Making Sense of Mining Project

Our Go Mining! underground tour was launched in 2013 as part of the Museum's £2.7 million Making Sense of Mining development project. This exciting four year venture enabled the Museum to conserve its historic furnace shaft and extend and revitalise its unique underground tour. 

Go Mining! Underground Tours

Families are invited to get ‘hands-on’ as they discover more about the lives of coal miners through the ages – join our experienced miner-guides as you explore our genuine former mine-workings at Caphouse Colliery. 

  • Get your hands dirty and experience life at the coal-face as it would have been for families in the early 1800s.
  • Discover how horses were once kept underground as you feed, muck-out and learn how to put their bridles on, all in our underground stable area.
  • Find out how miners were trained and experience genuine sights, sounds and smells of a working coal-mine.
  • Plus see working machinery and tools in action and more.

Both of our underground tours are subject to availability, please ask at reception on the day or call 01924 848 806 for tour dates and times.

Click here to read important tour information along with our underground policies.

Furnace Shaft

Before fans were introduced into the mines for ventilation, a fire would have been lit at the bottom of the shaft so that it acted like a big chimney, drawing fresh air down into the pit via the lift shaft.

The huge shaft is now covered by a special, 3m wide toughened glass, set into the floor of the Lamp Room. It has been fully conserved to preserve it for the future. Will you peep from the edge - or stride boldly to the middle to experience being suspended above a 140m deep black hole? The choice is yours!

Visitors going below ground can also gaze from the bottom up as they start their underground tour experience; stand under the protective canopy and look up to the pinpoint of light at the surface. This huge historic shaft, really is something to behold…

Not going underground? Our new furnace shaft is still available to view, please ask at reception on the day for details.

Making Sense of Mining 

The Museum would like to thank the following organisations for making the Making Sense of Mining project possible:

The Heritage Lottery Fund
The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust
Barclays Bank plc
The Charles Hayward Foundation
The Coal Authority
DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
The Garfield Weston Foundation
Kirkburton Parish Council
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council

and the many generous donors to the Museum’s Buy a Brick Appeal.  To see the virtual bricks donated towards through the Buy a Brick Appeal, please click here.

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