A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921.
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Sub-order 3.—Water Transport Workers

745.—Other Dock Labourers

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ballast heaver, ballast man, ballast tipper
(i) one of two men, or of gang, either on quay, or, on deck or in ship's hold, engaged in filling with ballast (sand or gravel) hold of ship going from one port to another without cargo ("in ballast"); on quay, fills basket or other receptacle with ballast, attaches crane sling thereto, and signals to craneman or winchman (736) q.v. to hoist and swing it over ship; on deck or in hold, receives basket, directs it over hold, tips contents into hold, and trims with shovel, so that it may not shift during voyage;
(ii) engaged in discharging ballast when ship's hold is to be cleared for cargo; as for (i), but operations reversed.
barge emptier, boat emptier
a carrier q.v. engaged in unloading barges, boats or other small vessels.
bobber, fish bobber
(East Coast term which originated when fish porters were paid 1s. per hour) see lumper, fish.
boxman ; cradleman
a dock labourer q.v. who stands on dock quay, or in ship's hold, filling a box or similar receptacle with number of small separate packages; attaches slings to box and, when box is filled, hitches it on to crane fall, then signals to hatchman q.v. or to winchman (736) q.v. for removal of packages to hold or quay.
busheller, grain busheller
a filler q.v., in dock shed, who fills sacks with grain discharged in bulk from ship, using an iron measure known as a bushel (drum or flat), in readiness for' weighing.
cargo worker, general cargo worker
a general worker (as distinct from a specialist, e.g. fish loader, grain hopperman q.v. assisting in loading or unloading of any cargoes.
carrier ; runner, runnerman
a porter q.v. who carries goods on back, shoulder or head between quay, ship or warehouse, or about dock premises generally; usually specifically designated according to goods carried, etc., e.g. bag carrier, deal carrier (carrying deal planks), fish box carrier, fruit carrier, pitprop, prop, or pitwood carrier, potato carrier, timber carrier.
see boxman.
deal gangwayman
stands on gangway between ship and wharf or quay, and passes timber from a dock labourer q.v. standing on ship's deck to deal carrier q.v.
see labourer.
one of a team of men who open and shut dock gates by means of capstan; cf. dough keeper (749).
a dock labourer q.v. engaged in any filling operations, e.g. shovelling ballast, grain, in bulk into baskets or other receptacles in ship's hold or on quay in readiness for trucking away by dock labourers or for attaching to crane slings and subsequent tipping, cf. tipper; includes ballast heaver, grain busheller q.v.
fish dockman, fish loader, fish quayman
loads fish boxes on lorries or other vehicles at fish wharves; cf. carrier.
grain hopperman
adjusts position of hopper to emptying buckets of elevator, and moves hopper along rails during process of filling grain from ship into warehouse.
hatchman, hatchminder, hatchwayman
stands by hatch when ship is loading or unloading and signals to winchman (736) or to railmen q.v. when to set winch in motion to raise or lower goods from or into hold; signals to holdsman q.v. when goods are about to be raised or lowered; steadies goods, with his hand, as they come within his reach on their way to or from holdsman; employed on larger vessels only.
hobbler (slang)
see labourer ; sometimes specifically designated, e.g. fish hobbler.
a dock labourer q.v. working in ship's hold, carrying or wheeling goods to hatchway or from hatchway to stevedore and stowing them under his direction; may also detach or attach slings, dogs or hooks of hoist to receive goods, lowered into hold by winchman (736) q.v., or to unload goods therefrom.
labourer, dock labourer ; dockman, dock porter, hobbler, quayman
general terms for anyone engaged on the various kinds of unskilled work in a dock, such as lumping, carrying or wheeling goods from or to ships, assisting stevedores, in loading and unloading of vessels, etc.; when employed permanently by dock authority is called dock board labourer, permanent labourer, registered or "A" list labourer; when employed casually may be a preference or "B" list labourer, who has next claim for employment after permanent men; sometimes specifically designated according to kind of work done, e.g., stevedore's labourer.
lighter discharger
a dock labourer q.v. unloading goods from lighter to ship in harbour or fairway.
where goods are sold at dock or wharf (i) separates goods into "lots" to correspond with sale catalogue, taking care that all packages bearing similar mark are placed together; sometimes also makes small opening in package, to expose contents;
