Pack, a form of permanent roof support in mines consisting of mine debris surrounded by vertical dry stone walls completed tightly to the roof. Often packs are built in continuous strips, a system which is called "strip packing”. The packs are usually 3 to 6 yards wide and extend from the face props back into the waste. They are often spaced 5 to 15 yards apart along the face. The rocks of the roof between the packs and behind the temporary supports are allowed to collapse. At some faces all the gob, goaf or waste is filled with debris and this is known as "solid packing". Most packs are built by hand, but some are built by the method known as "pneumatic packing". In this method crushed rock is blown by compressed air through pipes into the place to be packed. If water is added then this is known as “hydraulic packing or stowing”.–see also Roadside pack, Walled pack, Checker pack, Cushion pack and Cross pack.
Packers, the best quality stone used to build packs.
Pack wall, a pack built at each side of a gob road to support the roadway and stow away the waste from the ripping.
Packaged manrider, a system which embodies a train of vehicles constructed for the dual role of men-and-materials transport, running on conventional rails. The train is permanently attached to one end of an otherwise endless rope; the other end of the rope terminates at a rope reserve or storage drum which forms part of, and travels with, the train. The system was usually used in gate roads.
Paddy, an underground train for transporting men; or an open or non-safety lamp. (Yorks.).
Paddy light or Paddy lamp, the front or tail light on a man-riding train.
Paddy pan, a bucket or tub for lowering the horse’s water on a swinging bont before the advent of the cage. (Leics.).
Pads, pieces of timber placed between the tops of props and the roof-support timbers. (Mids.). -see also Biscuit.
Pair of gears, a pair of large wooden props with a timber roof bar spanning the roadway. (N.East), (Scot.).
Pair of timbers, a bar held against the roof spanning a roadway with a single prop under each end. (S.Wales).
Paldie, a square piece of timber placed between the top of a prop and the roof bar. (Scot.). -see also Biscuit.
Pan, a trough shaped section of a pan conveyor; or the fireclay lying beneath the coal seam. Radstock, (Som.); or a container, shaped like a coal scuttle, into which the fillers raked the small coals.(Mids.).
Pan coal, small coal, which used to be sold to salt makers for the fires beneath the salt pans.
Pane, a lift or stint of coal, (S.Staffs.).
Panel, a rectangular pillar of coal which would be worked using the panel system; or a district or section of the working-place that was separated by barriers of coal from other districts; or a district in Bord and Pillar workings; or any thin band or rib of hard rock. (Lancs.). In later years the term was used to describe a modern 'longwall face'.
Panel system, a system of working the coal, which came into use in the North of England, in about 1810, in an attempt to improve the ventilation. The colliery was divided into large squares or panels, separated and isolated by solid ribs of coal. Each panel would have its own boards and pillars fed by its own intake air supply and the return was carried straight to the upcast shaft.
Panes, the holing area between ‘bunches’. (N.Staffs.). –see Bunches.
Pan grader or Grader, during the move-up, the pan conveyor would be split into sections, moved over nearer to the coalface and rebuilt. The grader would then work his way along the face levelling the conveyor and ensuring that it was straight.(Scot.).
Pan hole, the track along the face along which the pan conveyor was rebuilt. (Scot.).
Pan run, a longwall face which used a pan conveyor to move the coal. (Scot.).
Pans, originally shakerpans, which were used on longwall faces to move the coal. The name was extended at a later date to include bluebird scrapers and panzer face conveyors; or iron troughs bolted together and used in steep inclined seams. The coal was allowed to flow down under its own gravity.
Panzer or Panzer conveyor, -see Armoured Flexible Conveyor. AFC.
Paper coal, -see Lignite.
Parliamentary pit, When it became a legal requirement for every mine to have a second shaft or outlet, the second shaft sunk at an existing colliery became known as a ‘Parliamentary pit’. (Scot.).
Parrot coal, a variety of cannel coal. It was said to spit and crack with a chattering noise, like a parrot talking.
Part candles, where candles were used up to a point in a mine beyond which only safety lamps could be used then the mine was said to be ‘part candles’.
Parting, the line of separation between two beds of strata, i.e. a place in the strata where the beds readily separate. Sometimes applied to a thin band of stone or shale in a coal seam, and termed a ‘dirt parting’; or the separation of the coal from the roof. If the coal came away easily it was said to have a good or an ‘easy’ parting. If it was subject to sticking it was said to be a bad parting. (Scot.); also a term for a junction (points) in the rails on a haulage road. (S.Wales).
