Mining museum revives life on the coalface

DIGGING FOR MINING MEMORIES -- Newstead School pupils (from left) Thomas Giles, Christian Jackson, Amy Riches, Jason Talbot and Jodie Rose meet John Brock, of the Ex-and Retired Miners Association -- DISPIC NHUD11-2670-1
DIGGING FOR MINING MEMORIES -- Newstead School pupils (from left) Thomas Giles, Christian Jackson, Amy Riches, Jason Talbot and Jodie Rose meet John Brock, of the Ex-and Retired Miners Association -- DISPIC NHUD11-2670-1
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A MOCK coalface helped youngsters get a taste of life as a colliery worker during the visit of a mobile mining museum to Newstead.

Children from the village primary school got the chance to handle mining memorabilia and climb into kit worn by men who ventured underground during the halcyon days of the pits in the Dispatch district.

With the help of black sheets and desks, organisers created a mini-tunnel that children, wearing helmets and head-mounted lights, had to clamber through.

The event was held at the Newstead Centre on Tilford Road by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Ex and Retired Miners Association.

Entitled ‘Mining Memories’, it offered the chance to check out mining artefacts dating back as far as the 1800s.

There was also detailed information about local pits, including Newstead’s once-thriving colliery, which closed in 1987.

A quiz was held on items made from coal, while members of the association were on hand to chat with children and answer questions about their experiences at the coalface.

“It was an exteremely good event,” said Eric Eaton, chairman of the association. “Everyone enjoyed what was a perfect opportunity to give children an insight into their village’s mining past.”

The museum visit also provided an opportunity for older villagers to take part in a long-running mining-heritage initiative.

The association is creating a website and DVD featuring accounts of miners who worked at Linby, Newstead, Hucknall, Ollerton, Blidworth and Rufford Collieries.

Two Newstead residents recorded their memories, which will feature as part of the project. It is being funded to the tune of £46,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.