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A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Family Histories > Occupations & Trades > Bottomer


also Pit Bottomer, Pit Bottom Assistant, Bellman, Cager, Bottom Cager, Signalman


Bottomer at Westwood Pit c.1924 (R13-00035.005)


A bottomer was an individual employed at the bottom of a shaft who was in charge of the proper loading of cages into the pit cage and who would signal for the cage to be hoisted.

Working as a pit bottomer was the first job M.G., as a boy of 14, was given in the mines. He did this job for 6 months before being moved further into the mine to work on the endless haulage which transported the empty and full hutches to and from the miner's workplace.

Wages & Working Hours

The average weekly wage for a bottomer in 1886 was 24s 5d (Board of Trade Census of Wages).

By 1912, the Scottish Mineral Oil Association Report records that a bottomer received 5s 7d per shift. The report states that most underground workers, with the exception of miners and drawers, worked between 54 and 60 hours per week.

In 1958, according to an Agreement Between the Scottish Shale Oil Companies and the National Union of Shale Miners & Oil Workers, bottomers earned a minimum of 29s 3d per shift and worked an 11 day fortnight averaging 40.5 hours per week.


"I was employed at the pit bottom taking the empty hutches off the cages, and putting them on a creeper to take them up an incline, to be distributed to the different sections in the mine, or the pit".

MG, Bottomer, Westwood Pit, 1927

Additional Resources

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