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General & Collecting News
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Banksmen and onsetters


could anyone please tell me whether there would have been as many onsetters working at a pit as there were
Banksmen, or would there have been more of the latter?

Thanks alot


Re: Banksmen and onsetters

No hard and fast rule. In a pit where shafts only accessed one level at pit bottom, there would normally be one of each on duty per shaft at any given time.

Many pits wound men, coal and supplies to two, three or more different levels ("landings") within the same shaft or shafts, each landing requiring its own onsetter, but still only one banksman in charge at the pithead.

I hope this helps, Rob

Re: Banksmen and onsetters

HI RON, different pits and different era's had different ways, at wistow in the selby coalfield the 2 banksmen were winders or the winders were banksmen, which ever way you want it, they were officially classed as winders and paid accordingly with a bit of premium rate but did both jobs, they run the winder from the banksmans cabin all by button and did the bankmans duties with men and materials, the only time when one really went up into tower and wind off sticks were when cappling or large abnormal loads had to travel the shaft. hope this helps...dayoil.

Re: Banksmen and onsetters


thanks alot for the replies.Were the different landings in a shaft for different seams that were being worked?



Re: Banksmen and onsetters

only one seam worked, barnsley seam, 14 ft thick but only took 8 ft. only open 20 yrs, another seam there about 8ft thick and millions of tons of coal, all left, when closed coal was about £30 per tonne so it was classed as not economical enough by rjb mining / uk coal, private companies only think about profit, coal then rose to £100 per tonne but it was too late, its now dropped back to about £60. when they announced the closure of the selby coalfield it lost £30 million for the year, same time as leeds united sold rio ferdinad to man utd for £30 million,...mad isnt it.

Re: Banksmen and onsetters

The Banksman was at the top of the shaft and the Onsetter was at the bottom of the shaft if you had one you had to have the other. Each indicated to the Winding Engineman, who had no sight of the shaft, by pressing a button a number of times "raps" whether there were men in the cage or materials or coal. This told the Engineman what speed to wind at, obviously when men were in the cage this was the slowest speed and when coal was coming out of the pit the fastest speed. Also the Banksman indicated with raps at what level he wanted the cage to stop at because there were different levels for different seams, bit like a lift in a big city store but the Banksman indicated which "floor"