GLOSSARY OF MINING TERMS(W)

Waffler, an arc wall cutter that uses the chain for both cutting and loading.

Wailers, boys employed in the wagons or at the pit head to pick out any stone or pyrites that had passed through the screens. (N.East).

Wall, a communication or holing cut at right angles between two bords. The wall is therefore a heading driven along the direction of the main cleat. (these were also called ‘ends’, or ‘endways’). Several walls in a line formed a ‘headways course’; or another name for a longwall face; or a rib of solid coal between two bords.

Wall bars, slabs of timber set against the roof, close to the face, to prevent the roof breaking along the line of the face.

Wall coal, the middle division of three in a coal seam, the others being the ‘top coal’ and the ‘ground coal’. (Scot.).

Wall cutting, shearing or kirving a section of solid coal ready to break it down. (Scots); or trimming the sides of a sinking pit ready for putting in the tubbing, coffering or walling.

Walled pack, loose dirt with the sides supported by stone walls, forming a pack.

Walling, the built-in lining of a shaft irrespective of what material was used; or the sides of a roadway lined with stone. (S.Staffs.).

Walling curb, a wood or metal foundation ring set in the shaft during sinking for the walling (shaft lining) to be built on and carried upwards.

Walling scaffold, -see Walling stage.

Walling stage, wooden platform with a central trap door to allow the hoppit or kibble to pass through, suspended in the shaft during sinking to aid in the placement of the shaft lining. It also, acts as a protective cover for the sinkers. Also called a ‘walling scaffold’ or ‘cradle’.

Wallow, a hand winch. (Mids.).

Wandering coal, an irregular coal seam that has been broken up by movement of the strata over an extensive area.

Want, the barren ground separating the seam from one side of a fault to the other.

Waps, tramway or tubway points.

Wark, a road driven through the coal at an angle to the grain or cleat. Rossendale, (Lancs.).

Wark batch, the colliery waste tip. (Som.).

Warp, alluvium in a tidal estuary.

Warners, a general term given to a variety of instruments that were used to test for firedamp in the mine atmosphere.

Warrant, exceptionally hard rock; or the floor directly beneath the coal seam.

Warren or Warren earth, bind or clunch beneath the coal seam. (Lancs.).

Warwick, a moveable girder set at an angle between the roof and the floor in an inclined roadway to stop any tubs which may have runaway. Also called a ‘Drop Warwick’.

Wash box, -see Coal jig.

Washed smalls, -see Smalls.

Washout, where a section of the seam has been removed and replaced by other rocks, usually sandstone, as a result of peat-scouring by river action in the original coal swamp. Also known as a ‘dumb fault’, ‘horseback’ or ‘rock fault’.

Waste, the area left behind after the coal has been removed. Also areas of old workings and roadways. -see also Goaf and Gob; or a more or less empty space between two packs; or very small coal or slack. (N.East); or a return air-way. (N.East).

Wasteman, a man who travels all the wastes or old workings, clears away falls and attends especially to any obstructions of the ventilation. The ‘Shifter’ is his assistant. (N.East).

Waste coal, coal retrieved from the waste.

Waste drawing or drawing, recovering the props and bars from the waste for re-use.

Wastings, old workings. (Scot.).

Watchers. experienced colliers, usually a butty, who took it in turns to go down the pit with a deputy on Sunday to examine the whole of the workings on behalf or the men. (Leics.).

Water box, a large, usually metal, box slung under the cage to wind water from the sump with each wind. Usually self-filling and emptying.

Waterfall, acirculation of air through a mine produced by allowing water to fall down one of the shafts.

Water-gate, a roadway or gate driven for the purpose of draining a mine, or the lower of two parallel main roadways connecting the workings with the shafts. Also known as a ‘drain’.

Water kist, a water chest, usually mounted on wheels, used to transport water for spraying on dust or to soften the fireclay. Originally constructed from timber, in later years iron tubs were also used. (Scot.). -see also Goose.

Water lane, a term used in Lancashire, c1600, for an adit or sough.

Wax, soft puddled clay used for packing dams and stoppings. The colliers also used it for carrying and holding their candles in place. (Leics.).

