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S3 History Trip to Lady Victoria Colliery, Newton Grange

On Thursday 16th May, our S3 History class had the opportunity to visit the National Mining Museum of Scotland in Newton Grange. The Lady Victoria Colliery is home to Scotland’s most powerful winding steam engine and is also one of the best preserved Victorian Collieries in Europe. The Museum was created in 1984 to preserve the remains of the Colliery.

When we arrived at the museum we were greeted by our guide and split into different groups. Our guide told us how he used to work in the mines and explained to us what his day-to-day life was like when he worked in the mines. We moved upstairs to begin the first activity which took us around the first exhibition which was focused on the life of miners and their families. This section also recognised a number of miners who have made a great contribution towards the industry. This was very interesting and it introduced us to how tough the life of a miner and their family was.

After this we went to the second exhibition which was all about the story of mining and how the industry started in Scotland. This included how mining impacted on people’s lives and the various problems and hazards the miners and their families faced on a daily basis. This made us realise and recognise the reality of the dangers which came with the industry as a whole.

After our lunch break our next activity was a tour of the mine. Our guide was a man who had previously worked as a miner. He told us lots of stories from his time down the pit which was really interesting as it offered a true perspective on what the life of a miner was actually like. We were led down into the dark mine where we were shown lots of different aspects of the mine and the functions of each of these were explained to us. One of the things we were shown was the winding steam engine which was the most powerful in Scotland at the time. Our guide explained to us how it worked and how important it was to the miners but also the extreme responsibility which came with working the machine.

The tour was the final activity of our visit. Each activity was very educational and will definitely prepare us well for our National 5 course in S4. The weather on our trip to the National Mining Museum of Scotland was lovely and we had an absolutely brilliant day. Thank you to Mr Harley for organising the visit.

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