It’s not just within the city boundaries that all the attractions lie when it comes to Edinburgh. If you travel 9 miles south of Edinburgh, you will find the National Mining Museum. The museum is open to visitors of all ages, and is based at the site of the Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtowngrange.
The colliery was a ‘super pit’ and opened in 1895. Mining ceased on the site in 1981, but the mine still plays an important part in the history of Scottish Mining. Investment in the public areas of the 4 acre site, have seen it turned into an important mining attraction, preserving the history of this once important Scottish industry.
The first museum exhibit you’ll see when you walk through the doors is the ‘Story Of Coal’, where you can find out all about how coal was created, why it has value to humans, and the efforts at extracting it from the earth. Coal mining wasn’t just a job though; it was a way of life, so you can venture into the ‘Race Apart’ exhibit and find out all about life at the coalface, and all about Scotland’s mining families and communities.
Arrive on a Wednesday or Sunday, and you can also take a ‘Massive Mining Machinery Tour’ and see all the equipment that helped operate the mine. There’s also the chance to see/drive the winding engine which transported miners and coal up and down the pit shaft, and you can take a guided tour with ex-miners to see the pit face. Designed with children in mind, the final exhibit is an interactive zone, inviting you into an operations centre, where you can get hands-on with all the technology involved in coal mining. If you want to create electricity, operate pulleys and levers, and perhaps buy a mining themed souvenir afterwards, then this is the museum to visit.