Tools of the Trade

This part of the collection covers a whole range of objects, from small gas detectors to large industrial machines, which were used both above and below ground in the coal mining industry. The collection is particularly strong in twentieth century coal cutting machines, rescue equipment, surveying equipment and miners’ lamps.

Some of the large mining machinery and vehicles are housed in Hope Store. These include underground locomotives, BJD coal cutters, a 1967 NCB Morris ambulance used at Markham Main Colliery, South Yorkshire, and our seventeen-tonne Dosco Roadheader that was used to cut roadways underground. The Dosco can be seen in action on special demonstration days outside the store – see our whats-on page for more information.

Impressive as this large machinery is; we also have two very important smaller items in the collection which are well worth seeing. The corfe from William Pit, Whitehaven in Cumbria, dated to the end of the nineteenth century, is a very rare example of the large hazel baskets used to carry coal from the coalface to the surface. The Little Eaton gangway wagon, from Derbyshire, is a nineteenth century survivor of a type of wagon, first used in the eighteenth century for collecting coal from the colliery for distribution. Both objects are on display on the first floor of the Coal Interface Building.

The Museum loans out some of its steam and diesel locomotives to various railway societies around the country. These loan partners are vital for their skills, which enable them to either conserve the locomotives for display or sometimes restore them to working condition.

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