Minister to re-open old shaft

Re-opening of furnace shaft at National Coal Mining Museum for England.
Re-opening of furnace shaft at National Coal Mining Museum for England.

CULTURE secretary Jeremy Hunt will open a major attraction at the National Mining Museum next week.

The Conservative MP will be at Overton on Thursday to open a newly conserved 140 metre long, glass-fronted shaft, which is believed to be the only one still in existence.

In 2007 the furnace shaft was found to be in danger of collapse. The Department for Culture Media and Sport contributed £150,000, as did the Department for Trade and Industry.

This provided partnership funding for a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the cost of conserving the shaft.

Additional funding came from other organisations and from members of the public towards the renovation of the shaft and the lamproom through the Buy a Brick Appeal.

Museum director Dr Margaret Faull OBE said: “It is therefore very appropriate that the opening is being carried out by the Secretary of State of the department that enabled the funding to be raised to carry out the work.”

The shaft now has a glass cover, enabling visitors to look down its full 140 metre depth. At the same time the lamproom displays have also been refurbished. This is where visitors have their first introduction to what they will see and do underground, and collect their hard hat and lamp from the miner guide.

The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm.