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Big Pit, National Museum in Blaenavon

21st August 2012

You can learn a lot about the history of the coal mining industry. Which tools were used in the past, and which tools or big machines are used today. You can see how difficult it was to exploit coal and how exhausting and dangerous the work was for women, men and children.

You should start with the tour inside the mine. You take the elevator to go 90 meters beneath the surface. The tour is around 35 minutes but it feels very short as long as you are not afraid of dark and narrow corridors. Actually the corridors are not as narrow as in other mines. Horse also worked in the mine to carry heavier cargo. You can still see the small horse stable. All the tours are led by old miners who know a lot about the history and the present mining industry. You will get an impression of the work conditions of underground mining. Some stories the miner told us were very sad. People were forced to work in mines to survive. Many of the workers were children who were able to work in the most narrowest of places. Everyone needed to pay for their tools like explosives, candles or prospect tools. One of the machines was called widowmaker because many people were injured or killed. You can see those impressive , dangerous machines in the mining gallery.

To learn more about the history you should g o to the historical gallery in Big Pit.

Most of the work was, and still is for the owner of the mines, and not for the people themselves. Time have changed a lot since the beginning with one of the first rail way tracks from Manchester to Liverpool in 1830.In the present time, in the industrial countries, you don’t need as many workers than in the past because of all the technological development.

by Thorsten Fehlberg

PS: Next to the Big Pit is the Rhymney Brewery which is also worth to visit, if you want to learn more about another Welsh traditions.

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