Part-two mine, a safety lamp mine which was regulated under Part 2 of the Coal Mines Act of 1911. (Scot.).
Pass-byes, a siding in which two sets of tubs could pass each other.
Patching, working the coal at an outcrop or by an early form of opencast.
Pat coal, the lowest seam of coal reached in a shaft. (Scot.).
Pavement, the floor directly beneath a coal seam, or a type of fireclay or clunch. (Scot.). –see also Warrant and Thill.
Pavement brushing, the taking up of the floor of a roadway to gain more headroom or compete against the action of creep. – see also Bate, Dint, Denting and Pocking.
Peacock coal, having an iridescent lustre due to a film-deposit of pyrites.
Pearl, very small coal almost ‘dross’. (Scot.).
Peas or Pease, a descriptive term for small coal. Smaller than beans and also produced from ‘duff’.
Peck, a collier’s pick; or a measure of coal, i.e. the coal peck contains 41 gallons, 4.362 old Winchester measure, 8 pecks making 1 bole and 24 boles 1 chaldron. (N.East).
Pecking up, propping up with stone, brick, or any rubbish, which is at hand.(S.Staffs.).
Pee-dee, a lad employed on board a keel. (N.East).
Peel or Pills, lean ironstone. (N.Staffs.).
Peerie, a surveyor’s large brass plumb-bob. (Scot.).
Peeweet, a miner’s singlet, usually of blue-grey flannel, like a lapwing’s wing. (Scot.).
Peggy, a pick. (Yorks.).
Peg-top, an underground winding drum, driving one or more haulage roads. The winding drum was usually in a vertical position.
Peldon, hard and compact siliceous rock. (S.Staffs.). -see also Cank.
Pelt, a coaly stone often found in coal seams. (Scot.).
Pen, a narrow airway alongside the solid coal as opposed to an air road through the gob; or a covered-in water drain. (Scot.).
Pencil ganister, -see Ganister.
Pennant rock, hard, strong sandstone. (S.Wales).
Penny stones, bands of clay ironstone.
Penobel, permitted explosive.
Penthouse or Penthus, a wooden hut or covering at the bottom of a sinking pit to protect the sinkers.
Persuader, a large hammer, a ‘mash’. (Scot.).
Pick, hand tool for loosening coal; or machine picks attached to the drum or a chain to cut the coal or stone.
Pick box, a component of a cutting unit that holds the cutter pick.
Pick lacing, the arrangement of picks in a cutting unit of a coal getting machine.
Picker, a pin used to trim the wick of an oil lamp. -see also Pricker; or a person employed to pick the stone and rubbish from the coal. - see also Crow picker and Batt picking.
Pick-face flushing, dust suppression. The spraying of water onto the cutting picks of a coal-cutting machine.
Picking table, a table, which either revolved or was of a long bench type. The coal was tipped onto the table to be cleaned and sorted by the pickers.
Pickling, the falling of bits of stone from the roof just prior to it collapsing. (Scot.). -see also Bitting.
Picture, a covering of sheet iron, or brattice deals, hung from the roof and shaft framing to protect the onsetters from dripping water at the shaft bottom. Also a similar cover to protect the hewer from water which falls from the roof in wet workings. (N.East).
Pig, a slang name for a coal cutter.
Pigback, a gradual and local thinning of a coal seam due to a roll or irregularity of roof or floor. (N.Staffs.).
Pike, another name for a collier’s pick. Also called a ‘slitter’ or a ‘mandril’.
Piles, planks of wood driven behind props in the sides of roadways to support loose ground.
Pillar, an area of stone or coal left in place, unworked, to support the roof. -see also Shaft pillar and Stoop; or an artificial pillar constructed from wooden chocks in-filled with rubble. (Scot.) -see also Chocks.
Pillar and stall, the method of extraction where pillars were left in to support the roof, compared with longwall working, where all the coal is extracted. Later in pillar and stall, the pillars were also extracted, leaving the roof to collapse. Also variously called Straight and pillar, Bord and pillar, Room and pillar, Post and bank and Stoop and room.
Pillar airing, -see Coursing.
Pillaring back, when a district or mine had been worked to a point were only the pillars were left, the pillars would be extracted and the roof allowed to collapse. The pillars would be extracted working back towards the shaft. Also known as ‘drifting back’ or ‘pillaring out’.
Pillar wood, waste timbers used to fill cavities above the roof supports.
Pilot heading, a roadway driven ahead, sometimes on smaller dimensions, often for the purposes of exploration. Pilot shaft, an exploration shaft.