(ii) separates goods, after sale, into "lots" for despatch to purchasers;
(iii) grades incoming merchandise according to quality, e.g. sorts cases of oranges into lots 1 (ripest, and to be sold first), lots 2, 3, 4, etc.
as for carrier; generally used for men employed casually by stevedore.
lumper, fish ; bobber, fish bobber (East Coast), fish hobbler, runner
discharges fish from trawlers and drifters to quay; carries fish in "kits" or baskets.
pitwood roller-off
rolls logs of pitwood, from ship to wharf, down an inclined plane.
a dock labourer q.v. who is engaged in carrying or otherwise transporting goods at docks; sometimes specifically designated according to place where employed or to goods carried, etc., e.g. canal porter, canal boat porter, corn porter, contract porter (paid per ton of goods moved), cotton porter, deal porter, dock warehouse porter, fish porter, grain porter, marine porter (carries luggage between train and ship), quay porter, quayside porter, riverside porter, sample porter, ship's porter, stone porter, timber porter, waterside porter, wine porter.
porter, dock
see labourer.
see labourer.
rafter, raftsman ; timber pondman (docks)
a dock labourer q.v. whose work lies on timber rafts; receives logs of pitch pine, etc., from ship or barge, and makes up into rafts, by means of staples and chains, to be towed to timber pond in dock for storage.
rail gangwayman
adjusts, and makes secure, a railed gangway, from ship to pier or quayside, for passage of trucks; stands by to brake trucks, when necessary, and help them over points.
railman (docks)
stands near ship rail during loading and unloading operations and signals to winchman (736) q.v. when to raise or lower goods; steadies, with his hand, goods as they come within reach on their way to and from hatchman q.v.; employed on larger vessels only.
rigger, ship rigger (for working cargo)
a specially skilled dock worker employed by master stevedore (731) q.v. to rig up wire splicing, derricks, deck hoppers, chutes and other gear for loading and unloading ships; dismantles derricks, etc., when loading or unloading completed; examines wire ropes and other gear from time to time to ensure that it is in working condition.
runner, runnerman
see carrier; sometimes further designated, e.g. corn runner, fish runner.
salt heaver
a dock labourer q.v. shovelling salt from hold of ship into tubs for hoisting by crane; or filling tubs on land for loading.
a dock labourer q.v. engaged in sheds of docks or harbours.
ship labourer, ship quay labourer, ship worker
as for labourer.
ship's discharger
see unloader.
slate picker (quay)
a dock labourer q.v. engaged on slate quay, sorting whole from broken slates.
slate unloader (quay)
a dock labourer q.v. specialising in carrying slates.
a dock labourer q.v. who separates, with a wooden slice, bags of nitrate of soda stuck together during voyage.
stocker (steamship)
a dock labourer q.v. loading food supplies on steamship for victualling superintendent (739) q.v.
sub-ganger (docks)
a working foreman, taking charge, under instructions and general supervision of ganger (740) q.v. of a gang of dock labourers q.v. with whom he also works.
one of a gang of dock labourers q.v. engaged in loading any kind of cargo that is shipped in bulk, from hoists or buckets; cf. coal teemer (744).
tidesman, tide waiter (slate shipping)
at each full tide, tows or warps vessels in and out of small slate shipping harbour or dock; keeps dock gates and premises painted and in repair.
timber pondman (docks)
see rafter.
(i) carries or wheels goods (gravel, sand, chalk and other minerals) to quayside and tips them down chute into hold of ship lying alongside quay;
(ii) as for tipper, coal (744).
transport man, transport worker
general terms covering all persons engaged in transport, in any capacity; usually implies a dock labourer q.v., but also covers drivers, carmen (719, 720) q.v., etc.
trimmer, ballast
arranges ballast in holds of ships so as correctly to balance weight, and to ensure against shifting on voyage.
trimmer, grain
"trims" grain with shovel in ship's hold, so that it can be easily unloaded by grain suction apparatus; during loading, spreads rain with shovels evenly in ship's old, round stanchions, etc.
unloader, dockside unloader ; ship's discharger
a dock labourer q.v. principally engaged in unloading cargoes.
waterside baler
a dock labourer q.v. specially engaged in handling bales of wool or other baled goods at waterside; or in repacking goods in bales for convenience in transport.

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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.