For centuries, the Black Country was renowned for its mining, helping the region to earn its reputation as ‘black by day, red by night’ owing to the blackened and scarred terrain created by heavy industry and the smoke that filled the air.

The area was home to the famous ‘Staffordshire Thick’, a single seam of coal some 10 yards in thickness that lay beneath much of the Black Country. It was the thickest coal seam in the UK and the greatest energy resource of the Industrial Revolution.
As visitors head underground in a recreated small Black Country coal pit they will be able to experience the darkness a miner endured, explore a maze of roadways and working areas, and hear what ‘Elija Wedge’ has to say about the world of an 1850s Black Country coal miner.

They will learn how the mines were run and how timber props were used to support the roofs, as well as facing the harsh reality of a coal miner’s life in the mid-19th century, especially for ‘little Billy’ who started working down the mine at just 10 years old.

Audio-visual techniques bring to life the sounds and feelings that would have accompanied a miner’s day, from the tapping of pickaxes to the whinnying of a pit pony and the rumble of a nearby collapse.

David Pitt, Head of Site Conversation, Transport & Maintenance, said: “The whole Museum is delighted to bring this experience back to our visitors. It has always been a popular part of the Museum and we can’t wait to invite returning visitors to head ‘into the thick’ again as well as introduce the experience to first-time visitors.
“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of the Museum’s teams to reopen this much-loved experience.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, renovation work on the underground mine experience had been delayed, but it is now back open and ready to welcome visitors once again.

After making their way above ground, visitors can also explore Racecourse Colliery, which is home to the surface equipment necessary for mining, including the colliery winding engine, the unmistakable timber pit head frame, a steam colliery winding engine, a blacksmith’s forge, and a miner’s hovel to store tools and dry off wet.
Not forgetting, the mine manager’s office, who will be doing daily checks on the weight of the mined coal with a weighbridge.

Visitors can enter the underground mine experience as part of general admission with no further purchase necessary. What’s more, by purchasing a general admission ticket, you can pay for one day and get free return visits for a year!*


Black Country Living Museum
Black Country Living Museum

Experience sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Black Country as you explore shops, houses and industrial workshops rebuilt in our canalside village.



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