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Interactive Map

Welcome to our Interactive Map. Here you can dig deeper into each area of the Museum: discover the history of our colliery buildings; see and hear from the people who worked underground; download fun activities that you can enjoy from home; and much more! Click on the zones below to begin your virtual journey.

  • Caphouse
    • Welcome to Caphouse
      Welcome to Caphouse

      Experience the Life of a Working Colliery.

      This site was a modern colliery until it closed after more than two hundred years of coal production.  See what a 1980s pit was like and meet the people who worked in the industry.


      Welcome to Caphouse


      The Ballad of Caphouse

      In 2017, the Museum began a year-long residency for two folk musicians, Bryony Griffith and Andy Seward as part of the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s ‘Musicians in Museums’ programme. They worked with a number of different community groups as well as staff and volunteers, using their creative practises to explore how folk music can offer a different way of connecting with the Museum’s collection.

      Over a series of weeks, Bryony and Andy recorded the miners’ experiences focusing on the idea of the first and last day at Pit to create the ballad of Caphouse. These interviews have created a lasting legacy at the Museum and also gave inspiration to our Coalshed poets group.



      Caphouse pit yard as a working pit in the 1980s.

      360 View

    • Caphouse Pit Yard
      Caphouse Pit Yard

      The Pit Yard was the heart of the colliery.

      The Pit Yard has always been a hive of activity with coal wagons or coal lorries constantly in and out to load up with coal. Defined by the strange collection of temporary buildings that grew up around the headstocks. Yards were also storage spots for spare cages, wooden pit props and other spare parts.


      Locomotive Conservation

      Over the last five years, the Diesel Demon Volunteers, who are part of the ‘Conservation in Action’ team, have transformed an outside exhibit back to its former glory.

      The vehicle in question is this Hunslet 0-6-0 Snibston class diesel locomotive made by the Hunslet Engine Company Ltd, which has a 388hp Cummins NT 400 engine and mechanical transmission. 

      It was new to Wheldale Colliery on 24.5.1973 where it was numbered 40 and used for shunting on standard gauge track. During its time at Wheldale, it only left once for tyre turning at British Rail, Doncaster between 21/3/1979 and 5/4/1979. It came to NCMME (then the Yorkshire Mining Museum!) in 1988.

      Volunteers conserving the locomotive © NCMME


      This is the pit yard when Caphouse was a working pit. The photograph was taken from one of the heaps that once lined the road to Hope Pit.

      360 View

    • Weighbridge

      Meet Alan and find out how coal was transported when it left the pit.

      The Weighbridge is a massive set of scales used for weighing lorries and the coal they carried. Meet Alan, the weighbridge man at Caphouse when the colliery closed. It was his responsibility to weigh all the coal that left the site and who had bought it.


      © NCMME

      The Motty

      This numbered token on a piece of twine is a motty. Before miners were on set wages, they would only be paid for the weight of coal they cut. Motties were attached to coal tubs filled by face workers to show the checkweighman who had cut the coal therefore who should be paid.


      This image shows the site when it was working in the early 1980s. This wagon has just been filled with coal and is ready to be weighed before leaving the site.


      The weighbridge at Caphouse was installed when the pit moved from using the railway to move coal to road transport. The railway was the colliery’s main transport network from the 1850s until the 1940s, when the colliery changed owners.

      Lorries loaded up with coal at the screening plant, where it had already been sorted. Caphouse did not have a washery, and until the 1970s dirt was picked out of the coal by hand. After that time it was taken by road to the washery at Woolley colliery.

      A great triumph for the early miners unions was the agreement to provide a checkweighman at the pit top. He was the man who acted on behalf of the miners, to see that he was paid fairly for the coal that they produced. The last man to work in the Caphouse weighbridge was Alan.

    • Underground Tour
      Underground Tour

      Journey 140 metres underground and experience what it was like to work in a mine.

      Get kitted out with your hard hat and battery lamp then step into the ‘cage’ to descend 140m underground to discover the harsh realities of coal mining through the centuries. Hear all about your guide’s working life and experiences in the coalmine.

      Discover the different ages of mining, from Victorian times when women and children worked underground alongside men, find out about the role of pit ponies and how modern machinery changed coal mining.


      For a bit more information on what to expect when you enter the lamproom for our Underground Tour, watch this short film.


      Just outside the lamproom is our canary cage. Canaries played an important role in testing for gas and keeping miners safe.  

      Why not have a go at making your own canary in a cage illusion? Download this simple guide to show you how.

      360 View

    • Furnace Shaft
      Furnace Shaft

      Look down the 140m furnace shaft and see how deep our mine goes.

      The shaft once helped to provide the fresh air needed to work safely underground. After surviving about 130 years, an HLF grant enabled the Museum to complete much needed repairs and now allow visitors to look down into the glass-capped shaft. 


      It is important to ensure the shafts are in good condition. Both the furnace shaft and the main manriding shaft are checked. Watch Alan and the team on one of their regular shaft inspections.


      The Conservation of the Furnace Shaft

      The main man-riding shaft was sunk during the 1790s, and is used to access the underground workings and tour.  The furnace shaft, believed to have been sunk in the 1870s, is only 27 ft away from the riding shaft. This unusually close proximity meant that, when the need for repairs to the furnace shaft was discovered, it needed to be conserved to ensure the ongoing life of both shafts and the underground tour. 

      Work to repair and conserve the furnace shaft took eight months at a cost of approximately £870,000. The repair work involved erecting a winding mechanism over the furnace shaft and using a sinking platform to work on the brickwork from the top down. 

      At different levels in the shaft there are insets which provide entrances to old workings at a higher level than the Museum workings. Some of these had suffered catastrophic collapse, with consequent bulging of the shaft walls, and these have been entirely rebuilt. Work was completed in 2012.

      Furnace Shaft before repair © NCMME
      View up Furnace Shaft from first & second rings © NCMME


      Fire Basket

      Early furnace shafts used fire baskets hung down the shaft to ventilate the mine. The fire would heat the air which would rise up the shaft, creating a draught which would pull air through the mine. Later variations used a fire at the bottom of the shaft to create the same updraught of air. 

    • Screens Building
      Screens Building

      The Screens Building, where coal was cleaned and sorted, is accessible through guided tours on specific days.

      The Coal Screening Plant or Screens Building was used to clean and sort the coal when it had been hauled to the surface. The building or more accurately, this collection of structures were built over time, made of tin sheeting and wooden floors and evolved as the pit grew.

      Currently the Screens are not open to the public but on certain days, the Museum runs special Screens tours. For more information about Screens tours, ask at the Welcome Area in the Hub.


      Step into the past with this short video of Caphouse to see the screens in action.


      Meet Ada, a Pit Brow Lass.

      Join miner Steve as we uncover a little of the history of the Screens Building here at Caphouse, as well as meeting our Pit Brow Lass, Ada Clough, to find out the role that some women had at a coal mine following the Mines Act in 1842.


      Cleaning and sorting the coal was vital to ensure high quality coal reached the right markets. Cleaning the coal meant separating it from any other material like shale or mudstone. Sorting the coal involved organising it into sizes and quality grades for the various different markets.

       It was often the oldest and youngest miners who worked in the screens; young trainees before starting their underground training and old or injured miners when they were unable to work underground or close to retirement. In Lancashire this role was also done by women known as pit brow lasses.

      360 View

    • Steam Winding House
      Steam Winding House

      See our steam-winding engine which, for over 100 years, moved men and coal in and out of the pit.

      Winding is about getting the miner into the pit and the coal out. As mining went deeper, winding machines improved. A winding engine is a large winch which hauled cages up and down the vertical mineshaft.


      See the Davy Bros steam winder in action.


      This is a photograph of Mr J. Noble who was the winding engineman at Caphouse in the mid 20th century.


      The Caphouse winder is a steam-winding engine made by Davy Bros Ltd of Sheffield. The engine house was commissioned by Emma Lister Kaye, the colliery owner, in 1876. The engine was probably installed soon afterwards.

      Steam was a source of power by the 1700s and used to drive winding engines by the end of the century. Steam winding engines were very effective and continued to be used well into the 1960s with the Caphouse engine being still in use as late as the 1980s. However, electric winders which began in the twentieth century are preferred today.


    • Victorian Gallery
      Victorian Gallery

      Find out how 1842 changed the lives of women and children forever.

      The Victorian Gallery examines what mining was like in the 19th century. In 1842 the first coal mining act of Parliament banned women, girls and boys under 10 from working underground. Discover the conditions in mining at that point and the effect of the first legislation to touch the mining industry.


      The 1842 Coal Mines Act was a major turning point in the history of coal mining. Here is a discussion about children and women working underground and the impact of the Act.


      In the 18th and 19th century, children as young as 4 would have to work underground. Listen to this song about Sally Fletcher, a trapper girl.


      Amy’s here to give you a glimpse at some of the objects that you can find inside our Victorian school-loans box and the stories behind them.

    • Lancashire Boilers
      Lancashire Boilers

      For over 100 years, Lancashire Boilers created the steam that powered the colliery’s winding engine.

      It was steam that powered the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine used pressure, produced by steam, to move a piston back and forth. The force of the piston was transformed, by a connecting rod and flywheel, into a rotational force which powered machinery. Steam provided reliable power and could be used to run large machines, like steam winders and colliery fans.

      At present, the Boiler House is closed to the public. Members of our volunteer conservation team are currently working on a project to restore them.


      Inside the Boiler House are two Lancashire Boilers. Volunteers at the Museum are in the process of cleaning and restoring the boilers and in the future we hope to open it up to visitors. 


      The Boiler House was the colliery’s source of steam power. Built in the 1930s, it contains 2 Lancashire Boilers. They produced steam, which ran the steam-winding engine in the building above, until the closure of the colliery in 1986.

      The Boiler House replaced 2 older boilers which are still in place in the next-door yard and can be seen when visiting the Victorian Gallery. The chimney and boilers were added in 1876 when the winding-engine house was built.  From the 1930s, the 2 old boilers were used to recycle waste heat from the boiler house.

      Chimney c unknown


      Here is the top of Caphouse boilers being checked in the 1970s.

    • Pithead Baths
      Pithead Baths

      Experience where miners started and ended their working day.

