130,000 visitors every year enjoy underground tours at the museum. © National Coal Mining Museum for England
The National Coal Mining Museum in Yorkshire has secured a £1.95 million grant to expand its underground tours and install new interactive displays hundreds of feet below the surface
The money will also be used to conserve the museum’s famous 130-year-old furnace shaft, open up new underground roadways and install new conveyor belts.
All of the improvements are designed to enhance the visitor experience and with 95% of the 130,000 visitors every year taking the underground tours, the state of the art interactives will be used to add even more atmosphere and context to this already popular part of the museum visit.
“This is fantastic news for the Museum and has come as a great boost during this, our 20th anniversary year,” said the Chair of the Museum, Baroness Morris of Yardley. “We recently won Attraction of the Year for Yorkshire and I am very proud of the team at the Museum.”
The NCM is one of only two mines left in the UK where you can go underground. © National Coal Mining Museum
The museum is located at Caphouse Colliery, on the western edge of the Yorkshire coalfield, where mining was carried out for centuries. Opened as a museum in 1988, three years after the pit closed in 1985, the underground tours are supervised by ex colliers who take visitors deep below the ground to reveal the working conditions of generations of miners.
Also contributing to the redevelopment is the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who have pledged £150,000 towards the work and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform who are matching this with a further £150,000.
Work will begin on conserving the furnace shaft imminently, with plans for the new displays still be finalised with a view to starting work in late 2008.
“Once a pivotal part of the UK's industry, mining is a deep rooted part of our shared heritage,” added Fiona Spiers, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for Yorkshire and the Humber. “Yet today, new generations are growing up in mining towns where the industry on which their communities were founded has disappeared.”
“We need to find new ways to make sure the stories of the pits are passed on and to secure any remaining landmarks. Our funding announced today will do just that.”