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The National Coal Mining Museum of England is located at a former colliery, Caphouse, which was in production for more than two hundred years. There are several galleries that showcase the technology of mining and working underground, illustrate what mining was like in the 19th century and tell the stories of the miners, their families and their communities. You can see where miners began and ended their working days – at the Pithead Baths. You can even meet some pit ponies. The highlight of a visit, however, is a trip underground, 460 feet (140 metres) beneath the surface equipped with your miners’ hat and lamp. The tours are led by experienced (and often amusing) ex-miners, who tell you to ‘shut tha’ trap’ and explain when you are ‘done and dusted’. The underground tour really brings home the harsh realities of the dangerous and unpleasant conditions miners worked in, from the times when women and children worked alongside their men, to the 20th century when the pit closed.
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