      Visit the place where miners started and ended their day. Pithead baths started to be built in the early 20th century. Before then, miners would have to travel home every day, covered in coal dust.

      The baths were overseen by the baths attendant whose job it was to clean, keep things tidy and sell things like soap, towels or even chewing tobacco.

      At the far end of the baths, have a peek inside the medical centre. This is where the pit nurse would be based unless she had to go underground to deal with a casualty.


      Meet our pit nurse who explains how the Pithead Baths work.


      Miners’ PPE

      PPE is a term we’re all very familiar with these days, but miners have been wearing personal protective equipment for many years. Join Pete to discover the safety equipment a miner would have to take with them underground to ensure that they were protected.


      Do these lockers look familiar? If you’ve visited the Museum, then they might do!

      The artist, Hayley Perry, captures our Pithead Baths wonderfully in this print titled ‘Empty Lockers,’ which has been created by drawing on Perspex with a soldering iron.

      Courtesy of Hayley Perry MA PGCE B.A. (Hons)

      360 View

    • Control Room
      Control Room

      Understand how computers on the surface monitor conditions and production underground.

      Colliery-control rooms are used to monitored and troubleshoot operations underground and have come to play a vital part in the smooth running of a pit.


      Here’s Trevor to give us an in-depth look at what the screens in the new control room actually tell us.


      This is a typical example of a 1970s colliery Control Room. It controlled the underground here until fairly recently when the state of the art monitoring system used at Kellingley colliery  transferred to the Museum when the pit closed in 2015. The new control room can be seen upstairs in the Technology Gallery. 

      The new system SCADA replaced MINOS which was the first fully computerised mine operating system. The SCADA system took around 2 years to install and sits alongside MINOS, which has been retained for its historical interest, but also so that the MINOS system is still available if needed.


      Since the introduction of mechanisation at the beginning of the 20th century, more and more mining operations have become automated. They monitored production, being able to tell how mining operations were going on underground and alert the surface staff to any problems.

      The equipment here constantly checked and controlled the environment underground. They recorded gas and water levels and could control fans and pumps to respond to those results when needed.

    • Technology Gallery
      Technology Gallery

      Discover how miners overcame the challenges of working underground.

      Find out about the men and machines that worked underground and see what equipment helped the industry develop. So come and take a look at some of the tools of the trade!

      Downstairs you can see how miners overcame the many challenges of working underground. How they conquered the darkness underground.  And how they developed machines to cut the coal. Upstairs you can see how coal was transported. See how people communicated underground from signal wires to our modern mining control room from Kellingley colliery.


      The miners’ lamp is an iconic piece of mining technology. Here’s a sneak peek at our A Light in the Darkness exhibition that looks at one of the inventors of the safety lamp, Sir Humphry Davy.


      The Little Eaton Wagon

      Meet Mark as he discusses how coal was transported away from the colliery and the Little Eaton Wagon. The wagon is on display upstairs in the Technology Gallery.


      New inventions and technology often come out of problems and disasters. In 1812, 92 miners, men and boys were killed in an explosion at Felling Colliery. This led to a prize being offered to someone who could invent a safe lamp that would not ignite firedamp (methane).

      Why not try to create your own lamp? Download and print the template to build a 3D lamp. You can even add coloured tissue paper and a torch to mimic the flame.

      360 View

    • Kellingley Memorial
      Kellingley Memorial

      The Kellingley Memorial commemorates miners who died at Kellingley Colliery since its opening in 1958.

      The Memorial originally stood outside the pit offices at Kellingley Colliery, West Yorkshire, the last British deep mine. The memorial commemorates miners who died at Kellingley Colliery since its opening in 1958.

      When it was decided to close Kellingley in 2015, the memorial was carefully taken down and reassembled near the Screens Building at Caphouse. It now stands not just for those that died at Kellingley but marks the end of the last British colliery.


      Kellingley Colliery final production shift took place in December 2015. The site still needed to be decommissioned and this took a further three years. In November 2017 and July 2018, the iconic Kellingly winding towers were demolished. 

      Here is a video of the demolition.


      Using contributions from visitors, David Alton produced this poem ‘A Token for Kellingley’ in memory of the 5 year anniversary of Kellingley closing.


      In many ways this is a very personal memorial. It was paid for by the miners and was requested to be saved when the pit closed. It came about as a reaction from the miners themselves.

      On 30th September 2008, Don Cook was killed in a rock fall, and on 18 October 2009, Ian Cameron died after equipment fell on him. Two deaths underground so close together are thankfully now a rarity but they elicited a response. 

      Miners of Kellingley decided to raise funds for the memorial for Mr Cook, Mr Cameron and other workers killed at the pit. The memorial was first opened by families of the miners in 2010.

  • Hope Pit
    • Welcome to Hope Pit
      Welcome to Hope Pit

      Discover the Mechanics of Mining.

      Explore the buildings around Hope Pit and see how science and engineering were used on the surface to support the vital work done underground.

    • Hope Pit Yard
      Hope Pit Yard

      Discover the Mechanics of Mining.

      The small scale of Hope Pit’s remaining buildings was typical of many small, rural, 19th century collieries, yet over the years, Hope Pit developed to support Caphouse and their histories are bound together. Through these buildings we can see some of the vital processes needed to support the miners underground.


