Events Programme

Throughout 2017 the Museum has organised a programme of events linked to the theme of the exhibition 'By the People, For the People'.

Vesting Day Memories

24th January – 21st March 2017

Vesting day memory events are an opportunity for communities and members of the public to share stories and memories of what nationalisation means to them and their families.

The Museum will be running three events in conjunction with Wakefield Library and West Yorkshire Archives Service.

Each event will invite members of the public to join in an afternoon of sharing memories and stories of their personal experiences of the mining industry pre and post nationalisation to form part of the narrative for the forthcoming exhibition.

The events will run from 1 – 4pm and be held:

Tuesday 24 January at the National Coal Mining Museum for England nr Wakefield

Tuesday 28 February at South Elmsall Library

Tuesday 21 March at West Yorkshire Archives Service’s new History Centre in Wakefield

If you can't get to one of our events you can also share your memories using our online form.

Family Science Day : See How They Run

Sunday 19th March 2017

Our annual moving machinery day is back on the 19th March, during British Science Week.

This year we are celebrating the scientists and experts of the National Coal Board’s research and development establishments.

We will be doing some exciting experiments, running some of our big machines, and having demonstrations of our horses and ponies.

Come try our special moving machinery underground tour..

Demonstrations will run throughout the day and look out for pit ponies and surface vehicles around the site.

Exhibition Opening : Exhibition Vesting Day 

Monday 3rd April 2017

from 10.00 for a 10.30 start and a chance to look round the new exhibition from 12pm.

Visit the Museum on the 3rd April and take part in our Vesting Day Opening. There will be a short ceremony to open the exhibition ‘By the People, For the People’ to the public.

1st January 1947 or Vesting Day marked the creation of the National Coal Board (NCB) and the nationalisation of the Coal Industry. It was described as “the great experiment of socialism in a democracy”. The action was spearheaded by a Labour Party government following the devastation of WWII, as privately owned coal mines, one of Britain’s largest industries came under public ownership. On the day flags were raised and signs appeared which proclaimed that ‘this colliery is now managed by the National Coal Board on behalf of the people.’

  • Opening speech with Museum Director Mike Benson.
  • The Coalshed Poets reading their new poem inspired by Vesting Day 1947.
  • Music performed by a local school.
  • The winner of a competition to design a flag for Vesting Day will be announced.
  • Official opening of the new exhibition with living history characters.

Easter Parade

9th- 21st April 2017

For Easter we'll be asking our young visitors to create an Easter bonnet and we're going to have a virtual Easter Bonnet Parade through our social networks. We're looking forward to seeing your creations!

'We Also Served' Promenade Performance
Easter Weekend 14th-17th April

A specially commissioned piece of promenade theatre, inspired by the lives of the Bevin Boys who served in the coalmines during WWII. Delivered in partnership with the Theatre Royal Wakefield's young company of talented theatre-makers IN ON THE ACT.

FREE performances but please book your place on 01924 848806.

For ex-Bevin Boys we are also offering a special lunch package for £7.50. Ask our bookings officer on 01924 848806.

Book Launch for Eddie Downes book 'Yorkshire Collieries 1947-1994'

Thursday 27th April, 1-4pm

As part of our year-long focus on the Nationalisation of the coal industry we are proud to be supporting author Eddie Downes with his book launch.

Meet author Eddie Downes who has written the most comprehensive history ever produced of the 137 pits which came under the remit of the National Coal Board and British Coal Corporation. The history of each pit is covered from sinking to closure. Other chapters cover Yorkshire Coal Seams, Yorkshire Disasters from 1755, The Mines Rescue Service, the NUM and the NCB. The histories of an additional 50 or so pits are included as part of the Nationalised collieries.

The Museum Library team helped Eddie with his research and provided him access to many items in the Library collection which helped him write such a comprehensive book.

Caphouse Colliery Coal Race

Saturday 27th May

The Caphouse Colliery Coal Race is a traditional coal-carrying race for men, women and children. Come along and show your strength and stamina!

Heritage Walk

25th June

Led by our volunteer Alan, join us for an organised walk from the Museum where Alan will point out items of interest about coalmining in the local area and around the Museum site.
Pet friendly and families are welcome. 

Pass It On

Friday 2nd June 7pm
Saturday 3rd June 4pm & 7pm
Sunday 4th June 11am & 4pm

Whispering Wood Folk bring the National Coal Mining Museum to life with aerial acrobatics, taking the audience on an immersive theatrical adventure. A unique event created for the National Coal Mining Museum as part of the #Nationalisation70 celebrations in 2017.

“Our shows combine circus and theatre with unforgettable storytelling. Presenting the work in interesting outdoor locations gives children and parents a day out that they can truly enjoy together as a family” said Nina Bambrey, Director of Whispering Wood Folk.

‚ÄčArtistic group, Whispering Wood Folk are lining up a bespoke performance called “Pass It On”  to capture the resilience and togetherness that the mining community have created as a legacy.

Each show is a daring mixture of aerial acrobatics, folk story-telling and outdoor theatre. The shows will encourage families to connect with local heritage in a way which is alive and relevant via a unique new form of entertainment.

Community Choir Celebration

Saturday 8th July

Choirs will be invited from around the region, including the newly formed Caphouse Hope Choir and will perform songs relevant to mining, industry, Yorkshire, struggle, cooperation and work. They will join together to sing a new song written by local composer and choir leader Ali Bullivent commissioned by the National Coal Mining Museum. A singing workshop will be offered to visitors before the main final performance and participants will be invited to sing with the choirs.

The inspiration behind the Festival is about togetherness and sharing, being part of something positive and enabling others to join in.

On Behalf of the People

7th - 9th July

An original play by Ray Castleton commissioned by the National Coal Mining Museum.

‘On behalf of The People’ is a rich, engaging story of a post-war working class mining family coming to terms with the loss of one of their two sons in the war, whilst the other returns and attempts to re-establish relationships with his father, mother, fiancé and work.

We follow the family from 1945 to 1953, a period of seismic social, industrial and political upheaval, including the foundation of the Welfare State, NHS and nationalisation of major industries.

Seaside at the Pit


Inspired by the trips to the seaside that were organised for miners and their families by the welfare organisations at each coalmine.

A beach will appear at Caphouse Colliery along with traditional seaside activities at weekends for all the family to enjoy during the Summer holidays.

Cultural Olympiad


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