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A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Family Histories > Occupations & Trades > Pitheadman


also Banksman

The pitheadman was in charge of the workers employed at the pithead and was responsible for overseeing the unloading of the hutches and weighing of shale at the pithead. He was observed by a checkweighman who was employed by the miners to ensure that the hutches were fairly weighed.

Wages & Working Hours

The Board of Trade Census of Wages conducted in 1886 records that a pitheadman earned an average weekly wage of 23s 11d. The report states that these men generally worked from 54 to 57 hours per week, exclusive of meal times.

In 1958, an Agreement Between the Scottish Shale Oil Companies and the National Union of Shale Miners & Oil Workers records that above ground workers handling shale worked an 11 day fortnight averaging 40.5 hours per week.


"The hutches are weighed and the weight credited to the 'placeman' or contractor who has sent them up, a piece of leather, tin, or other material of particular shape attached to one of the rings of the hutch being the pitheadman's invoice, or label indicating name of sender. The designs and shapes of these labels or 'pins' are mystifying to those not experienced in mining affairs but it is of rare occurrence to hear of a pitheadman having made a mistake in crediting a hutch." The Oil-Shales of the Lothians, 3rd Edition, 1927

"I got a job in the pithead taking the full hutches off the cages, where you had to steady them over the weighbridge and take the tokens off the hutch to let the people know who the hutch belonged to and then the hutches were sent on to the tumbler and loaded into wagons for despatch to Oakbank at that time, and Addiewell." MG, Pitheadman

Additional Resources

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