      A Week By The Sea

      The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act of 1946 stated that one of the duties of the National Coal Board (NCB) was in securing ‘the safety, health and welfare of persons in their employment’. 

      Social welfare fell to the newly established Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO). Halls and institutes were provided alongside community centres and youth clubs.Miners and their families could take part in sports at recreation grounds and swimming pools. They also enjoyed a week of fun at the coast staying at the newly-built holiday centres such as those at Skegness and Rhyl.

      “Things is different now. This is the day of the working man. My boys earn more in a week than I got in a month – and good luck to them I say. It’s a change all right. Holiday wi’ pay-– week by sea – wouldn’t have thought it thirty years ago.”
      COAL, August 1947


      This summer, Hope Pit hosts The Great Day Out, so grab your bucket and spade and see how miners spent their summer holidays and the all important Gala Day.

    • Blacksmiths Workshop
      Blacksmiths Workshop

      Visit our repair shop and see a real working forge.

      Keeping machinery running and the tools mended was a full-time job. The blacksmith’s and fitting shop were hives of activity as coal cutters, conveyors and other vital pieces of equipment were overhauled and repaired. 


      Inside the workshop is our very own line shaft – a power-driven, rotating shaft that was used for power transmission from the late 18th to 20th century. Here’s Steve to give a demonstration of the line shaft in action!


      Take a peek inside the Blacksmith’s workshop and see them in action:


      At the Workshop, fitter’s would make all sorts of tools, machines and devices to help the miners underground.
      What would you make to help the miners underground?
      How would it work?
      What would it be made of?


      The Blacksmith’s Workshop is also the base for our Conservation Volunteers. They do fantastic work conserving and restoring objects from our collection. 

      Here is Billy and Ian planning their next job.


      The Blacksmith’s Workshop at Hope Pit has always had engineering at its heart and the building has been rebuilt and reused many times since the 1890s. It has been a wagon repair workshop, a joiner’s shop and saw mill, a railway shed, and a lorry garage before finally becoming a workshop and forge. It has always been somewhere to fix the machinery which kept the pit producing and moving coal.

    • Tunnel

      If you can’t go underground, why not try our overground underground experience.

      At present, our overground underground gallery is only open to guided tours. The Hope Pit Explore tours are pre-booked tours and are only available on specific days. 

      For more information, ask about the Hope Pit Explore at the Welcome Area in the Hub or consult the events pages of the website, here.


      Look out for our interactive exploration of the Hope Pit area of the site with our volunteer team. Discover the people, the places and the expertise that was required to support the underground miners.

      Hope Pit Explore


      Originally, this tunnel was built under the road to link Hope Pit to Calder Grove by means of a mineral railway. Wagons filled with coal travelled down the track to the coal staiths which would fill waiting canal boats. 

    • Compressor House
      Compressor House

      Discover the power of air and how it was harnessed to run machinery underground.

      Pneumatic power uses the energy in compressed air to transmit force. Air that has been compressed contains energy and, when released, the resulting airflow can be used to power machinery such as motors, turbines or pistons. 


      Compressed air underground could power haulage engines, lights and even hand tools like these jigger picks.


      Originally, this tunnel was built under the road to link Hope Pit to Calder Grove by means of a mineral railway. Wagons filled with coal travelled down the track to the coal staiths which would fill waiting canal boats. 


      Originally built in the 1850s to support the railway, this building was repurposed in 1944 as a Compressor House. 2 large mechanical compressors were installed to compress the air. This was then pumped into the pit or stored in reservoirs to be used later, on the surface or underground.

      Compressed-air power is flexible, economic and safe.  Pneumatic systems could be used underground in potentially explosive atmospheres without causing sparks. They could also be used in wet conditions without the risk of electric shocks.

    • Fan House
      Fan House

      Come in and find out why clean air and good ventilation saved so many lives.

      Visit the Fan House to find out about the importance of ventilation, ensuring miners had fresh air to breath throughout the mines. See some of the smaller fans used to ensure good air was driven through the roadways. See what equipment deputies used to check ventilation speeds and quality of air. 


      Find out from Steve what ‘shut your trap’ has to do with ventilation along with other mining phrases.


      Biram’s Anemometer

      Benjamin Biram (1804-1857) was Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse’s steward and general manager. He was concerned with colliery ventilation and in 1844 he invented his anemometer to measure the airflow underground. 

      This simple fan attached to a dial allows deputies to measure wind speed and, through some simple calculations, record ventilation levels throughout the colliery workings. 

      This is an early example of his anemometer, produced by John Davis & Sons of Derby, has been repaired by our conservator.


      Mine ventilation provided a flow of clean air to the underground, allowing miners to breathe. Fans did not blow air into the mine; they sucked the bad air out and drew fresh air in. This diluted and removed dust and gases along with regulating the temperature underground. 

      The Fan Drift and Fan House were built in the 1960s to power a Tornado Air Reverse mine fan. This improved the ventilation for Caphouse and Hope Pit. The fan was positioned outside the building, sitting in the space between the Fan House and the Fan Drift. 

    • Electric Winding House
      Electric Winding House

      Meet Mr Roberts, and learn about one of the most important jobs at the pits.

