BORD AND PILLAR. The bord and pillar method of working coal is perhaps the first systematized method practised.
In this method narrow roads are driven in the coal seam so as to form pillars, which are subsequently removed. The term bord and pillar is of north of England origin, the system of working being known in other districts as "stoop and room" (Scotland), "pillar and stall" (Midlands), and sometimes merely as "narrow work." "Bord" is an old Saxon word for road.
In most coal seams the coal is possessed of a very definite cleavage (cleat), smooth facings or partings which run through the seam in two directions at right angles to each other, one set of cleavages, termed the "bordways cleat," being more pro nounced than the other. The roads (bords) driven at right angles to it are made wider than the other roads or "walls," as the coal got thereby is larger in size. The driving of the bords and walls to form the pillars is termed "working in the whole" or the "first working," the succeeding process, the removal of the pillars, being known as "working in the broken" or "broken working." At the beginning of the last century, according to John Buddle ("Mining Records 1838"), the pillars were being made 6yd. by 22yd., and only 452% of the seam was got. In 1809 Buddle introduced an improvement in the working of bord and pillar by leaving barriers of solid coal round each district, and the name of "panel work" was given to the improved method.
At first the pillars were not removed, then later they were partially worked off ; but for 1 oo years or more it has been the practice to work off the pillars entirely, for which purpose they are made much larger.
"Wide work," a system of working practised in the getting of the "thick coal" or "ten yard" seam of south Staffordshire, is a modification of bord and pillar, but is much more complicated. Under this method there may be four, five or even six separate workings.