Wednesday, 16 February 2011

National Coal Mining Museum

On Sunday we went to the National Coal Mining Museum with our friends. The weather was very miserable but it didn't stop us having a fantastic time. The dad's took the older six children down the mine on the guided tour, you have to be over 5 to go down there and so this was Ruben's first ever visit down there. The last time we visited it was our very first month of home education back in January 2007 and I can't believe its been 4 years! Ruben really enjoyed the trip down but he said he didn't want to go down again because the battery pack was too heavy. You have to have the battery pack for your torch in case you end up having to walk back out of the mine!  Here is a picture of Cordelia and her best friend after they had come out of the mine, they were very grubby!
 Unfortunately, Ruben decided to run straight off to find me and show me the huge lump of coal he had collected and ended up getting a bit lost. He thought I would be exactly where he left me in the gift shop but the tour takes an hour and a half so we were in the play are with my friend's two little ones. We were all running around and hubby was quite upset by the experience. My friend found him in the gift shop thankfully so all was well in the end. But for those of you that have ever lost a child, even for a few seconds you know what a super scary experience it is and not one that either me or hubby would want to experience again any time soon!
 Letting off some steam in the play area

 Cordelia's favourite part of the museum is the pit ponies, none of these ponies have ever worked in the pit but the museum now rescues ponies. The last pit pony died in 2009 after a sudden illness. He was called Robbie and had been at the museum for 10 years after being rescued by the RSPCA. He had worked in a pit in South Wales for 5 years. The job of the ponies was to pull coal tubs up from the bottom of the drift up to the top.
 This pony-Finn was very friendly. Good job he was big otherwise Cordelia would have tried to smuggle him home, she is horse-mad!

 This was a photo from inside the pit baths. It was quite creepy in here if I am honest, and I didn't really like it but the kids thought it was lots of fun running up and down in there.

 The photo's are a bit blurry as it was quite dark in here and no one was still for long!
 Pippi read up on the medical room which was apprantly used right up until 2002, we presume for workers to use and not injured public???
 I loved this little message on the baths office door!
 Another pony had come out to say hello when we came out of the pit baths.
 This was in the exhibition room, they had a special little tunnel that the kids could climb through
 Taking it in turns to see if they could lift each other up with this hydraulic chair.

 My hubby informed me that this machine can shift the coal it takes a man 12 hours to do in just 10 minutes! That will be why all the pits have closed down in our local area. He was also told that a huge reserve of coal had been found in the south of England. Sadly, its cheaper to import coal these days than mine it from our own coal pits.
 This is the other end of the above machine, it was HUGE!
 Cordelia reading up about the different competitions the pit ponies had taken part in.
 Talking with friends on the telephone

This is a basket that would have been used to carry coal up the mine in.

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