      Come up and visit our Electric Winding House and meet Mr Roberts. Mr Roberts was a winding engineman and will tell you all about the art of winding. See our working electric winder which was still in use when the pit closed in 1986. 


      Winding Signals Board

      Here is an example of the signals the winding engineman had to follow to communicate with the banksman (miner in charge of the cage on the surface) and the onsetter (miner in charge of the cage at the pit bottom). The miners would communicate with rings or buzzers.

      This example comes from Thorne Colliery, South Yorkshire. Each pit had their own signals.



      Here is a photograph of a miner working the controls of the Hope Pit winder in the 1970s.


      Winding is the term used for transporting coal, men and materials in and out of the pit. Early bell pits were close to the surface so ladders could be used. As mines became deeper, winding was developed, using temporary winches turned by hand. Later whim gins or horse gins were introduced to move larger loads. As pits became permanent, more substantial headstocks were erected and winding engines were used, including steam and latterly electric winders. 

      This Electric Winding Engine was mainly used for getting miners in and out of the mine. Towards the end of the colliery’s life, the men working at Caphouse would enter the mine via the shaft at Hope Pit. The electric winder would have been running at the start and end of every shift. Now those old roadways that joined up to Caphouse are mostly flooded and impassable.

    • Inman Pumping House
      Inman Pumping House

      Find out how miners overcame the problems of water underground.

      The Inman Pumping House is the oldest building on site and has pumped water out of the mine since the 1840s. Water created a major problem for the mining industry. Come inside and learn about the dangers of water underground, the importance of pumping water out and where it goes afterward.


      Today the water continues to be pumped out to ensure the running of the underground tour. However it is pumped out of the Hope Pit manriding shaft and the Inman Shaft is no longer in use. We’ll let Pete explain a bit more.


      In the early hours of Wednesday 21st March 1973 water, from a disused mine shaft sunk in 1831, surged into the South 9B district of Lofthouse Colliery. The miners knew of the shaft but had not realised its depth, or that it was filled with water. Seven men were trapped and lost their lives in the flood. 

      Initially, rescuers thought the miners may have survived in an air pocket and continued for six days in an attempt to rescue them. More than 200 men were involved in the rescue attempt including men from the Yorkshire Rescue Stations at Rotherham, Doncaster and Wakefield. A rescue team from Staffordshire, with trained frogmen, attempted to dive through the water to assess the situation.

      The body of Charles Cotton, Face Worker, was recovered on 26th March, 1973. It was decided that it was too dangerous to clear away the debris. It was possible that removing it could have led to another inrush of water, so the remaining six bodies were left underground.

      The bodies of the following men, all Face Workers, remained underground:

      Frederick William Armitage

      Colin Barnaby

      Frank Billingham

      Sydney Brown

      Edward Finnegan

      Alan Haigh

      10917_1_13 - Recovery work at Lofthouse - c Open Gov License 3_0


      This photograph of the Inman Pumping House dates back to the 1930s. It shows the wooden framework around the beam. Also to the left is a horse gin. 

    • Miners’ Memorial Garden
      Miners’ Memorial Garden

      Contemplate and reflect on the lives of miners and their communities.

      A place for quiet contemplation and reflection, the Miners’ Memorial Garden celebrates and commemorates the courage and camaraderie of our miners, and the close-knit families and communities that supported them. 

      The centre piece of the garden is a specially commissioned art installation, ‘Lives Lived, Lives Lost’. This was the concept of renowned public artist Stephen Broadbent and represents the spirit of mining. The design is curved in shape to link with aspects of the industry such as cutting machines and pit wheels. The voids in the Corten steel screen represent the tunnels, strata and confined spaces underground. 


      Here is a short film of our commemorative event where contributors to the artwork gather and the names of the commemorated are read. 


      Inspired by the installation of some of our most recent glass checks, Dave Alton from the Voices in the Coalshed team, has produced this poem, ‘Memory Checks.’


      It has never been more important to remember the unsung heroes who helped to make Britain great. The miners’ courage and camaraderie, and their families and communities that surrounded them, deserve to be celebrated and commemorated, and you can make this possible by donating a glass check to our living artwork.      

      Each glass check is individually handcrafted in a variety of vibrant colours by glass artists Gary and Annette McMillan. Layers of glass are brought together and kiln formed, fusing your selected personalised text onto the check and creating a unique and lasting memory for years to come.   

      Your donation will not only be an act of remembrance.  You will also be supporting the continuing maintenance of the Miners’ Memorial Garden and the further development of the ‘Lives Lived, Lives Lost’ art installation that sits at its heart.  

      If you would like any further information or have any queries, please contact Liz on 01924 848533, or email liz.orme@ncm.org.uk

      Glass Checks
    • Power House
      Power House

      Come and see the mighty machinery that was used across our industry.

      The Power House  is where you can find some of the large machinery in the Museum’s collection. Delivery lorries and coal-loading machines to underground locomotives and coal-cutting machines, there is a great deal to see of the unique machinery used in the mining industry.

      The Power House is also where much of the Museum’s conservation takes place. See how and why we conserve our objects, what problems can affect museum objects and what conservator can do about them. 

      At present this store is open on weekdays during holidays. 


