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Mining Checks, Tallies, Tokens & Medals
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Modified Welsh Polo Checks

I don’t know if any other collectors have noticed the following or can throw any light on it or the reasons behind it?

Over the years I have noticed several Welsh Polo Lamp Checks which have been purposely modified via the cutting of a wedge shaped gusset from their outer edge that typically extends 60 to 75% of the way to the inner edge. Sometimes the gusset has been cut out very precisely with what I can only assume was a metal saw blade. Other times the edges appear more ragged as if roughly chiselled out. Such modifications appear to be mainly on examples of the larger diameter (i.e. 53.5 mm dia.) type Polos and can be found on checks originating different pits within the South Wales Coalfield. A typical example of one such Polo check (Glamorgan Coal Company, Llwynypia Pits) is shown below

I have see too many of these altered Polos bearing this later alteration for it just to be coincidence. The gussets were obviously made for a common purpose but what could this have been and why? Can anyone else throw any further light on this subject or sight examples of similar modified Polo’s they have seen, stating if on the larger or smaller diameter check type?


Mark Smith

Re: Modified Welsh Polo Checks

Hi Mark
I have quite a collection of both large and regular Welsh Polos, but this is the first time I have come across these modifications.
There is more than one pit involved, so it cannot be a site specific reason, such as a stack of spacers used to level a mackine up (and yes I have come across this!) or to operate a swictch on a site specific piece of equipment.
I just wonder if it was used on a modified dotto clocking in machine, where the check inserted allowed the collier to punch in his number.

Re: Modified Welsh Polo Checks

When I worked at the pits in Kent many of us used our checks to slice open our oranges! Now a Tilmanstone pear shaped check was awkward to use but a hexagonal check was sometimes handed round that worked much better. So did these notched Polos turn it into a handy little gadgets for something? Just a thought.

Re: Modified Welsh Polo Checks

Before getting rid of my polo checks I can remember having at least a couple of the larger examples with this sort of wedge shape cut out of them.