The Big Pit at Blaenavon

The Big Pit is a former coal mine which is now the National Coal Museum and part of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape.  The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape is in South Wales and includes the Blaenavon Ironworks and other sites. I have a separate post on the ironworks.


Pit props stacked by the pit shaft.  

The museum includes the caravan that was used by pickets during strikes

A simple mechanism for raising coal to the surface using water and gravity. 

Lockers in the miners baths.  Before pit baths were introduced miners had to go home in their dirty clothes. This trailed  dirt into their houses and they had to get bathed in tin baths.  Pit head baths really transformed the lives of miners and their families.  Pit baths had three parts. A 'clean' end, a 'dirty' end and between a set of showers. At the end of their shift the miners would get undressed and leave their clothes on the 'dirty' side, have a shower and put on their clean clothes in the 'clean' side. At the start of their next shift they reversed the process.

At Blaenavon they kept their clothes in lockers. In the Yorkshire and Durham pits I went down they put the clothes in baskets ands hoisted the baskets to the ceiling. A better system, I think.

There is a very good museum at the Big Pit. I spent several hours there and wished I could have spent longer.

The Big Pit is near the Blaenavon Iron Works and it is possible to visit both sites in the same day.  Both are free to visit.

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