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Big Pit - Blaenavon
1860 - Present day

The shaft at Big Pit was sunk in 1860 and was intended to be used as a coal winding shaft for the Coity Pits colliery which already existed on this site. Owned by the Blaenavon Iron and Coal company, the remaining shafts at Coity Pits were thereafter used only for ventilation purposes.

After the widespread closure of collieries in the Welsh coalfield, Big Pit was granted a sum of cash in order for it to be maintained as a mining museum. This is how the papers of the day reported the story:

Big Pit's future secured as national mining museum
Launching the official integration of the Big Pit Mining Museum with the National Museums & Galleries of Wales today (Wednesday), Jenny Randerson, Minister for Culture, Sport and the Welsh Language, congratulated the partners who have worked together to create a new chapter in Big Pit's history.

Mrs Randerson spoke about the bright future for the museum and for the community of Blaenafon, whose industrial landscape has recently been designated a World Heritage Site:

"I am very pleased that the Assembly was able to approve the award in principle of 500,000 to Torfaen County Borough Council from the Local Regeneration Fund. All this money will go towards the redevelopment plans here at Big Pit. It is already the most visited mining museum in Great Britain and the redevelopment plans will further enhance its attraction to visitors.

"It will also benefit greatly from becoming part of the National Museums & Galleries of Wales who will be able to display their extensive coal collections here as well as providing academic input and bringing to bear their marketing expertise.

"At the heart of Blaenafon's success is its people. In the past men and women forged the Industrial Revolution and turned our small nation into the first industrialised country in the world. Today, it is the people here who have co-operated with the common aim of developing a first class museum and visitor attraction."




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