coal or rubbish at surface.
surface labourer
see bank labourer.
surface man
general term for men (engaged in unskilled work at surface such as laying, relaying and repairing branch railway and sidings.
surface rider
a rider (043) (q.v.) hauling coal or dirt on surface.
tally boy, tally lad ; counter
(i) in charge of colliers' tallies, on surface where coal sent up by colliers is weighed; assists in circulation of tubs;
(ii) see pin boy.
tally man
see token man.
timber loader, timber unloader, timber yard man
unloads timber from railway trucks into pit yard; loads timber into trams for despatch to shaft and underground workings.
tipman, tipper, shale tipper
pushes trams of coal or shale from top of shaft and tips contents into screens, or pushes trams in automatic tippler or tumbler; may operate lever which tips tubs to empty them on bank or tips.
tippler lad, tippler man ; tumbler- man
operates lever which sets revolving tipplers in motion, and so empties coal or shale on to screen or belt.
token boy, girl or lad
see pin boy.
token man ; tally man, token taker
keeps account of tokens sent up on full tubs by each hewer and putter.
token taker
(i) see token man;
(ii) weighman's assistant; receives token from token boy or girl, calls out to weighman name or number of man to whom it belongs, and hangs token on numbered peg; cf. number caller and pin boy.
top cleaner
(i) is employed at surface in cleaning coal and removing dirt; also levels coal of wagons;
(ii) sweeps and cleans up gangways, floors and platforms at pit head or at picking tables.
top floorman
attends to scraper belts on top floor of washery and to engine or motor driving elevator; regulates filling of coal bunkers.
drives a trace pony to assist in haulage of trucks on heavy gradients; draws up tubs to couple to engine set, where gradient of road requires it.
track setter
sets empty tubs in position under screens ready for loading; trims coal or shale in full tubs to prevent its falling off in transit.
traffic machine assistant ; wagon boy, wagon lad
assists at weighing machine; fixes labels either in springs of wagon or by tacks on side; may keep simple record in book.
truck man
as for drawer (013).
tub cleaner
cleans tubs or corves in which coal is transported, by scraping out sides and bottom with shovel.
see tippler lad.
see coal screener.
wagon boy, wagon lad
see traffic machine assistant.
wagon filler
fills wagons with coal, smalls, slack or duff, at screens or washer on surface.
levels surface of coals on wagons under screens with bar or shovel.
waiter, waiter-on
(i) acts as banksman (q.v.) at sinking pit;
(ii) attends to signals and other work about shaft top in absence of banksman; responsible for tipping and removal of shaft debris, lowering of materials, etc.
washer, washery labourer, washery man, washman
see coal washer.
watercourse man
keeps watercourses clean and in repair above and below ground.
weighman's assistant
see token taker.
yard labourer
does any unskilled work in colliery yard, sweeping and scavenging, pushing tubs, cleaning tubs, tipping at heaps, etc.

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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.