aren’t always sunshine and beach time, so it’s nice to have
affordable activities that don’t rely on the weather. We love a bit
of history, so when we were invited along to the Museum of Welsh Mining at Rhondda Heritage Park, we jumped at the chance.
studying at university I wrote a poem about Aberfan, I remember first
discovering this devastating story, and since then mining and the
history of miners has always been a bit of an interest to me. Both
George and Molly are very interested in history and interactive and
interested in hands-on learning, so a tour of the mine and a chat
seemed like a pretty perfect day out for them!
It was fascinating to get up close to the equipment used within the old mine, and also a little daunting! George and Molly were pretty impressed with the various areas contributing to the work of the mine…
Graham filled us in on the reality of the mines, such as a law from the 1800’s stating that women and children cannot go into the mines still exists, yet even back in the 50’s women and children were often found down the pits because they needed to survive. I also thought the part about lamps, naked flames and general protocol for each member of staff pretty interesting!
We were talked through the use of the canaries, how anyone caught with cigarettes and lighters were dismissed and if someone was a minute late they’d be sent immediately home for the day, losing their shift and their money. It was certainly a cut-throat time…
Soon it was time to head underground and we were all so excited! We popped our helmets on and made our way to the lift. It felt shaky and quite scary, but on the way down Warren realised we weren’t actually going as far as everyone realised (a bonus in terms of safety, right?). We landed in the pit and it was awesome; dark tracks and old fashioned lighting, there was something strangely comforting about it all…
I love how Graham could refer to his own experiences as he talked us through things, and the history behind coal was fab. I particularly loved how Graham spoke to everyone, including the kids. He had such a lot of time for questions and he made a few cheeky jokes, so the tour moved along in such a steady and well balanced way.
When we left the pit it was like a lightbulb moment, everyone coming out discussing how lucky we are to not have to risk our lives in that way. Graham explained that, on average, 4 people died per day when the mines were open. It’s such a devastating piece of information…
The outside of the building is simply stunning, and it’s hard not to be mesmerised by its structure.
Since visiting I’ve been telling everyone how fab this tour is, as well as the buildings within the park; they’re so beautuful. I think I’d go back there in a flash!
Have you been to the Museum of Welsh Mining yet? What did you think?