Into the Thick, Into the dark
Mind yer ‘ed! Descend ‘into the thick’ of our underground drift mine and hear what ‘Elija Wedge’ has to tell you about the world of an 1850s Black Country coalminer.
Learn how the mines were run, how timber props were used to support the roofs and face the harsh reality of a coal miner’s life in the mid-19th century, especially for ‘little Billy’ who started working down the mine at just 10 years old.
The underground mine experience is included in the price of general admission. What’s more, when you pay for just one day, we give you a ticket to return as many times as you would like for a whole year at no extra charge with our BCLM UnChained Annual Pass!
- Tours run regularly throughout the day. Go to the Mine Entrance at Racecourse Colliery to find out when the next slot is.
Mining in the Black Country
For centuries, the Black Country was renowned for its mining, helping the region to earn its reputation as ‘black by day, red by night’ owing to the blackened and scarred terrain created by heavy industry and the smoke that filled the air.
The area was home to the famous ‘Staffordshire Thick’, a single seam of coal some 10 yards in thickness that lay beneath much of the Black Country. It was the thickest coal seam in the UK and the greatest energy resource of the Industrial Revolution.
As you head underground in a recreated small Black Country coal pit, you will be able to experience the darkness a miner endured, explore a maze of roadways and working areas, and hear what ‘Elija Wedge’ has to say about the world of an 1850s Black Country coal miner.
You will learn how the mines were run and how timber props were used to support the roofs, as well as facing the harsh reality of a coal miner’s life in the mid-19th century, especially for ‘little Billy’ who started working down the mine at just 10 years old.
Audio-visual techniques bring to life the sounds and feelings that would have accompanied a miner’s day, from the tapping of pickaxes to the whinnying of a pit pony and the rumble of a nearby collapse.
Original songs performed by Keith Gwilliams.
- Tours are limited to small groups and run regularly throughout the day.
- Visitors will spend approximately 30 minutes underground with their guide.
- There are areas where the height is limited so visitors will need to bend and crouch for a short moment to access some of the tunnels.
- Visitors will be required to wear a helmet while underground and are to stay with their designated tour guide at all times.
- The underground mine experience is not accessible for wheelchairs or people with limited mobility.
- The minimum age is 5 years old. Under 5s will not be permitted due to the uneven terrain, low lighting and duration of the tour.
- Pushchairs are not allowed.