List of words “used” in the Cornish tin mines


W-Z words



Any wheeled vehicle constructed or adapted to carry a load.
Bottom Dump Wagon – A wagon running on track that discharges its load by the floor of the wagon opening.
End Dump Wagon – Any wagon that discharges its load by either the whole wagon or the butt being tipped up at one end; the discharge end can either be angled upwards or be provided with an opening door to contain the load until tipped. 
Flatbed Wagon – Term used for any wagon with a plain flat bed of either plank or a steel sheet used for transporting equipment, lengths of timber, rails, pipes or similar materials. (see also Flatbed)
Granby Wagon – A wagon running on track that discharges its load from one side by means of a system of levers that tips up the floor as the side opens up.
Powder Wagon – Any wagon fitted to carry explosive, having a non ferrous lockable body.
RockFlo™ Wagon – See under RockFlo™ Wagon
Side Dump Wagon – Wagons of various sizes and body end profile shape that discharge their load by being tipped sideways. Larger wagons have retaining lugs to prevent the wagon butt rolling over by accident. At SC the wagons up to the mid 1960’s were U-shaped and of 15 and 20 cu.ft. capacity. Later wagons have a UV-shape and are of 20, 40 and 60 cu.ft. capacity. The larger wagons are generally tipped with mechanical aid but the small ones are relatively simple for a person to tip unaided.      


General term for the sides of a drive, stope or other underground excavation.
Foot Wall – The side of a lode, and therefore any stope, that tends to be    underfoot; the lower side when looked at end-on.
Hanging Wall – The side of a lode, and stope, that tends to be overhead; the upper side when looked at end-on.
Side Wall – The sides of a drive, inter or other excavation underground.
Wall Plate – The horizontal timbers of a square-set timber shaft set that are positioned along the long axis of the construction.

warrick a metal bar suspended from roof of drive to floor, near to shaft or in decline to prevent run away wagons etc from going any further, which can be raised or lowered.
Warwick Prop

A device that acts as a crash stop to prevent a wagon or other rolling stock from    uncontrolled entry to a shaft, decline or other situation. The device is a stout rail   lowered at an angle from the roof into the middle of a set of track. A counterweight or ram allows the rail to be lifted when passage is required past the obstruction.

Wash  (ing)

To use a hose connected to the water reticulation system for cleaning areas or specific places
Wash Down – Task undertaken as soon as ventilation allows after blasting to damp down dust and expose any obvious dangers, for instance loose ground, holes with wires emerging from them.
Wash Out – As above but specifically to examine all sockets left after blasting to check if any explosives remain within them.


Broken rock containing no ore worth recovering, such as that produced in mining crosscuts, footwall drives, drawpoints, low grade sections of development drives, shafts, passes, excavations for pump chambers, etc.
Waste Dump – The place where waste is to be dumped to avoid mixing it with ore destined for further milling and concentrating.
Waste Pass – The holes taking waste from a dump to a crusher and skip loading pocket for hoisting separately to surface in situations where it cannot be left underground.


There are two separate systems for water underground, though all water    ultimately runs back through gutters to pumps for removal out of the mine. None of the water produced underground is particularly potable, some being positively foul and heavily contaminated with various salts and metals.
Drilling Water – Mine water that has been diverted from the pumping system, allowed to settle and introduced into pipes for re-use as water under pressure for use in rock drills to kill dust at source and keep the holes clean, also used for washing down, etc. 
Water Needle – A long hollow tube within a rock drill that conducts water from the supply hose to the central hole within all drill steel used for rock drill operations .


A rectangle of wood or steel, triangular in cross section used to keep two   surfaces apart or tighten one piece against another to prevent movement
Wedge & Feathers – Tools generally used to crack rock apart. The larger wedge with a coarse angle is hammered tight in a crack or hole, then feathers, very thin wedges with extremely fine angles are hammered in either side of the wedge and the inexorable tension so created might (!) split the rock apart. Often used in series of two, three or more sets.
Eye Peg Wedge – The small steel wedge inserted in the longitudinal split in the end of the eye peg that is inserted in the drill hole. When the eye peg is hammered in the hole the wedge forces open the split against the hole sides and effectively jams the peg securely within the hole
Timber Wedge – Wedges made from off-cuts of reasonably good timber, of varied sizes, widths and angles for use in securing support work, chutes and a host of other applications.


Term used in Cornwall for a mine  (See also ‘Bal’)


Originally a wooden vehicle with one wheel and narrow bed used to move rock broken by mining from a face or stope. Standard steel barrows were used up to the 70’s for hand mucking long inters.


Term used for a winding engine used to hoist skips or cages in shafts.
Whim Driver – The operator of a whim engine
Whim Engine – The machine, whether steam or electric, that hoists or lowers skips and cages by means of drums on which the ropes are wound/unwound.
Whim House – The structure in which a whim is housed
Whim Man – Another term for the driver of a whim


A machine, usually with one horizontal drum, on which a rope is wound or

the machine that lowers & hoist the cage in the shaft or the wagons on the decline.


General term for a mechanical hoist incorporating a drum or drums on which ropes are wound/unwound. (also Whim, Winding Engine)
Decline Winder – A Winding engine, usually with a single drum used to hoist or lower wagons running on track in a decline. This is also down as a Rope Haulage System
Winder Driver – The person operating a Winding Engine
Winder House – The building in which a winding engine is housed to protect it from the elements.
Skip Winder – A winding engine used to hoist or lower a skip or skips in a shaft.
Spillage Winder – A small hoist used to hoist and lower a bucket within the lower   section of a shaft to remove spillage from skip loading to a dump into the rock hoisting system

Winding Engine

The legal term for a mechanical hoist used to raise and lower skips, cages or wagons by means of ropes wound onto a drum or drums.


A drum, usually horizontal, onto which a rope is wound to pull an object towards it. The power can be provided by any means, including manually.

winze mined ‘hole’ sunk down.


An excavation sunk vertically, or almost vertically, downwards within the    underground confines of a mine. A small shaft to explore ground below.


Another term for Tungsten, a hard metal used for drill bits, etc. and mined commercially in some Cornish mines.

Yerts  (Yurts)

Lengths of leather, string or similar material tied just below the knee to keep the knee area of trousers loose. Much used formally to ease bending the knees when shovelling and working on one’s knees. 

Peter Hughes has supplied words of this colour
D.C.Williams at Exeter University, better known as Gus. has supplied words of this colour
The remainder are supplied by Michael Davis