      Our conservation volunteers work very hard getting objects conserved and sometimes back into running order. One of our volunteers John spent many hours getting this model of a seek and find coal handling system back to working order. 


      One of the many jobs of a conservator is to check and clean objects before they go on display.

      Here is Graham, talking about the work done on miner’s lamps for the exhibition, A Light In the Darkness currently on display in the Technology Gallery.


      NCB Ambulance

      The Morris LD ambulance was one of a batch supplied specially to the NCB and first registered on 27th November 1967. It was based at Markham Main Colliery, where it worked until it was passed to the St John Ambulance Brigade before coming to the Museum. Due to the work of the Conservation Volunteer team, it is back up and running.

  • Hub
    • Welcome to The Hub
      Welcome to The Hub

      Welcome to the Site and the Story of Coal Mining.

      It’s here that you can find everything you need to plan your day. See what’s on, book an underground tour and explore our exhibitions to learn about the life of a coal miner.


      Welcome to the Hub!

      360 View

    • Welcome Area
      Welcome Area

      Find everything you need to make the most of your day.

      Here, in the middle of everything, is where you can find all you need to enjoy your day. This is where you can plan your day, book an underground tour, browse our shop and learn a little of what went on in the life of a coal miner. 


      When you are onsite, this is the place to browse the Museum’s shop, but you can also explore our online shop by clicking here.


      Here’s what’s going on at the Museum at the moment.


    • Mining Lives
      Mining Lives

      Find out about the people and communities at the heart of the industry.

      The Mining Lives exhibition tells some of the stories of mining. From rescue and welfare to hobbies and homelife, the galleries reveal the human element in mining and the communities that built up around the pits.


      Meet Anne as she talks about just one of the displays. This one looks at the Bevin Boys.


      Have you heard of rag rugging?

      Maurice the Miner and his wife, Nora, certainly have! Discover the special place rag rugging has in Maurice’s heart, and even learn how you can have a go at it yourself!


      When you are onsite, this is the place to browse the Museum’s shop, but you can also explore our online shop by clicking here.


      Visit our Drift Gallery to see Shine a Light, an exhibition by Wakefield-based artist Seanna Doonan.  Drawn from her own experiences growing up hearing folk songs about miners and the miners’ strike, she captures the people, voices and stories of miners in pen and ink.

      For more information visit the events page here.

      360 View

    • Special Exhibitions Gallery
      Special Exhibitions Gallery

      Visit our Special Exhibition Gallery to see the latest exciting exhibition.

      Our special-exhibition programme runs throughout the year on all sorts of subjects related to coal mining. Past exhibitions have looked at union banners, pit ponies and the Nationalisation of the industry.


      As part of the Gala Day! exhibition, we are working on a project to create a new Caphouse Banner. We need your support to uncover untold mining stories and celebrate the key moments in the history of different mining regions. We’d love for you to send us a short response to one of the following questions (no longer than 250 words) based on your memories, experiences or local history that will contribute towards the Museum’s exciting new community led banner project.

      1.    Do you have a mining story from your local area that you think shouldn’t be forgotten? 
      2.    Can you share a story that shows just how unique the mining industry and its communities are?  

      If you would like to take part, there’s a few ways you can send us your stories:

      • Email us your contribution at ncmbannerproject@gmail.com 
      • Send it to us at National Coal Mining Museum for England, Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RH
      • Or call us at 01924 848806 to request a call back from one of our team


      Over the years, there have been exhibitions on all manner of subjects. Why not visit our past exhibitions archive and explore a wide range of mining subjects. 



      Our current special exhibition is Gala Day!. Click here for more details.

    • Soft Play Area
      Soft Play Area

      Spend time with your under 5s in our ‘Little Diggers’ soft play.

      Let the little ones off the leash in our allotment themed ‘Little Diggers’ soft play area. 


      Miner’s loved their allotments. Catch up with Motty and Maurice as they tend to their own.


      After spending so much time working underground, many miners liked to be outside when they weren’t working and enjoyed their gardens or allotments. There were shows where fruit, flowers and vegetables were judged, and, as our guide John points out, things could get pretty competitive.


      The Allotments Easington by Tom McGuinness

      Tom McGuinness was a miner and artist from the North East. This print entitled “The Allotments, Easington” shows a footpath running past allotments, with the colliery in the background.  

      Can you see the miner digging in his patch?


      When you are onsite, this is the place to browse the Museum’s shop, but you can also explore our online shop by clicking here.

    • Learning Space
      Learning Space

      Visit our activity area for all types of hands-on workshops and arts and craft activities.

      The Learning Space is our flexible area where school activities and holiday workshops take place. It is also where we hold our Wacky Wednesday’s events. 


      Welcome to Caphouse Creatives. Amy’s showing us how we can create our own stable cat coasters using polymer clay!

      If you would like to make your own cat coaster, feel free to use this template to get you started!


      The Museum’s loan boxes for schools stimulate curiosity and provide a hands-on approach to learning.

      Our range of boxes cover different themes but they all typically include objects from our handling collection, photographs, background information and ideas for activities.

      For more information contact the Learning team via bookings.assistant@ncm.org.uk

    • Cafe

      Take a break and relax.   

