A Light in the Darkness

Explore our new permanent exhibition which reveals the history of the flame-safety lamp which has been credited with saving countless lives, so much so that it has become an icon of the mining industry.

Prior to the invention of the flame-safety lamp, miners lived in fear of the presence of gas underground - undetectable to the human senses but highly flammable and in some cases explosive when it came in to contact with their candles which they needed for light. 

In 1815, famous scientist Sir Humphry Davy was called on to help save the lives of the coal miners who were losing their lives in explosions underground. Find out about the ‘safe lamp’ Davy invented and the following controversy when he was accused of copying other innovators. Discover how innovators improved the lamp over the next 150 years and explore the qualities they and Davy had that made them successful scientists and engineers,  perhaps you have these qualities too! Hear about the legacy of the miners’ lamp and how it has come to be an iconic symbol of the mining industry and see over 50 lamps from the museums unique collection of flame-safety lamps.

To download a Children's Activity Leaflet to complete in the exhibition, please use the link at the bottom of the page.

A Light in the Darkness was funded by AIM Biffa Award as part of their History Makers programme. The History Makers scheme funds museums to create new exhibitions that will inspire the public through the lives and achievements of extraordinary, historical figures. The scheme is managed by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and Biffa Award, a multi million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to communities and environmental projects across the UK as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

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