HOME to the only working winding engine in Europe, the Astley Green Colliery Museum are running projects to save the last pit head standing in Lancashire.
For those who don’t know, a Pit Head is where workers would enter a mine and has a pulley system, in which workers would be lowered down into the shaft and coal would come up the shaft.
The only one standing in the county is currently on the ‘at risk’ register through fears it could collapse.
Being such a significant part of the local history, the charity that run the museum (the Red Rose Steam Society) are calling for locals to pitch in and help.
The Chair of Trustees, Trevor Barton MBE, says the next project will be to fix and replace areas of the Pit Head, where weather damage has occurred. It will then be painted in red- the original colouring.
He calls the headgear a scheduled monument and continues: “It’s the dodo. It really is very special. If we lose this, there’s no more of this in Lancashire. So, all the trustees and volunteers are committed to saving this.”
This metal frame pictured, is known as the Headgear, which is what the structural frame for an underground mine is know as.
If you watch Peaky Blinders, you might actually recognise this from episode two of the current season.
— CityLife Manchester (@CityLifeManc) November 22, 2017
Earlier this year, Peaky Blinders filmed on the site and their set designer (Alan Shaw) has been returning to the museum often; helping to re-design the new museum, which is currently under construction.
This will be in the style of an old miner’s cottage and will be home to a new tea room and toilets for visitors.
One of the volunteers helping in the restoration projects is 85-year-old Eric Lancaster.
He started mining when he left school at 14. He worked at the Astley Green site, whilst his wife worked in the cotton factory down the road.
Eric volunteers because: “It’s just the interest in the mining history.”
He describes what it like to work in the mines too.
Everyone working at the museum wants to preserve the heritage of the local area for future generations, who may not know how significant the mining industry was in the county.
Trevor Barton MBE presented a powerpoint so people can see exactly how significant the site was before closing in 1970.
You can find the Museum on Higher Green Lane in Astley. Here’s their opening hours: