> Mining History Museums in the UK
Mining History Museums in the UK
The following mining history museums are located across the UK and have been suggested by AditNow members.
North West England
Haig Colliery Mining Museum
Solway Road, Kells, Whitehaven, Cumbria CA28 9BG
Perched on the cliff tops at Whitehaven, this museum is essential for any vistor to the area interested in mining history. Its primary focus is coal mining, especially in the vicinty of Whitehaven. Entry is free (though a donation is welcome) and it is open all year round.
Keswick Mining Museum
Otley House, Otley Road, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5LE
Mineral collections for all to see.
National Coal Mining Museum for England
Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, Yorkshire WF4 4RH
Has four zones. Visitors, museum, learning, corporate.
Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre
Nenthead, Alston, Cumbria CA9 3PD
01434 382726 or 382037
A museum dedicated to both showing and telling the 'story' of the mineral mining past of the North Pennines. Prepare to launch on a voyage of discovery at Nenthead Mines, learning more about the people, places, tools, lifestyle, and legacy of the mining industry that at one time completely dominated the landscape of the North Pennines!
North of England Lead Mining Museum
Killhope, Cowshill, Upper Weardale, Co Durham DL13 1AR
A visit to Killhope, the North of England Lead Mining Museum, is a unique and unforgettable experience. Killhope is a fully restored nineteenth century lead mine, where you experience for yourself the life and work of the lead mining families of the Pennine dales. Killhope winner of the Family Friendly Museum of the Year, Most Welcoming Experience and Outstanding Customer Service Siver Award, will make sure you get the most from your visit. Killhope is famous for its huge working waterwheel, but there is much more to Killhope than a waterwheel. You experience the "mineshop" where miners lived for the week and slept three and four to a bed. You work as a "washerboy" separating lead ore from waste. You see the working machinery which Fred Dibnah admired in the "jigger house". But above all, Killhope's award-winning mine tour is unique.
Yorkshire Dales Mining Museum
Old Grammer School, School Lane, Earby, Barnoldswick, Lancs BB8 6QF
Largest collection of mining relics in the world. Collection of minerals. Tea room.
North East England
The Tom Leonard Mining Museum
Deepdale, Skinningrove, Cleveland TS13 4AP
The Museum offers visitors an opportunity to experience the underground world of a real ironstone mine and to explore the skills, customs and life of the Cleveland miner. It was these miners that helped make Cleveland the most important Ironstone mining district in Victorian and Edwardian Britain.
Woodhorn Colliery Museum
Queen Elizabeth II Country Park, Ashington, Northumberland NE63 9YF
Local colliery museum, holds various events and exhibitions, holds lots of events for kids too and also is home to county archives. Has a few nice bits of gear including a steam winder (electrically operated now though for demos), an excellent fanhouse and also more modern stuff such as coalcutters. Entry is £1 (parking charge).
Black Country Living Museum
Tipton Road, Dudley DY1 4SQ
0121 520 8054
n open air museum relating to all aspects of Black Country heritage. The museum has created a coal mine to enable visitors some (limited) experience of conditions underground.The museum also has a large canal exhibition which affords access to the Dudley Canal Trust's trips into Wren's nest quarries (see seperate entry below).
Dudley Canal Trust
The Dudley Canal Tunnel is on the A4123 signposted to Dudley from from Junction 2 of the M5 and is about 1 mile north of Dudley Town centre. The Trust operates boat trips into the Dudley Canal tunnel and from there access the Dudley limestone mine workings via the first all new canal tunnel dug in over 200 years.
Hopewell Colliery Museum
Cannop Hill, Coleford
An actual freemine (one of only four mines that still exists) that operates as a commercial mine during the winter months and as a tourist attraction in the summer.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum
This museum is probably the museum for industrial and social history. It is located over several sites in the area surrounding the town of Ironbridge which is now part of Telford. Items specifically related to mining are a small mine headgear and steam powered lifting engine. A new (artificial) level into a coal mine (both of these at the Blist's Hill site) and the Tar Tunnel a (genuine) level dug to provide access to clay deposits which struck naturally occuring bitumen. Visitors can enter the first 100 yards of the tunnel.
Peak District Mining Museum
The Pavilion, Matlock Bath DE4 3RR
Collection of mining artifacts and mining equipment, mine tours, gold panning for children. In addition to visiting the museum there is also the small Temple Mine just across the road, which is also run by PDMHS, a joint entrance fee for both the Museum and Mine is charged, or one can just visit the Museum. Incidently the Fish Pond by the Pavillion (not the pub of the same name opposite!) is fed by a warm thermal spring for which Matlock Bath is famous.
South East England
Norfolk IP26 5DE
Grime's Graves is the only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. A grassy lunar landscape of over 400 shafts, pits, quarries and spoil dumps.
The caves in Reigate are open four times a year. This includes a tour around a nineteenth century sand mine, and access to display material covering other stone and mineral extraction, and early railways, in East Surrey.
South West England
Blue Hills Tin Streams
Colin & Mark Wills, Trevellas Coombe, St. Agnes, Cornwall TR5 OYW
The Wills family have been streaming and smelting tin at Blue Hills since 1975 producing many tons of tin ore. Generations of the family have worked in mines around St.Agnes and many other countries throughout the world. It is now possible to see this fascinating process on a tour of the works.
Clearwell Caves - Ancient Iron Mines
Near Coleford, Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire GL16 8JR
The tourist mine Clearwell Caves is the tip of an iceberg of mines interlinked in the vicinity.
Cornish Mines and Engines
Pool, nr. Redruth, Cornwall TR15 3NP
Preserved winding and pumping engines and visitor centre.
Dean Heritage Centre
Camp Mill, Soudley, Gloucestershire GL14 2UB
A general museum/heritage resource of the FoD. Several exhibits relate to mining history and the centre is a resource for historic document research. A significant part is dedicated to the Dean's coal mining industry, from stories of mining disasters and rescues to the everyday tools and objects that belonged to the miner's life. The gallery is also home of Sopwith's unique geological model of the Forest of Dean showing the mineral deposits and underground workings. Gallery 5 focuses on the large-scale collieries of the Forest and the deeper shafts that were made possible by the advent of steam power. The gallery features a working Beam Engine, which was made at Hewlett's iron foundry at Camp Mill - the site of the present Museum.
Geevor Tin Mine and Museum
Pendeen, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7EW
The Largest Preserved Mining Site in the UK. Until 1990 Geevor was a working mine, now a museum, with many surface buildings, a guided underground tour through 18th / 19th century workings, a shop and a cafe.
King Edward Mine
Troon, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 9HW
King Edward Mine is the oldest complete mine site left in Cornwall and is situated in the World Heritage Area. All the buildings are Grade II* Listed and are of national importance. Open May-September.
Award winning site in the Cornish Mining WHS. Travel by train along the banks of the River Tamar before venturing deep underground in the George & Charlotte copper mine.
Poldark Mine, Wendron
Undergound tour into the C18th workings of tin mine, Wheal Roots.
Waterloo Road, Radstock BA33EP
An excellent musuem, run by friendly, enthusiatic staff which covers the social and industrial heritage of the communities of the Somerset Coalfield.
Rosevale Mine is a privately owned former tin mine situated at Zennor, near St Ives in West Cornwall. For the past 30 years the underground workings have been restored and preserved as a typical Cornish mine.
Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum
Carthew, St. Austell, Cornwall PL26 8SG
Museum of the china clay extraction industry. Large collection of artefacts and a working water wheel and link rods.
Great Orme Copper Mines
The highlight of the tour is the amazing Bronze Age Cavern, dug out over 3,500 years ago by miners using nothing more than bone and stone tools.
Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine
Close to Aberystwyth, this 18th Century silver-lead mine was saved from dereliction in 1973. Guided tours with expert knowledge.
Sygun Copper Mine
Underground tour at this mine in the heart of Snowdonia National Park.
Welsh National Slate Museum
Llanberis, Gwynedd LL55 4TY
Now with imaginative interpretation, the remarkable relics of the slate industry can be understood and enjoyed by the many thousands of visitors to this stunning countryside on the flanks of Snowdon. And, thanks to the Welsh Assembly, like all of the Welsh national museums entry is free! A good family day out.
Big Pit Mining Museum
Blaenafon, Torfaen, South Wales NP4 9XP
Descend 300ft underground. Cafe and Welsh Crafts.
Dolaucothi Gold Mines
Pumsaint, Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire SA19 8US
01558 825146 (infoline)
Gold mines in use from Roman times to the 20th century. Unique Roman gold mine set amid wooded hillsides. Guided tours of the underground workings and exhibition on gold.
Wanlockhead Mining Musem
Wanlockhead ML12 6UT
Guided tours, miners library, resturant and gift shop.
Morrison's Haven, Prestonpans, East Lothian EH32 9RY
0131 653 2904 / 01620 828203 (out of season)
Prestongrange is a site of major importance in the story of Scotland's Industrial Revolution. It was the location of a sixteenth century harbour, a seventeenth century glass works, eighteenth and nineteenth century potteries and a nineteenth/twentieth century coal mine and brick works. Remnants of these former industries can still be seen, and many of the structures are still intact including the rare Hoffman Kiln and the Cornish Beam Engine, unique in Scotland.
Arigna Mining Experience
Co. Roscommon, Eire
This Energy Centre provides visitors with a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700's until closure in 1990.
Oughterard, Co. Galway, Eire
Lead mine worked 1850-65. Underground tour, reconstructed surface features e.g. whim, shop, museum. Open March - November, 10.00am - 6.00pm.