More about Mining

Many of the young men who had been involved in the mining industry were employed as “pit pony drivers” who looked after and worked the ponies that pulled the coal tubs.. All of the jobs in mining were arduous but the drivers roles were felt to be suitable for younger people.
In the early years of mining younger children were employed as “thrusters” who moved the coal tubs by pushing with their heads. Older children were “hurriers” who pulled the tubs.
Several of the men and most their fathers had become “hewers”. A hewer was the actual coal-digger. Whether the seam was so thin that he could hardly creep into it on hands and knees, or whether it was thick enough for him to stand upright, he was the responsible for loosening the coal from the bed.
The “stall” system of removing coal was used from the late 19th century until the 1930s. Stalls were marked out in lengths of 8 yards and were worked by two collier hewers and a fitter. This was extremely difficult work. The collier had to lie on his side and hack about a foot high of coal inward for 5ft -6 ft. propping up as he went with wooden “spraggs” Many of the older colliers had dark blue markings under the skin from long term bruising. When the spraggs were knocked out the coal fell down and was then loaded on to the tubs. Each tub had a stall number or “motty” attached to it. These were weighed by the “weigh man” employed by the mine owner and the “check weigh man” employed by the colliers.
In some of the family histories there are references to being employed as a “deputy”
He can be compared to a supervisor, he was responsible for an area of the pit underground. He would walk the roadways and crawl along the coal face where men were working. He would be supervising all aspects of their work and mostly stop and speak to the men on his area – often called a district. There would be a deputy on that district/area every shift and they would “hand over” to each other.
Although an official, he would mostly be part of the team and would be part of the community above ground.
He would have a senior man higher than himself, that person being an Overman who would be responsible for a wider area/districts.
A deputy would almost certainly have started work down the pit as a miner and worked his way up to being a Deputy. i.e. Deputy to the manager.