Glossary of Terms


Airways Tunnels made for the sole purpose  of carrying fresh air to the miners 
Anthracite The type of coal found in Castlecomer
Bank The surface at the mouth of the mine
Baths Showers, lockers and changing rooms that were installed to improve working conditions
Bells heap The large heap of slack and stones that were of no commercial value (at the time)
Big flat  Large Underground roadway where trams converged from smaller tunnels before being sent to the surface  
Bobs Walls built with stone where the coal is taken out.
Bore hole Exploration hole that was drilled into the earth to determine the mineral / coal content
Breaker Large machine for breaking coal
Buffer  A piece of hard timber on both ends of the trams or road maker.
Bull A bar fitted to the back of a team to keep it from slipping back down the pit.
Buzzer The buzzer or hooter was a siren that sounded when the shifts were changing or when there was an accident.
Candles Wax candles provided the miner with light 
Cannel Small particles of coal and stone in one lump
Car men Men who transported the coal by horse & cart to the customer
Carbide Chemical / mineral which emits flammable gas when mixed with water. Used in lamps.
Carred Transported by horse & cart
Cart  A wheeled vehicle for carrying loads, pulled by a horse
Carter Slang for car men , coal carter
Catbrook Name of a section of a mine
Chain The chain was attached to the trams and would be hooked onto the endless rope. 
Coal A hard black fossil fuel
Coal bumb Oval shaped, handmade fuel made by mixing coal dust & yellow clay or cow dung
Coal cutter Mechanical implement used for cutting a coal seam
Coal face The actual part of the mine where you meet the coal 
Coal seam A layer of coal  
Coil The coil on the drum of the hauler would tell the hauling man where the rounds of coal were. Sometimes the rope would be nearly a mile long and this was the only way they had of tracking where the round was
Colliery Another name for a mine 
Colm Small particles of coal
Company The owners of the mine
Conveyor belt A continuous moving belt on which coal was carried
Coupling Used for attaching one box to another until you had 34 boxes coupled together. That was called a "round" of coal.
Creeper The creeper was the gadget that carried five boxes of stone up to the top of Bell's Heap.  
Crusher The crusher was used to crush the soft slate into culm.
Cutter Mechanical "saw" like implement for cutting the coal.  
Cuttermen The men that cut the coal.
Dancing Jumping on a mixture of culm and yellow clay to make bumbs
Deerpark One of the main mines in the Castlecomer area It lasted longer than any other mine 1928-1969
Detonator Put into the gelignite stick (explosive) and set alight.
Drift Drift or tunnels to different sections of the pit.
Drill Implement for boring holes into the coal or stone.
Endless rope The endless rope was a continuous steel rope which hauled the trams in and out of the mine
Fault A fault was where there was a movement in the earths crust causing a break in the layer of coal, one part of it moving up or down. When working on a seam of coal the miner would suddenly meet rock and would have to tunnel up or down to meet the continuation of the seam
Fireman The foreman or man in charge.
Firing Men delivering coal with horse & cart were said to be "Firing"
Flat sheet 3ft. square piece of iron used for turning boxes in roads near the coal face.
Fillers Men who load the coal into the trams.
Foreman Person in charge of a workforce  
Forge Place where a blacksmith worked
Fork drift Another name for Copley's, the last work area in the Deerpark.
Gelignite Explosive used for blasting coal.
Generator Machine for making electricity
Girder A metal beam supporting structure
Glade Store down in the pit
Gobbin road A gobbin road was a worked out area in the pit used as a toilet 
Greaser Built in between the tram rails to grease the trams. 
Grids For screening coal.
Gum A sticky substance beneath the coal seam that had to be removed before the coal could be extracted.
Gunning trams When the place of work was hilly, a gun, was a poker shaped bar stuck in the wheels of the trams to slow them down
Hand-winch A device on which there was a rope that was wound by hand to pull trams out of the mine.
Haulers Men or boys that hauled the trams of coal to the surface  or a machine for winding a rope to pull the boxes of coal.
Head gear The tall pulley like structure at  the mouth of a mine
Helmets Head protection hat worn by miner 
Hurriers Men or boys that helped the haulers by pushing the trams of coal 
Jigger For rooting out the coal where there was no coal cutter.
Jobbing Carrying out various tasks as requested by boss- mostly light jobs 
Jowling The miner would tap the roof with his hammer to check it for safety.
Lamps Light giving objects
Lids Small bits of timber that the miners sat on when having their lunch to keep their backsides dry.
Landing Level area at the mouth of the mine where trams were hauled to and the coal graded for sale on the market. 
Lockers Closets  where the miner kept their clothes, one for clean clothes, one for pit clothes   
Magazine This was the strong shed where the caps, detonators and gelignite were stored 
Marine band A thin layer of coal about 10yds above the main seam. 
Meet A man-made hole in the side of the road where the miners would stand in to let the trams go by.
Miner Person working underground extracting minerals
Miners disease A breathing disorder caused by continuous inhalation of coal dust - known as "Pneumoconiosis"
Mining agent Person in charge of the sale of coal
Mining office Office that dealt with sales and wages
Mouth The entrance to a mine.
Nosebag A sack or bag tied around a horses' head containing food
Open- cast Form of mining where the earth was stripped back with large machinery and the coal dug out
Park yard The coal yard at Deerpark mines
Pick Miners tool for loosening coal and earth
Pit Another word for mine
Play When the steel rope hauling the trams out of the mine breaks
Prop Timber support used for keeping up the roof of a mine
Pump house Building where water pumps were operated
Pumpways Pipes running along mines for the purpose of extracting water 
Rat Rodent, generally a pest but also the miners best friend
Ration A free allowance of coal given to miners as a bonus 
Rock pit The name of a local mine
Roadmakers Men whose job it was to actually make the tunnels to the coal face where the trams could travel  
Rope-man The rope-man was the man who put the trams on the endless rope and brought them to different sections of the pit.
Rounds 34 boxes (trams) of coal.
Scraper Used for cleaning the roads.
Screening plant  Area where coal was separated into  different sizes
Shuttin Term that described  a roof collapse
Slate Form of rock
Sledge A heavy hammer
Sleepers Heavy lengths of wood on which rail tracks were placed
Squeeze When the roof was bad on the coalface a "squeeze" would take place. It was very dangerous!
Surface Hand Person who worked over ground  
Switch Part of the tramline where trams could be switched from one track to another. 
Sylvester A hand held "lever like" implement used for moving a load  
Tail rope Used when there were hills on the road to hold back the boxes from running into one another.
Time Office Office where hours worked by miners was recorded
Top switch A particular switch where trams were moved from one track to another
Tracks Steel rails on which the trams traveled
Tram  Container on wheels used for transporting the coal to the surface 
Tram- rail Steel rails on which the trams traveled
Tramline Steel rails on which the trams traveled
Trammers Men or boys who push, load and empty the trams.
Tunnel An underground road or passage
Tunnell hill An area just inside the mouth of the Deerpark mine going straight down to the Big Flat
Undermining Digging out the substance that lay beneath the seam of coal so that the coal would drop down
Wagon Carriage pulled behind a train filled with coal
Wagon master His job was to position the wagons under the landing where they were loaded with coal
Wandesforde The name of the Landlords that owned the mines 
Wash-out At some time in the past when the coal was still vegetable matter, a lake or an old river flowed in, pushing out the material which could have become coal and laid down sand which became sandstone. This is common in coal-fields and a ‘’ wash-out ‘’may be quite small or very large
Washer Area for washing the coal.
Weigh Bridge Place where cars and carriages of coal were weighed
Workers voice A Trade Union magazine

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