Wax dam, a wall or dam packed with clay. (Leics.).

Way, a working district underground. (N.East).

Way cleaner, a boy who clears the dust etc. from the rails along which the putters push the trams. (N.East).

Way dirt, the slack, dust, and any odd lumps of coal that had fallen from the tubs along the roads from the workings to the shaft.

Way gate, -see Rolleyway.

Way end, the junction of the coal face and the conveyor roadway. (S.Staffs.).

Way head, the end of a gate or road at the face. (Mids.).

Wax walls, a thin lining of puddle clay, 9 inches to 1ft thick, on the sides of roadways or for sealing pack walls to prevent spontaneous combustion. (S. Derbys.).

Waz, a tool used by platelayers for the insertion and removal of doggins. (S.Staffs.).

Weawk, an undercut road from the face to the main roadway. (Bacup Lancs).

Web, the plane of the strata or coal seam; or a strip of coal taken off a coalface by a cutter-loader machine; or a strip of coal, either horizontal or vertical, which falls away from the face after the sprags have been knocked out or the coal has been fired; or the depth of cut into the seam on the face made by a pass (or strip) of the power loader or shearer, or the depth of coal taken off a handgot face in one operation, also called a ‘turnover’ or ‘buttock’.

Wedding, the accidental collision between a loaded and empty corf in the pit shaft working with a swinging bont. It was not unusual for a full corf or skip to arrive at the surface with an empty corf entangled with it. (Derbys.).

Wedge, a piece of wood placed between the top of a prop and the roof support bar, not necessarily wedged-shaped. (N.East). -see also Cap, Lid etc.

Wedge capel, -see Capel.

Wedging crib or curb, a ring of wood or iron, which encircles a shaft, bedded on the rock, and on which the tubbing rested.

Wedging out, a coal seam which is thinning or cropping out.

Weight or weighting, A settling and subsidence of the roof after the coal had been worked and removed caused by the pressure exerted by the overlying strata.

Westphalite, an early flameless explosive.

Wet bag, a waterproof bag used to keep explosives dry in wet conditions.

Wet line, a chit from the fireman that allows a man to go up the pit early because he has been working in wet conditions. (Scot.). Sometimes called a ‘wet paper’ or ‘wet note’ in other areas.

Wharr or Wharl, a type of slide or sled for drawing corves in low workings. (N.East).

Wheel a brae. to operate the brake on a cousie, or self acting incline’ a wheel brae. (Scot.).

Wheel clip, see Star clip.

Wheel holes, coal headings kept a yard or two in advance at either end of a face to allow disc coal cutting machines to start cutting.

Wheel machine, a colliers’ name for the early disc coal-cutting machine.

Wheel tree, a large prop to which the pulley of the self acting incline was fastened. (Scot.). Whetstones, inferior coal, often forming the roof of the Middleton Main Coal, (Yorks.).; or a term applied to a quartzitic siltstone sometimes used as a honing material.

Whin, an igneous intrusion; formerly loosely used for any hard rock.

Whim Gin, a hores gin consisting of a cylinder 15 – 20 feet in diameter moving horizontally on its axis having two starts or levers to which one or more horses are attached. (N.East).

Whirley, a hutch or tub. (Scot.).

Whitedamp, another name for afterdamp.

Whol or Whurl, the pulleys or wheels on top of the headgear over which the winding rope passes. (Scot.).

Whole or Whole mine, virgin coal being worked by driving headings. (N.East), or working the whole with headings or stall before taking out the pillars which was known as ‘working the broken’.

Whole coal, a tract of solid coal that has not been entered by any mine workings, also known as ‘virgin coal’.

Whole cradle, a platform or scaffold almost the same diameter as the shaft hung on chains attached to a crab rope from the surface. The platform was situated several feet above the base of a sinking shaft with a trap door in the centre to allow the kibble to pass trough. It was kept in position to protect the men working below from any falling objects.

Wholed, when the cage was over-wound and was taken into the headgear. (Scot.).

Whole flat, a district or panel in the whole working system. (N.East).

