Afterdamp is the dangerous mixture of gases found in a mine after an explosion or fire. (Damp from the German dampf - steam/vapour.)
Amain (pron: 'a-main')
Out of control; travelling at great speed etc. "The tub's amain doon the tailgate!"
A piece of chewing tobacco.
Anywhere other than the coal face. "Am a hewer but oor Harry works backbye."
BACM (acronym pron: 'back-um')
British Association of Colliery Management - for senior colliery & area staff, including The Manager, Undermanager, Engineers & Surveyor.
A miner's packed meal. Bait-box: a container for holding bait - usually sarnies. "Div-ent fuh-get yer bait, young'un!"
The time when worked stopped for miners to eat their bait - officially 20 minutes in a 7¼ hour shift.
Miners' name for the surface of a colliery.
The man in charge of a pit cage when it's at the surface of the mine.
The agreement between pieceworkers and management for payment per ton of coal mined, yards advanced in a new roadway etc. etc.
A semi-skilled worker in the Electrical Department, authorised by the Manager to maintain and repair U/G phones and signalling systems.
Dangerous oxygen deficient atmosphere in which a flame lamp will not burn - usually due to an excess of carbon dioxide.
Something, a pipe for example, was said to be blogged up when it was blocked with dirt or other deposits.
aka Bone Shaker: a tram used for transporting timber (pit props etc.)
Bord & Pillar Mining
Coal is won by driving 'bords' (roadways) through the coal seam to form an OXO-style lattice. The remaining square 'pillars' support the roof.
Used at Ellington Colliery because some workings were only 600ft below the North Sea and allowing a goaf to fall in was not an option.
The main drawback of Bord & Pillar is the very high percentage of coal that has to be left in place to keep the roof up. [ Half a loaf etc. etc.]
A tarpaulin-type sheet used to deflect air into relatively small (otherwise unventilated) places. Also temporary protection against water drops.
A Brick: (of a person) solid, dependable, can always be relied upon.
aka Drop-Warwick. A safety device comprising two girders attached to the roof several yards apart and connected by a heavy wire rope.
When one girder is raised the other is automatically lowered. Used to prevent tubs and mine-cars running amain. Nothing gets past a bull!
Bullits / Ket
Sweets, especially boiled sweets.
A lift for transporting men and materials into and out of the mine. Also used to lower chummins and to raise coal-filled mine-cars to 'bank'.
Cable (pron: 'k-yebel')
An allocated work place, possibly after pieceworkers have drawn lots for the best positions along the face - mebeez tuh avoid drippin watter.
When a seam of coal is removed it can expose small to large pieces of roof that are held precariously in place by a thin layer of coal - between that piece
and the main slab of roof. If its thin coal perimeter isn't noticed and it's not knocked out, it can fall unexpectedly and injure a miner.
Caunch (pron: 'kansh')
Top/bottom caunch: stone above and below the coal seam. Must be removed to make a roadway for men, materials, conveyor belts etc.
Some miners were paid by the tonnage of coal they mined rather than the time they spent at work. These miners often elected a fellow miner (usually a union official) to check weights on their behalf.
Piece of timber (2ft x 6in x 6in). Commonly stacked in pairs (at right-angles) to form small towers, they were used as temporary roof supports.
A chow - a chew of 'baccy'.
An empty tub or mine-car. Also an empty beer glass! "Gerr'em in, Marra. The chummins uh stackin up." [Opposite: Fullen]
Turn - as in, "If yer coin roond that corner ower there, yer'll finned the fitter hevin e's bait."
COSA (acronym pron: 'koh-za')
Colliery Officials and Staff Area - a branch of the NUM for colliery assistant engineers, also clerical staff at collieries and area offices.
A metal rod attached to the back of a tub. If the tub started to run backwards the cow would dig into the sleepers and derail the tub.