Pin, a distinctive piece of wood about 14 in long used underground by the breakers as a token. One would be put in every full put to denote who had filled it.
Pin box, a long type of cupboard divided into several compartments, kept near the top of the shaft. As each full put came out of the pit and was emptied, the pin would be collected and put into its own pigeonhole in the pin box.
Pin cracks, small breaks in the coal seam containing water or gas.
Pinching, the movement of the roof due to the action of weight. (S.Mids.).
Pinners, large pieces of stone used for building pack-walls underground. (N.Staffs.); or small wedge-shaped pieces of wood. (N.East).
Pinnings, bratticing in a heading. (N.Staffs.).
Pin number, a collier’s number chalked on the side of a tub of coal. (Mids.).
Pins, beds or layers of ironstone in the coal measures. (S.Wales).
Pioneering cloud, the initial cloud of finely suspended coal dust that causes an explosion.
Piper, a feeder of gas. (Lancs.).
Pirn, the drum of a flat rope winding engine.
Pit, a colliery; or a circular, oval, square, or oblong vertical excavation descending from the surface. The term shaft is often used synonymously, being either a pit or only a portion of one; or the shaft at a colliery, or coal workings entered by a shaft, or all the underground workings of a colliery.
Pit bank or Pitheap, the elevated stage around the top of the winding shaft upon which the tubs or mine-cars were delivered from the cages.
Pit barring, the wooden lining of a shaft.
Pit bottom, the marshalling area around the bottom of the shaft; or the lowest shaft inset to which access could be gained by winding; or the roadway network in the vicinity of an inset from which men and materials are normally wound.
Pit bottomer, a man who worked in the area around the base of the coal-winding shaft e.g. shunting the tubs. Also known as ‘bottomers’.
Pit bottom stoop, (Scot.).-see Shaft pillar.
Pit boxes, another term for ‘corves’.
Pit brow, -see Pit bank.
Pit brow lassies, women and girls who worked at a myriad of tasks around the pit top e.g. loading and off-loading the cage, sorting the coal on the picking tables and in the screens, bagging coal etc.
Pitchel, a long crook or iron bar used when fitting pumps and pumping pipes in a shaft. The pitchel was used to line up the holes in the flanges to allow a nut and bolt to be fitted. (Som.).
Pitchers, loaders or fillers on the coalface; or the men who took up and relayed the tub rails in the workings and along the longwall face. (N.East).
Pitchy coal, -see Lignite.
Pitcoal, a general term for the bituminous type of coal.
Pit dirt, a miner was said to be in his ‘pit dirt’ immediately leaving the pit before washing himself.
Pit drawers, thin pants, shorts or knickers worn by colliers working on the coalface. (Lancs.).
Pit eye, in some areas the pit eye refers to the mouth of the shaft at the surface. In others it is the entrance to workings at the base of the shaft.
Pit eye pillar, the shaft pillar, the pillar of coal left in situ to support the shaft and the buildings of the colliery. (N.East).
Pit fettlers, shaftsmen, men who worked in, inspected and maintained the shaft. (N.Staffs.).
Pit frame, the framework of wood or steel that supported the pullies of the winding ropes over the shaft. (N.East). -see also Head frames, Headsticks and Headgear.
Pit gate, any place in the immediate area of a colliery where the colliers would meet during a dispute, a ‘pit-gate meeting’. (Yorks.).
Pit head, the landing at the top of the shaft; or the colliery surface. Also called the ‘pit top’.
Pit heap, -see Spoil heap.
Pit pan, a miner’s coal shovel, also called a Frying pan, Oscar or Durham (N.E & Yorks.).
Pit-rags, after the introduction of the pithead baths, and before the issue of protective clothing, the miners would wear any old clothing until it fell to pieces.
Pit room, the extent of the underground workings in use or available to be worked.
Pit top, -see Pit head.
Pitter, a horse or pony suitable for underground work.
Pitting, sinking a series of shafts or pits in the area of the outcrop to prove the existence of a coal seam. (Scot.).
Pitwood, the timber used underground to support the roof.
Pit-Yakkor, a term of abuse applied to pit men. (N.East). -see also Yakker.
Place or Stall, the area in a pillar and stall system where the collier extracts the coal. Later extended to mean any place where a man worked the coal, or any job of work at a colliery above or below ground, or in Lancashire, any regular job wherever it may be, or another name for a cabin underground.
Placing work, the directions given by the overman as to the arrangements for work for the day; also an operation performed by the craneman for the purpose of ascertaining the proportion of the tubs or corves hewed, and from where each barrowman was to put. (N.East).