Whole working, the first stage of bord and pillar working, i.e. driving the bords and headways. –see also Broken working.

Whole stalls, two or more stalls with their faces in line or on thread with one another. (S.Wales).

Wichet or Wicket, a working place in the form of a wide heading or board, often 60 to 70 feet wide. (N.Wales). –see also Stall.

Wicket work, a pillar and stall system of working with pillars up to 15 yds. and stalls or wickets up to 24 yds.wide. Very similar to ‘single road stall’ working, the main difference being that two roadways were generally carried up each wicket. This method could only be used where there was a good roof. (N.Wales).

Wid, wood, collective name for props, bars, chocks, sprags etc. (Scot.).

Wide bank system, an old method of working used in South Yorkshire. A series of short stalls or banks, 7 to 8 yds. wide with a small pillar 3 to 4 ft. thick between each bank, would be driven to the rise. Each series of' banks would be about 60 yds. wide. Also known as 'wide work'.

Wid road, a road used primarily for transporting materials. (Scot.).

Wild, as applied to coal, blackband, shale etc., means an irregular and inferior seam. (Scot.).

Wild fire, an old miner’s term for firedamp.

Wimble, an auger-like drilling tool used for boring in shales.

Win. A seam of coal is ‘won’ when a shaft being sunk or a drift being driven reaches the seam; or to extract coal by mining (winning the coal); or to open out a district which has been cut off by a fault or some other barrier.

Wind, to raise coal etc. by means of a winding engine; or a single journey of a cage in the shaft; or the ventilation current circulating in a mine.

Windblown coal, -see Set Coal and Winded coal. (N.Staffs.).

Wind bore, the bottom pipe of a shaft ‘pumping tree’, which has a rounded end perforated with holes, It rests on the ground (base of the shaft) standing in water.

Winded coal, coal which has lost its gas.

Winder, the engine that raises or lowers the cage in the shaft; or the man who operates the winding engine.

Winders or Winding man, a person who operates the winding engine. Also called ‘winding enginemen’.

Wind gate or Windway, an underground roadway used specifically for ventilation.

Wind holes, ventilation shafts, often sunk well away from the main colliery shaft, to provide extra ventilation to the mine. (N.East).

Winding, the process of moving the cages or skips up and down in the shaft.

Winding rope sheave, -see Sheave

Windless, a place in the mine where the air is bad or in short supply, also airless. (Derbys.).

Wind road or wind way, a ventilation road underground.

Windy driver. the man who drives a compressed air engine. (Wales).

Windy pick, a compressed air operated percussive pick.

Winged pillar, a pillar which has been reduced in size. (Scot.).

Winning, a pillar of coal with its board, or the recovery of coal by sinking or drifting in coal or stone; or the first coal brought out of a mine; or in early mining, the shaft or pit with its associated fittings and machinery was called ‘a winning’.

Winning headings, the main arterial roadways of the mine forming the main intakes and returns, main haulage roads and main travelling roads. Also called ‘Main roads’.

Wire, the haulage rope. (Wales).

Wood chain, a winding chain used in South Staffordshire, which was five flat iron links in width with small blocks of hard wood filling the spaces between the links.

Wood and Water leaders, boys who carry props and wood to the various parts of the pit and also remove water from the horseways and other parts of the pit and assist the deputies. (N.East).

Wood coal, coal with a fibrous or woody appearance.

Wool, sandy shale or shaley flagstone with irregular curly bedding. (Lancs.).

Worked out, a term applied to an area or mine from where all the economic coal has been extracted.

Work box, a box or tub for transporting coal. (Leics.).

Work home, another phrase meaning ‘to work on retreat’.

Working, the crackling of roof strata prior to it falling.

Working dust, -see ‘Holing Dirt’ .(N.Staffs.).

Workings, the area of a mine from which the coal has been mined, (old workings); or that section of a mine where the coal is being mined.

Wreaths, four short lengths of hemp rope which were looped around the legs of a pony and fastened together over its back to suspend it from the winding rope when lowering or raising the animal in the shaft. (Leics.).

Wrong thing, -see ‘Ronk thing’. (N.Staffs.).

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