When it comes to trade and industry Northumbria is not short on offering a glimpse into the past with so many famous visible landmarks and many still operational. Farming, agriculture and fishing are all still present and essential to our everyday lives but what about the industries from days gone by? Have they simply been erased from never to be seen or thought of again?
Thankfully the answer is no and it’s a wonderful thing to scratch beneath the surface and get an idea of what life was like for workers in coal mines, ship building, mills and factories which are all strongly linked to life in the North of England and are an important part of the county’s industrial history .
Although a trip to a coal mine might not be up there with the top 10 things to do while on holiday you will find The Woodhorn Colliery Museum is really worth a visit. The Colliery museum can be found just off the A1 at Ashington and it has become a firm favourite with families and day trippers since it opened in2006 as monument to its history.
Woodhorn is the site of a former colliery operational until 1986. At its peak 2000 men and women were working either above or below in the mine and the museum is of great value to those wishing to know more about the coal industry or find out more of the local industrial past. It holds huge cultural and historic place in history and the stories of those who lived and worked there can be seen and heard at every turn.
Woodhorn started life with its 1st shaft being sunk in 1894 and it produced 600,000 tons of coal a year at its peak. Its huge ventilation shaft even has its own story to tell surviving a direct hit from a German bomb in 1941
Happily this has become one of the North East’s most popular attractions where visitors can really connect with life as a miner and the role of coal with their communities. In many ways Woodhorn is living history and guests can see into their homes and live life as a miner including climbing into the cage and experiencing washday for themselves.
As part of the experience Woodhorn has managed to preserve many of the original buildings and workings of the mine as well as a blacksmith and steam winding engine and two head frames. Woodhorn is a great opportunity to live the past and remember those who lived and worked and those who gave their lives within the industry they knew and loved. They really were the historical everyday heroes we read about or see on the news. Woodhorn is the best way to learn and experience their way of life and allow history to tell us its story.
On a lighter note there is also a super playground built on the industrial theme as well as a café and a shop.
More information can be found at www.experiencewoodhorn.com