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Pit Checks

 

Pit checks for the Cotgrave Colliery. Actual sizes are 11/4 inches. The square check is not numbered - presumably never issued. The reverse of both is plain

"The token is a "lamp check" Two were picked up at the lamp room, both hung on a hook at your caplamp and the number corresponded with your "works clock number" I think mine was 1099, cannot quiet remember after over 30 years!!! Anyway one token was square and one round, the square one was given to the Banksman as one got on the cage and the round one was kept on a "dog clip" on the cap lamp battery until we got to pit bank at the end of the shift, then handed to the Banksman again. Purpose was to let management know who was underground at all times for safety."

Contributed by John Waudby who is an ex-pit electrician and served at the Clifton and Cotgrave Collieries.
 

The following explanation of the aluminium pit checks was supplied to me by Mark Smith who runs the UK's National Mining Memorabilia Association's Web site.

"I have been informed by an ex-Cotgrave collier............ that the round aluminium check was used as a pay collection check. The numbers stamped on each mans personal pay check would be the same as those on his lamp or cage riding checks. The pay check would be presented at the pay office of as means of i.d. At larger collieries where there was a very large work force the use of pay checks prevented miners from trying to draw the earnings of other men on pay day by claiming to be someone they weren't. The round aluminium check is made from a different die to the one used to stamp the round brass lamp/riding check.

As for the oblong aluminium check I have been told various things by different ex-Notts. & Derbys. miners. These include;

  • An identification tag attached by each miner to his bag of dirty pit clothes at the end of each shift or working week. The cleaned pit clothes later being returned in their bags to the pit head baths attendant for redistribution to the miners. Such checks were used at several pits.

  • An identification check issued and retained by men engaged in shaft inspections.

  • An identification check issued and worn around the ankle (?) by men engaged in methane extraction work.

I think the first is most likely as I have seen some very high numbers stamped on these checks that would indicate to me that they were a check that would have been generally issued throughout the pit's work force and not just to a specialised work crew. " 

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