When the last mine in the Somerset Coalfield closed in 1973 local people wanted to recognise the work of the Somerset miners and their contribution to Britain’s heritage. The result of this foresight is an extensive collection of artefacts from Somerset’s coal mining history. The Museum, with its collections and purpose built displays, is now housed in the restored Radstock Old Market Hall. With galleries on two floors you can learn about blacksmithing, coal mining, shoe and boot making, printing and local breweries. In addition at weekends there is a Virtual Reality ride down a coal mine. We also have a well stocked book shop and a tearoom.
For a smallish museum there is a great deal to see. The Victorian street is lovely with it's miner's kitchen, old co-op shop, blacksmiths shop and printers. The old beautifully restored horse drawn bread van with it's full size horse really completes the street scene. The coal-mine has the sounds of the miners working away and narrative of a former miner to listen to which is really captivating. The conditions the miners worked in is really brought home to you with the scene within the coal-mine and some of the genuine artefacts on display. Upstairs is the museum's exhibition space and the exhibitions I have seen there have been meticulously put together with informative information boards and images and cabinets full of fascinating objects. There are various trails for the children which they really enjoy and the tearoom and shop are a treat. A great afternoon out and worth re-visiting to see the new things on display and the changing exhibitions.
Visited on Thursday, August 23, 2018
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