      Take a ‘pit stop’ to refuel at the Museum café with homemade sandwiches, hot and cold drinks and tasty snacks. Overlooking the valley to Thornhill and Dewsbury, the Museum café is an excellent place to take time out from discovering all that the Museum has to offer.


      What does your lunch box look like? We bet it doesn’t look like a miner’s! 


      Miner’s loved their mucky-fat sandwiches. They kept them in their snap tins. Why not have a go making your own favorite lunch? Download the sheet and plan what you would take down underground to get you through a full shift.


      Remember you can always get your food to take away. There are plenty of places around the site to have a picnic outside. Just look for the picnic area symbol on this map.


      Most collieries had a pit canteen. This photograph by Harold White shows a typical canteen in the 1950s. Harold was a photographer commissioned by the National Coal Board to document the industry after Nationalisation.

    • Community Space
      Community Space

      Be inspired by the work of people from coal-mining communities.

      The Community Space is a gallery which gives the Museum the opportunity to show the work of community groups and artists. Members of the public can use it to showcase their artworks and projects. 


      In 2019 the Museum hosted its first Youth Arts Festival.

      Not only were the performers on the day young people, but the event was entirely organised by our fantastic group of young volunteers from the community who, through a series of workshops learnt how to market and organise an event, as well as how to document the day using film and photography!

      The festival was a huge success, with our young volunteers creating this short film to highlight the experience and what the project has meant to them. 


      Want to get involved? We always appreciate the opportunity to show the work of Community Groups and Artists at the Museum. If you or your group are interested in exhibiting your work or using the space in some way, get in touch.

      Please contact collectionenquiries@ncm.org.uk for more information.

    • Library

      A mine of information on the history of coal-mining.

      The Library holds a wealth of information on the history of coal mining in England – not only the geographical and technical sides of mining coal, but also the social, economic and political aspects of the industry and the communities it touched.

      The collection holds current mining journals and journals from the nineteenth century as well as rare books dating from the 1700s, these include De Re Metallica which is not only the Library’s oldest book but also the oldest man-made artefact at the Museum.


      Do you like reading? If so, Maurice and Motty are digging out some of their favourite books to celebrate World Book Day.


      If you are interested in coal mining in the mid-20th century, a fantastic resource is Coal Magazine. Coal, was the National Coal Board’s magazine and covered the period between 1947 to mid 1960. 

      It first published a few months after the nationalisation of the industry and became a link between the different coalfields, the NCB and its workforce. It provides a unique snapshot into the lives of miners and their families throughout this period.

      You can access the fully-digitised version of the magazine by clicking here.

    • Conference Centre
      Conference Centre

      Caphouse Colliery offers a unique venue for conferences, exhibitions and private events.

      The Conference Suites at The National Coal Mining Museum are interchangeable spaces designed to offer maximum flexibility. Offering flexible spaces, ample car parking and a truly dedicated team, The team ensures that your meeting, event or conference is nothing short of first class.


      Read more about our conference suite options here

  • Pit Wood
    • Welcome to Pit Wood
      Welcome to Pit Wood

      Explore the Changing Landscape of Mining.

      Why not enjoy the scenic route and take some time to explore our peaceful woodland. See how nature has reclaimed the old colliery spoil heap and why we need to treat the orange mine water. Don’t forget to visit the Pony Discovery Centre and the Adventure Playground too!


      Welcome to Pit Wood


      Our nature trail will be closed 20-28 October 2021 for essential maintenance and will reopen on Thursday 29 October.
      We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

    • Water Treatment Plant
      Water Treatment Plant

      See how we transform orange mine water into clean river water.

      We need to pump over 4 million gallons of mine water per week to ensure the safety and dryness of the underground. It doesn’t come out clean and it’s the Museum’s responsibility to treat the water before it goes back into streams and rivers. As it moves through the rock and strata it picks up minerals, including iron pyrite. This is what gives it a rusty colour. 

      Natural chemicals in mine water will “settle out” if the water is still for long enough. The lagoons are settling tanks used to separate the orange ochre from the water pumped from the mine. The orange colour comes from the amount of ironstone in the strata around Caphouse. The water filters through the settling tanks, leaving more and more ochre behind before finally feeding into reed beds which become a natural sieve for the water.


      Today the water continues to be pumped out to ensure the survival of the underground workings. We’ll let Pete explain a bit more.


      Reed Bed Repairs

      The final part of the water treatment system are the reed beds. The reeds act as filters and absorb iron in the water.  The life processes of the reeds help to remove the polluting chemicals. 

      The reed beds more or less manage themselves.  Some die back in winter and then new reeds grow in the spring.  Eventually though, as the particles separated out in the filtration process do build up, the reeds become saturated with iron and are therefore less efficient.  At this point they need to be harvested and new reeds planted.  

      Recently work went on to cut back and replant new reeds to keep the system working as efficiently as possible. One of the reasons we have two reed beds is so that when we need to do this repair work, the other bed still remains operational.

      ReedBeds 014


      Have a go making your own Water Treatment Plant with this activity sheet.

    • Pony Discovery Centre
      Pony Discovery Centre

      Meet our pit ponies and find out how they helped miner move coal.

