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£129k Grant Will Bring Racecourse Colliery to Life

Racecourse Colliery

17 January 2017

Great news – today we found out we’ve been awarded a grant totalling £128,490 towards the restoration of our racecourse colliery! The donation has been awarded by the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund and will complete our ongoing fundraising efforts for the area, which has seen financial support from 82 generous individual sponsors via our Big Give campaign  as well as donations from Arts Council England, the Owen Family Trust, EJ Thompson Memorial Fund, Friends of the Black Country Museum and Purcell UK.

The assessment panel mentioned that they were “particularly impressed” by the our visitor numbers, and agreed that the planned renovations would genuinely increase the amount of time visitors spent on site and improve flow around the Museum for those visitors.

The completion of fundraising will allow us to start work from February 2017, with an expected completion date of February 2018. The area, which sits on top of an original mine shaft, will focus on “life on the surface”, aiming to immerse visitors in the everyday life of colliery workers through a number of restoration projects. Restoration work will include a repair to the tub tramway so that coal can be transferred by pit pony; installation of atmospheric lighting; the restoration of a pit cage that shows how miners were lowered into the shaft as well as a host of brand new costumed characters to tell the real stories of those who once worked there.

Jonathan Wilson, Deputy Chief Executive – Collections, Learning & Research at BCLM comments: “We are delighted to have received so much support from the public for the restoration of our Racecourse Colliery. The completion of this project will mean the Museum is able to provide an immersive and thought-provoking experience of this important Black Country industry for our visitors, and give them a real sense of what day-to-day life was like for the people and animals working above a Black Country mine. Thanks to this generous donation, we’re able to start doing that straight away.”

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