Silverwood Logo by John Doxey background photo Mick Carver1900 - 1994

Dedicated to the Miners of Silverwood

History of the Mine


Silverwood Mine

Hollings Lane


South Yorkshire England

Webmaster John Doxey

Main Photos Jonathan Dabs.




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A presentation by Bruce Wilson,  Fred Spencer, John Waller, Keith Barraclough.


Mining like most industries had its own language, often the terms and variations of those terms found their way into everyday language. So here below are some of those terms with explanations by ex  miners.

Air Range Bruce Wilson

Down the side of the roadway steel pipes upto4 feet in diameter from the pit bottom to destination ( carrying compressed air for air tools etc all over the Pit )
Old Mail Plain Bruce Wilson

An old roadway that took men and supplies etc to the coalface in its day. sometimes old roadways were opened up years later, and developments were taken off them I.E. Silverwood had Braithwell 1 and 2, both which I worked in. The old Mail Plane, in which the Paddy Mail disaster happened in was called Braithwell 2 development ,it went inbye for about 1/2 mile then a drift was taken down, from the side wall off old workings.

Drift Bruce Wilson

A steep hill downwards. These drifts were sometimes that steep you would have difficulty walking up them, God would your legs ache, To give you an idea, think of the steepest hill you know off, times it by 10, add a bit more then try walking up it, some of these drifts were like cliffs they had paddy mails on them, it was the only way out of the Pit.

Stoppings Bruce Wilson

Old workings were sealed off, usually with anything available, bricks etc, sealing off old workings.
Inbye Bruce Wilson

Towards the coal face, away from the pit bottom.
Outbye Bruce Wilson

Towards the pit bottom ,away from the coal face.
Loadergate Bruce Wilson

To each face 2 means off approach loader gate where the air is sent in (temperature, cool) another name is

Maingate. Bruce Wilson

Loadergate rip. Bruce Wilson

Where the roadway ended and the rippers were setting roof supports etc.

Tailgate Return. Bruce Wilson

Where the air supply was coming off the coalface, and it could be hot I can tell you, more uncomfortable than any beach in Spain the air was so still ,no movement you were continually drinking from your water bottle, or
Dudley Bruce Wilson

 A Dudley, looked like something the cowboys used to carry, a metal circular water bottle) see picture above of old workings at Silverwood there is a dudley in the drawing.

Passbye. Bruce Wilson

Underground locomotives tracks, now and then you would get a passbye. sidings, the loco guard would throw points and you would put supplies in for later ,off the main track

Skelly, Bruce Wilson

A flat mine car/ tub

Gob, Bruce Wilson

As the coalface  moved forward leaving a void behind where there was once was coal

Ligged out Bruce Wilson

Having a nap [ Sleep ]

Wrapping wires Bruce Wilson

Signal wires  fixed on the old props. if you touched the wires together with a piece of metal you'd make a circuit and hundreds of yards away someone would hear a bell ring, a signalling system used down the pit, probably to this day.

Motty. Bruce Wilson
In the days of private ownership  the colliers had motties, small pieces of cast metal with a number on them, when they filled a tub full of coal they'd put their "motty" on it, the coal was then paid to them. The ones I found in the old workings in the old Barnsley workings, which dated from the 1920, and 1930,s were a club shape, like in a pack of cards, or like a flower with 3 petals on, about 1 and half inches in diameter and a number in the middle.

Packs Fred Spencer

stone walls on the coal face, was an essential means of supporting the roof, after other supports had been removed. Such walls, known as “packs” had to withstand tremendous pressure, as the strata above, lowered to replace the void left in its midst, where the seam of coal had been removed.

Gaffer John Waller

Boss, Modern washing is a highly refined process, but in the days of hand cutting the first process was for the coal to pass across large picking tables where rows of men picked out any stone. Above the tables ran a walkway gantry where the gaffer stood with a long stick. Any man missing a stone had it pointed out to him with the stick - or

Gaff. John Waller

 A long stick.
Snap Tin Saw John Waller

To cut the wood used underground to length most pits had a large circular saw in the pit bottom area. Some had two and I think that Silverwood was one of them (CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG) that has a snap tin saw whose sole purpose was to trim prop wood to the correct size to fit in a snap tin (a snap tin was a sandwich box) - sandwiches go down the pit and a block of wood comes out in the same tin!

Baggins John Waller

Machinery was driven by compressed air & the supply hoses were widely known as bags or baggings"

Gun John Waller

Compressed air picks

Jubilee Keith Barraclough

 Dried coal dust,

Fire damp or marsh gas

 Carburetted hydrogen within the mine
Choke damp or black damp 

 Carbon dioxide within the mine
White damp

 Sulphuretted hydrogen within the mine
Carbon monoxide

within the mine

Many thanks to Bruce Wilson for his contributions to this site

Other pages by Bruce

Bruce Wilson

Tales from the Mine

The Miners Return

Silverwood Ghost




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