A Glossary of Mining Terms


A Glossary of Mining Terms used in mid 1800's

AFTERDAMP. After an explosion the mine was filled by the

          products of the burning gas. These were mainly
          carbon monoxide (CO) which is poisonous and carbon
          dioxide (CO2) which is suffocating.

BALANCER. The person, usually a boy, who operated the


BALANCE. A slope with a pulley at the top where empty tubs

          pulled full tubs up the slope.

BLOWER. Large amounts of methane gas is trapped under

          pressure in the coal and will seep out. If a large
          reservoir is broken into then it will blow out of
          the coal.

BRATTICE. Fresh air was directed to the ends of the workings

          by constructing wooden frames down the centre of
          the tunnel and covering the frame with thick
          canvas brattice cloth that was nailed to the frame
          by large headed brattice nails.

BROW. See downbrow and upbrow.

BANKSMAN The man at the surface who was in charge of the

  or      pit bank. He was responsible for the loading and

BROWMAN unloading the cage and signalling to the engineman

          responsible for winding the cage.

CAGE. A crude lift that was wound up and down the shaft

          carrying men and materials. Some cages had more
          than one deck. The one in use at Wood Pit had two

COAL FACE. The place where the coal is exposed and the

          colliers "win" it.

COLLIER. The skilled man who worked at the coal face and

          actually got the coal.

COLLIERY. The site at the surface that includes all the

          buildings, railways and headgears.

COUPLER. A man or boy who worked on the haulage system

          coupling tubs together.

CUT THROUGH a short tunnel connecting two roads.

DATALLER A man employed to do service work in the mine and

          paid by the day.

DELF A Lancashire term to describe a seam of coal e.g.

or      Ravenhead Main Delf.


DOOR See ventilation door.

DOOR See tenter TENTER

DOWNCAST The main shaft of the colliery up and down which

 SHAFT    men and materials were wound. The fresh air for
          the ventilation of the main is drawn down this

DRAWER The person who is employed by the collier to take

         full tubs from the workplace to the haulage and
         bring back empty tubs.

DRAWING The act of removing props and allowing the roof to

PROPS    fall behind the coal face.

DROP PIT A side tunnel into the shaft. Usually part of the

         ventilation system.

DUMB PIT A short rising tunnel from the furnace into the

         upcast shaft. See Ventilation.

ENDLESS A long rope or chain that is driven by an engine

ROPE     round  two pulleys, one at each end of an incline.


ENGINEMAN The man in the engine house who is in charge of the

         winding engine and takes his instructions from the

FACE. See coal face.

FALL. A fall of the roof.

FIREDAMP Methane gas that comes naturally from the coal and

         is inflammable but when mixed with air becomes

FIREMAN An official who is in charge of a district in the


FURNACE A coal fire in an iron grate at the bottom of the

         upcast shaft. The hot air created by the fire rose
         up the upcast shaft and cold fresh air was drawn
         into the workings down the downcast shaft. See

GOB or GOAF The area behind the coal face where the props have

         been drawn and the roof allowed to fall in.

HEADING A tunnel driven into the coal.

HEADGEAR The main frame that stood over the shaft on which

         are fixed the pulleys and guides for the cage.

HAULAGE The system by which the coal is transported from

         the coal face to the bottom of the shaft. See
         Endless Rope Haulage.

JIG A pulley wheel in the haulage system, usually at

         top of an incline.

JIGGER The person, usually a lad, who operated the jig.

KNOCKING A system of signalling used to control the cage and

         the haulage system.

LEVEL A horizontal road in the mine.

LASHER ON See hooker-on.

LOWER SIDE The downward-sloping side of the workplace.

METALMAN A man employed to service the tunnels and rails

           in the haulage system.

MINE The name given in Lancashire to a coal seam.

PACK A column of stones built to support the roof.

PIT The shaft from the surface down to the workings.

PIT EYE The area around the bottom of the shaft.

PLACE The work place at the coal face where the collier

           won the coal. Each collier had his own place.

PONY DRIVER A boy who had charge of a pony which pulled the

           tubs along the haulage roads.

PONY TENTER See tenter.

PROP TAKER See drawing props.

RETURNING A tunnel through which air passes from the GALLERY. workings to the upcast shaft.

RIB CUTTING A tunnel cut through the coal, usually at right

           angles to a road.

ROAD A tunnel from the workings to the pit eye. SHAFT. The hole from the surface to the pit eye.

SINKER. A skilled man who contracted to sink new shafts.

SPLIT. A branch in the ventilation system.

STEAM JETS Nozzles at the bottom of the upcast shaft through

           which steam was passed to cause convection
           currents for the ventilation. They were
           considered safe since there were no naked flames
           to ignite inflammable gas.

STOPPINGS Walls built across the roads and tunnels that

           would seal off an area of the mine.

TAKER-OFF Someone, usually a boy, who unhitched tubs from TAKER-IN the endless rope.

TENTER Someone who looked after something e.g. furnace

           tenter, door tenter and pony tenter.

TOP DECK The upper floor of the cage.

TIMBER The wooden beams and props used to support the

           roof. See Props and Drawing Props.

TUNNEL. See Road.

UNDERLOOKER An official in charge of a mine and responsible

           to the undermanager and supervising the fireman.

UPBROW A road driven uphill to the seam.

UPCAST The ventilation shaft that carries the foul air

           away from the workings.

VENTILATION A wooden door that directs the flow of fresh air DOOR. round the workings of the mine.

The above is taken from the book "Weep Mothers Weep" extracted by Joanne Fraser.

�--Kopuru 02:18, 20 April 2007 (MDT)