      Pit Ponies were an important part of the workforce during the 19th and 20th century. Visit the Centre to see some of the types of ponies used underground and learn about the jobs these workhorses had to do every day.


      Maurice is back and he’s telling pit pony Bud all about how ponies once worked underground, as well as taking a walk down memory lane as he revisits some of his old friends who once lived at the Museum.


      A Day in the Life of a Horsekeeper

      Catch up with Claire, one of our horsekeepers, to find out what she gets up to each day when she’s looking after the boys when they were in the old stables.


      Pit ponies stables were underground. Ponies would work up to 50 weeks a year without ever coming to the surface. Look at this picture by photographer Martyn Pick.

      • Imagine what it would be like to live, work and sleep without seeing daylight?
      • What would you miss most?


      Ponies have worked underground in coal mines since the 1700s.  They were still used until the 1990s.  In the early days horses and ponies were used for delivering coal and powering winding engines (horse gins) that hauled the coal up the shaft to the surface.

      By the mid 1700’s ponies could be found working underground. At first, they pulled coal on sledges, but soon in wheeled tubs running on rails which connected the coalface to the shaft bottom.  After 1842, more horses were brought underground to replace the work done by women and children who were banned from working below the surface by the Coal Mines Act.

      Ponies were still being used in the British coalfields into the late 20th century. In fact, the last pit ponies were taken out of Ellington Colliery, Northumberland in 1994.

    • Nature Trail
      Nature Trail

      Explore the woodland, spotting plants and wildlife along the way.

      A stroll along the Nature Trail is a great way to enjoy the fresh air and our countryside setting. Along the way you can enjoy the tranquillity of nature among the birch, oak and ash woodland, find out about the plants, trees and wildlife that make their home here and see what you can spot from the bird hides.


      Join Motty the Mole as he thinks about all the creatures you might see on the Nature Trail and even some underneath it.


      When you go outside, have a look around and remember that coal came from plants. Imagine what it would be like 310 million years ago in the swamp forests that covered the land. Think about the bugs and insects that would have been all around you.

      Why not make your own prehistoric bug here.

    • Bird Hides
      Bird Hides

      Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature from our bird hides.

      Interested in spotting some wildlife? Why not try out our bird hides and see what you can spy. Nestled in our reed beds which attract all kinds of fauna, it’s an ideal space to relax and immerse yourself in nature.


      Maurice has been so excited to get outside, and he’s even made some binoculars so he can explore nature up close!

      Using things you’ll likely find in your own home (especially the toilet roll tubes!), see if you can have a go at making some of your own to use in your garden.


      Stop and listen. What can you hear?
      Imagine what those sounds would mean to you, if you were a bird, a mouse or an insect.
      How might you feel?
      What would you do?


    • Adventure Playground
      Adventure Playground

      Imagine, play and make your own adventures.

      Let the kids run off some steam during your day in our mining-themed adventure playground with a range of exciting equipment for them to play on.

      If you are coming onsite to use the playground, please check in at the Welcome Area, it helps us know how many visitors are onsite.


      Maurice loves playing around and we’re learning about things that can go up and down. Maurice even shows us how we can make our very own see-saw! Make sure you share your see-saws with us.


      Before there were such things as adventure playgrounds, people in mining communities would pass their time playing traditional games like quoits, nipsey and knurr and spell.  

      Quoits is a game played in mining communities, where heavy metal rings would be thrown over pegs set out on a wooden board. Different pegs were worth different values.


      Some of you may have heard of a game called Nipsy, which was particularly popular in South Yorkshire. A little wooden egg shaped ball was balanced on a brick and then chipped into the air by clipping the edge with the bat. As the ball shoots in the air you simply have to hit as far as you can. Nicknamed ‘poor man’s golf’, the longest single hit was rumoured to be 208 yards.

      Another bat and ball game was Knurr and Spell or Nor and Spell. The Knurr, a hard golf-ball sized ball, was propelled vertically into the air by a Spell, a mechanical device that is tripped when a foot or club presses a lever. The player would try to hit it as hard as possible and again this game, it was the length of shot that mattered.


      360 View

    • Drift Mouth
      Drift Mouth

      See where the coal leaves the mine on its way to the screens.

      This mysterious gate leads to the Caphouse Drift. A drift is a sloped roadway leading out of the pit. It allowed coal to be transported from underground to the surface by conveyor belts. Drifts are also the emergency exit for the workers and an entrance for mine rescuers.


      This is what the Drift Mouth looked like when Caphouse was working. You can see the trolley of girders ready to be transported down into the pit.




      Here we see Pete followed by photographer Charlotte Graham, taking part in a Drift walk. One of Pete’s duties is to check the condition underground and that includes the Drift. 

      The Drift works as the colliery’s second form of egress (the other way out) so if there is ever a problem with the cage, visitors can actually walk out of the mine.


      The drift was completed in 1974 to improve coal production. Improvements in mining machinery meant that men were cutting more coal underground than they could transport to the surface, and the small shafts at Caphouse and Hope Pit could not cope with the demand. 

      Building the drift allowed coal to be transported out of the mine more efficiently. Before the drift was built, 30 tons per hour were brought to the surface in tubs. After it was built, up to 450 tons were transported by conveyor belt. That’s the equivalent weight of 200 cars.