Glossary of mining terms

Term

Meaning

Adit

A water level drift

Afterdamp

Description given to the gases (noxious) remaining in a mine after an explosion, usually with a high content of Carbon Dioxide

Anthracite

Coal which is high in carbon with a small percentage of volatile matter

Bank

The surface of the mine, usually referring to the entrance to the pit shaft.

Banksman

The colliery official responsible for overseeing the loading and unloading of the pit cage at the surface (see Bank). The banksman was also in charge of signalling

Barrier

A portion of coal seam left intact between two collieries

Blackdamp

A mixture of carbonic acid gas and nitrogen

Blower

A discharge of firedamp under extreme pressure. (see firedamp)

Bords

The 'gap' left by mining coal in a 'bord and pillar' method. Describes the gap between pillars left to support the roof after mining. (see pillar)

Brattice

A division created in a mine shaft or tunnel which is used to control or direct the airflow in the mine. One side of the brattice would be the air flow intake and the other, the return

Broken (in the..)

Working 'in the broken' was a term used to describe actions in an existing (open) section of the mine as opposed to working on a new face or seam

Corf

A large wicker basket used to transport mined coal to the pit head and then to the surface. Term also sometimes used to describe the wheeled 'tubs'

Datallers

Term used to describe workers paid strictly on a 'Day rate' basis

District

A number of working areas close together but in a separate portion of the coal to be worked

Downcast

The shaft down which fresh air passes into the workings of the mine. Most commonly also used as the winding shaft

Firedamp

The Miner's description for the naturally occurring 'marsh gas' (methane) which results from the decay of vegetable matter. In certain critical volumes, mixed with air, firedamp is highly explosive

Furnace

A fire placed at the foot of the upcast shaft, the gas laden air from the mine would rise with the heat and create a circulatory ventilation process. Replace in later years with powerful fans

Gob, Goaf or Goave

An area of the mine which has been previously mined and then used as a depository for waste from the workings. Such areas were normally left to collapse under the natural pressure of the roof

Hutch

Term used for a box container, later fitted with wheels, for the transportation of the coal to the surface (predominately a Scottish term)

Inbye

Direction of travel towards the centre of the mine

Onsetter

The official whose duty it is to ensure that the cage is properly loaded and unloaded at the foot of the shaft

Outbye

Direction of travel away from the centre of the mine

Overman

The Underground Manager (Oversman in Scotland)

Pillar

A pillar of coal left to support the roof above the workings

Putter

A man (or boy) who conveyed the tubs of coal from the face

Road

A main underground thoroughfare

Royalty

An area of coal leased to a colliery by the landowner

Staple

A vertical shaft in a mine which does not connect with the surface

Stoopings

Regional term for pillars

Timbermen

The men employed to cut and install support timbers

Trapper

Person employed to open and close ventilation doors to ensure uninterrupted flow of air

Upcast

The shaft used, in conjunction with a furnace (or later, a fan) through which the expelled air (and gases) from the mine travel to atmosphere

Viewer

A mining engineer

Waste

Another term for Gob or Goaf