Several of my ancestors were involved in mining in the Billinge and St Helens areas. I would like to find out more about my great, great grandfather who was a mining surveyor. I have a faint photocopy of plans of mines with his name on but I do not know who he worked for and where he worked after this date. Would he have served an apprenticeship?
The plan is for Chapel House Colliery and it details the amounts of coal extracted in 1872.
The signatures are for Peter Marsh and my ancestor William Callon.
William died in 1885 and was in St Helens at that time. His widow was left with several young children, some of whom also worked in the mines.
I hope you can answer some of these questions about William Callon.
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This sheet relates to the coal extracted from measurements taken from Mr Marsh's plan. This would appear to me to be Peter's father as Peter is listed below with Wm Callon as working out the same. The figures are worked out from a plan dated Oct 29th 1872.
The coal was valued at 90 per acre royalty and the calculations of each heading/roadway is shown in acres roods perches and sq yards. Over one acre was worked as you can see and 108 in round figures was paid. The period was from 1st May 1872 to 1 Nov 1872.
Messrs Johnson owned the mine and it was worked by Edward Smith.
I would like to find out where the mine was and how my ancestor would become a surveyor. Would he have been an apprentice or would he have had to have a better education to start this work? Was he freelance or was he attached to just one employer? After living in Billinge he later lived in St Helens with his family and so may have been involved in other pits. He died of TB when fairly young and so I guess this was due to working in mines from a young age.
The mine does not seem to be mentioned on the list I looked at on the website. Was it a very small pit?
I have noticed that there are the words 'Farrimonds Pits', Messrs Johnson and South seem to be the owners and the words 'redialled Oct 8th 1872' occur on one page just above my ancestor's name. Are you able to explain what this means?
With your expertise and interests, I hope you can shed some light!
I think it is Johnson and Smith.
I would reiterate that Peter would have been taught by his father who no doubt was an educated man and was already a surveyor of mines in a freelance way. After the 1850s it was deemed that mine workings should be surveyed and accurate plans made at least twice a year. However lots of these type of headings could be worked and sealed off as not in use in between survey visits. Unfortunately this happened frequently throughout the country and many workings were missed. Surveys were later required to be made every 3 months.
As you have probably noticed the only thing the mine owners or lessees were interested in was the payment per half year in royalties.
Mine managers prior to the 1872 Mines Act were not qualified by exam, only by practice and examinations for a First Class Certificate of Competency were in place by 1873 albeit that those managers practicing were granted Service Certificates. Likewise for Undermanagers from 1887 and it was not until the 1911 Coal Mines Act that from 1912 Surveyors were required to have passed an exam, later both academically in theory and also by a practical examination using instruments, calculations and drawing plans. Competent practicing Surveyors were granted Service Certificates.
Note there would be only one Chief Surveyor for a Company who would have assistants and he would be responsible for all surveys and plans for all the pits owned by that Company. Again similarly a freelance Surveyor working for several Companies would also require at least one assistant.
The reason for the statement you mention regarding a re-survey was probably when the survey information was interpreted and plotted on the plan of the mine it may not have looked right and an error had been made necessitating a further visit to survey part of the mine again. Or, in some cases the surface owner who had the rights to work coal may have requested it where a royalty payment for working under their land seemed insufficient or again possibly there was a change in plan at the mine and help was required in setting out new roadways etc.
Dying of TB at an early age was commonplace at one time but as you rightly say it could be due to working in the mines. These shallow mines would be very cold, wet or damp and low and foul air as the air current in the headings would be stagnant at times. Notgood for one's health. I have experienced a couple of these type of mines in my career but they were drift mines.
I hope that has as you say 'shed some light'.