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Into the Thick: Black Country Mine Celebrates 25 Years


17 October 2014

Black Country Living Museum’s mine will celebrate its 25th anniversary this month, having taken over 4 million visitors back in time and ‘into the thick’.

Our drift mine is one of the few mine tours in the UK to offer visitors a taste of what it was like to be a 19th century coal miner during the height of the Industrial Revolution, when the demand for this essential fuel seemed insatiable. 

The Drift Mine (so-called because you are able to walk straight into it rather than use a vertical shaft) had its official opening on 24 October 1989 by the Chairman of the Economic Development Committee D.H. Sparks. It is a manmade mine, designed to give visitors an experience that is both realistic and, most importantly, safe – something that very few Black Country Mines could lay claim to.

Many of the mines across the Black Country not only endangered their workers, but also those who lived in houses above them which were slowly ‘pit-pulled’ down into the empty space. The Museum has an example of this fascinating phenomenon with it's very own ‘tilted cottage’. Whilst the Black Country coal quite literally fuelled industrial expansion in the region (including the neighboring Birmingham), it was nevertheless won at the cost of great hardship and misery of the workers, a reality that the Museum is keen to convey in its tour.

Photos of the underground mine in construction in 1989.

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