Plane, a roadway along which men, coal and materials are transported by mechanical means or by gravity; or a working place or roadway driven at right-angles to or facing the ‘plane joints’ or cleat.
Plane course or On the plane, in the direction facing the ‘plane joints’.
Plane joints, cracks or fractures in the strata. When they occur in a coal seam they are known as ‘cleats or ‘slynes’.
Plank, strata drained of gas. (S.Wales); or another word for a split bar or half bar. (N.East).
Plank dam, a water-tight stopping fixed in a heading constructed from balks of fir placed one on top of the other and tightly wedged.
Plank tubbing, shaft lining of wooden planks driven down vertically behind wooden cribs all around the shaft with all the joints tightly sealed to keep back the water.
Plate, -see Bind and Shale; plate shale is a soft friable shale.
Play-in, to begin opening out a coalface from the side of a heading. (Leics.).
Plenum, a method of ventilating a mine or a heading by forcing air into it.
Plough, a steel wedge device dragged along the face to shear off a slice (2 to 3 inches thick), or plough the coal; or a scraper cleaning device on a conveyor.
Plough packer, a packing device used on a face in which a moving blade ploughs dirt from a static platform and forms it into a gate-side pack.
Plucking, bad surges of the haulage rope during operation.
Plug boxes, wooden box channels used to drain water from the shaft sides during shaft lining to stop the cement being washed away from the brickwork.
Plug and feathers, multiple wedges used to break rock or bring down coal.
Plug-o-clay or Plug-o-stemming, a piece of clay used to stem a shothole. (Scot.). -see Stemming and Dolls.
Plumb hole, a hole or depression on the surface caused by subsidence due to undermining. (Scot.).
Plum-bulking, the full dip of a seam or the strata. (South West).
Plum-end, a heading that is driven on the end or end-on. (Yorks.).
Plum-hatching, the full rise of a seam or the strata. (South West).
Plum pit, another name for the engine pit. (South West).
Plum pitch, the line of full rise or dip of the strata. (Bris.).
Ply, a rib; ‘plies’, successive ribs, e.g. of clayband with very thin partings. (Scot.).
Pneumatic packing, -see Pack.
Pneumoconiosis, a chronic disease of the lungs arising from breathing in coal dust.
Pokering, a term used for hand spraying in dust suppression – using sprays to direct water to specific sources of dust where the adjacent strata are adversely affected by wetting.
Poling, building gob walls or packs using old propwood and debris to support the roadway through the gob in longwall working; or a temporary support built to protect the rippers until the permanent road support is put into place, a ‘horse head’. -see also Lofting. Also another term for ‘Runners’. (N.Staffs.).
Poling boards, boards slotted behind roof supports to hold back loose ground. The boards can be impregnated with flame suppressive chemicals.
Poll tomahawk, -see Dresser.
Pom-Pom, the nickname for the Siskel coal-cutter, one of the earliest coal- cutting machines.
Pool or Poil, to hole or undercut. (Scot.).
Pool leader, the man in charge of a team of men. (Scot.).
Poppet head, a small head gear used over a shallow pit.
Porch, the arching at the pit bottom. The inset. (Yorks.).
Post, a short timber prop. (Som.); or a pillar of coal or stone left unworked, to support the roof. (Derbys.); also another name for sandstone.
Post and bank, -see Pillar and stall.
Post and Stall, a method of pillar and stall working which was used in moderately thick seams. The stall was driven with a narrow opening off the heading and then widened out. In this way a post or pillar of coal was left to support the junctions. (Yorks.).
Posting, extracting posts or pillars in post and stall working. (Yorks.).
Posting holes, a short, narrow heading between two main headings. (Yorks.). Also called a ‘Cut-through’. -see also Bolt.
Pothole, a cavity left in the roof by a fall of stone.
Pot coal, -see Pat coal.
Pound hole, catchment or tank from which water was pumped.
Pounce, -see Bump.
Pounson, dense soft clay underlying coal seams. (N.Wales). –see also Warrant.
Pout, Punch or Puncher, a tool, a type of long-handled pick, used when withdrawing timber out of a dangerous place.
Powder, a general term for explosives used in the mine.
Powder room, a store for explosives on the surface also known in Scotland as the ‘ammo’ store.
Powder monkey, an assistant to the shotfirer, usually a young boy who carried the powder box and kept a tally of how much powder was being used. He would also make the dolls or plugs of stemming for the shot holes.
