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The Words of Work

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I'm interested in the language of the workplaces in St. Helens but I can't find a thread that appears to address it. If there is, please give me a nudge. The usual swear words don't interest me

Here's an outline example from Education; the process of learning. We all are so familiar with it that my example will soon send you to sleep. The place in which the teacher works is called a classroom which is part of a school. The 'raw material' is the children, more specifically, the pupils. What kit does the teacher use? Does it have specialised words and what were the slang word shared by teachers and pupils. In a school 'breaks' are at interval of about an hour. Teachers have a detailed 'technical' vocabulary which they us to describe their 'kit'. There are no longer blackboards but there may still be whiteboards with all those special felt tips and cleaning stuff.

So, if you were involved in , for example, glassmaking what were the words to,

  • label the room or section in which you did your job,
  • label the raw materials,
  • the 'hierarchy' of skills and responsibilities,
  • label the chunk of the process you completed and that of the next process
  • denote the cock-ups or their consequences
  • and a lot more...

Just the same applies to mining or pill making. I'm not too bothered about jobs that happened in more or less the same way all over the place, (like education or shop work or undertaking )  but those that we once took for granted in our distinctive industries.. I've referred to glass and pharmaceuticals and obviously coal mining and quarrying should be on that list. Because I'm a long time exile and whose dad worked on the railways and ancestors on the canal barges of the midlands  I don't have any 'starters for ten' which I picked up from him that are St. Helens 'typicals. For all I know there may be other trades that were pretty distinctive of our town that I've either forgotten or never knew about.

I'm asking about this for two reasons. First, it's lovely - more than that it's a really satisfying pleasure just to remember and hear and have explained all those 'craft' terms, but it is also, literally 'enlightening'. The language of work "WORK WORDS" is ephemeral and unless we get it down NOW it will end of in the same dustbin as the occupational words used in the sedan chair industry, both  manufacturing and carrying.

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First of all Welcome to the forum !  you might have to give us examples of the kind of thing you are looking for  ? When I was working in America the whole Factory erupted into laughter when I said a shaft wanted moving "a bugs dick "  because they had never heard anything like that before but we always said it here in the UK !! 

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That is an Engineering term, like the quantities "a boat load"... "shedfull" and "slack handfull". Common in local industry.

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Bullions and Cullot are glass making terms,also a Witness is an engineering term and Dross is waste material.

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6 hours ago, Dig said:

Dross is waste material.

Or Swarf if its Metal cuttings 

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"Doggie metal", stones (inclusions),backend break.

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In 1972 I worked for a while at Dentons Green cemetery with a nice old man by the name of George, a gardener  who was well in his sixties ( although younger than I am now ).He had been a farm hand most of life in Rainford ,and must have had some fine stories to tell,but to my regret I only stayed there for 6 months and so missed some great tales .Dinner time was always known as "Baggin" tme ,and any amount greater than a barrowful used to repair turfed sections was known as a "Jag" of soil.

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As kids in Haydock, we used the word 'jag' or 'jags' to mean a lot or great number of anything. Don't know where it came from but I suspect it's from the coal mining industry as that's all there was for work in Haydock for a great length of time.

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To "be on a jag" or "go on a jag" means to be completely unrestrained, whether you're on a drinking jag or a crying jag. This second meaning is of U.S. origin, first meaning "a load of hay or wood," and later "as much drink as a man can hold," in the 17th century.

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As an engineer many moons ago, the particular areas of work were called "shops" i.e. fitting shop, welding shop, turning shop, etc.

Mistakes were referred to as clangers or some one dropping a bollock.

When something didn't quite fit together, it was  bug's widger away.

When someone dropped a " clanger" and something didn't fit by a fairly large margin, it was referred to as fitting "like a turd in a bucket".

 

 

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Doing a foreigner,doing a job on the side.

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At Beechams they used to call it a "Nixer " 

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My Grandad ,although born in Brynn lived in St Helens from early childhood for all of his life .A term he used to describe someone unpleasant or obnoxious was a "Yaw Baw".Is that St Helens, or Wiganese?.

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The term shop referring to a particular work area is just an abbreviation of Workshop

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