Power loader, a machine for cutting (shearing) and loading coal, more commonly any longwall cutter loader or shearer.
Powered supports, the hydraulically powered supports on the modern coalface, also called ‘chocks’or ‘shields’.
Power pack, the main hydraulic pumping unit that supplied the powered roof supports along the coalface.
Powt, a long iron rod that is a combination of a battering ram and a hook, used for withdrawing props.
Pre-cutting, the process of using a coal-cutter in advance of a cutter-loader in machine mining. The process was sometimes found necessary when working hard coal.
Prick, a pick. (Scot.); or to hole by hand in a layer of soft fireclay beneath the coal seam.
Pricker, a pointed brass or copper rod about 3 feet long, the point was inserted into the powder cartridge, then the cartridge and pricker were inserted into the shot hole; or a tool for trimming the wick on an oil lamp. -see also Picker; or a long iron rod or poker used to loosen and bring down the top coal in the Staffordshire Thick Coal. (S.Staffs.); or a holing pick.
Pricking or Pricking dirt, a thin layer of soft shale often found between the bottom of a seam and the floor. It was used to prick in when undercutting. A great advantage to the hewer. –see Holing dirt.
Props, individual straight support members set between the roof and floor as a support. Also called ‘Trees’.
Props and bars, pit props and steel bars used to support the roof on the face. –see also Arms.
Prop drawer, a tool designed for withdrawing roof supports from a safe distance. Over the years there have several different types in use, e.g. the ‘puncher’ or ‘pout’, the ‘ringer and chain’ and the most universally used being the ‘Sylvester’, which was also known as the ‘gab lock’; or the man employed to draw out timber for re-use; or to allow the roof of the waste to cave in. Also called a ‘prop maul’, (N.East).
Prop-free front, on a longwall machine operated face where the roof supports are concentrated on the gob side of the conveyor, there are no supports between the conveyor and the coalface, this area between coalface and the last row of roof supports is called the ‘prop free front’. This system is necessary where armoured-flexible-conveyors are used to carry a power-loader machine or shearer.
Prop key, a key or prop spanner used for pumping up and lowering hydraulic props.
Prop maul, -see Prop drawer.
Proto, a type of self contained breathing apparatus used in mines rescue.
Prove, to ascertain the position of a seam of coal when it has been thrown down or up by a fault, or the nature of the strata in a district by boring or sinking.
Proving road, a heading driven in advance to prove a coal seam or in search of old workings.
Pucking or Pucks, the lifting of the floor due to the pressure or weight of the strata. (S.Wales).
Puddock, cast iron plate forming the crossing of flanged hutch rails. (Scot.).
Puffing Up, a swelling of the floor of the mine due to the action of creep.
Puffler, a man in charge of a coal face. (War.), (S.Staffs.).; or a senior haulage man. (Haydock, Lancs.).
Pug, crushed strata or clay; or the coal left sticking to the floor by the longwall coal-cutting machine. (Scot).
Pugs, a layer of hard coal in a free coal seam. Found in the Main coal seam of Lanarkshire. (Scot.).
Pull or draw, the area affected by subsidence at the surface beyond the edges of the workings.
Puller, ‘Sylvester’ prop withdrawer.
Pulley brae, a self-acting incline, a ‘cousie’. (Scot.).
Pulley-frame, -see Headgear.
Pulleying, Overwinding by drawing the cage or kibble into the headgear.
Pulleys, the wheels placed above a pit over which the ropes for drawing coals, etc.are passed.
Pump tree, the pipes containing the pumping rods in a shaft sinking pump. Usually made of cast iron with flanges. Called ‘pump trees’ as they were originally made by boring out the trunks of trees.
Punch, a small rib of coal left for the support of a dangerous roof. (N.Staffs.).
Puncheon, a large prop.
Punch and thirl, a type of'pillar and stall system of working the coal. (S.Staffs.).
Punch props, short props placed at the front of an undercut to protect the hewer when working. In later years it became a short prop used for any purpose.
Pusher, a pneumatic or hydraulic ram used to move forward an armoured face conveyor.
Pussywood, prop ends and other off-cuts of timber taken home for firewood.
Put, a shallow wooden box with runners like a sled. The empty put weighed about 60lbs and could hold up to 6 cwt of coal; or to haul coal underground originally by muscle power, later by hand or by pony.
Put-up, Put-down, upthrow and downthrow faults. (N.Staffs.).
Putter, man or boy who conveyed the tubs to and from the workings and the main haulage level. A young Putter was called a ‘foal’. (N.East).
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