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WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID :
There are woefully few actual mining museums left in the UK. With little resources the Red Rose Steam Society are doing a very good job in building up this museum which is located close to the historic Bridgewater Canal.
Much of the place and the many steam engines and mining vehicles are still under restoration but they have done a good job especially with with the small museum.
The mining pit head gear is amazing to see up close.
Check with them first to see what the amazing engine is running for the highlight of the experience.
Over twenty years ago, a friend and I travelled by canal from Stoke to Leeds. While cruising along the Bridgewater canal we came across Astley Green colliery in the care of the Red Rose Steam Society. The enthusiastic volunteers showed us around the engine house. The massive winding engine was in a sorry state, and we wondered if the group would ever achieve restoration.
December 2016 saw the family confined to a Premier Inn in Wigan as my wife was hit by a nasty bug on our way down from Scotland. A quick Google confirmed Astley Green was open that afternoon, so I set off with our Grandaughter. My surprise on climbing the steps to the engine house was to find a restored winding engine. Even better, a volunteer told me that, providing they could start the temperamental compressor, they would be able to run the engine for a few minutes under compressed air. After quite a few false starts, the diesel eventually kicked into life. Once sufficient pressure had built, the engine was started. The smell and warmth of steam was obviously missing, but it was still a great sight. Congratulations to the volunteers on a brilliant job! The society struggles on a small budget, and I hope that they can access greater funding. Meanwhile, do try and make a visit and give generously in the donation box.
Visited December 2016
I just love seeing this old pit gear. I visited (again) this summer and spoke to some of the volunteers who battle against adversity to keep the place going. A lot of them are ex-miners and it is a labour of love. I dread to think what is going to happen to this piece of history in a few years time when there aren’t any ex miners left who willing or able to get involved.
One day when the place has gone to ruin and the pit gear rusted away, everyone will be full of regret and wishing that they had done something at the time. Apparently it is nigh on impossible to get lottery funding here – but its ok to spend millions sprucing up an opera house or two in London.
The museum is like stepping back in time and worth a look at – whilst you still can!
This is an evocative site and first impressions have the wow factor when you walk into the pit yard faced by the full pit head structure. This is not a sophisticated museum or exhibition by any means and some of the displays appear at first amateurish. However delving into their content you soon become aware of the historical and social ramifications of the coal mining industry. The jewel in the crown of this understated showpiece is the incredible (largest in Europe if not the world) preserved pit gear winding engine. The engineering involved in its creation inspires awe. Hats off to the volunteers who keep Ashley Green Colliery Museum afloat. They deserve serious publicity and all the support they can get.
Visited October 2016
Went here with my 3 year old son who is steam and train mad. The museum is small but there are a lot of old trains and machinery around to look at and it kept him entertained for hours. We were the only visitors at the time and all the volunteers are so friendly and helpful. We will try to visit again when the old engine is running which is huge in the main engine building. Will definitely be back again to visit as we are local. I spoke to one man who said they are trying to restore the old train line which runs alongside the canal so the kids can ride which would be brilliant.
Visited July 2016
Great afternoon wondering about this site, lets you understand the story of coal. Gives you a small insight into what was and how it came about, the good times and the dangers faced by the many men woman and children that went down the pits. The men who run this site now have many things they want to do but need the money to do it. They depend on donations.
For a small unfunded museum, largely kept going by its amazing team of volunteers, this place is well worth a visit. I found it a moving testament to that dying breed, the British coal miner. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the information and displays in the exhibition area. Every aspect of mining was covered – right up until the present day – and there was much to remind the visitor of the dreadful and highly dangerous conditions that miners endured. ‘A Day in the Life of a Miner’ is a fascinating film from 1910, shown on a continuous loop. The colliery and its buildings also date to the Edwardian period. The winding engine is truly ginormous (I think I read that it is 33,000 horsepower). Apparently it used to be powered by 16 very large boilers (which have since been removed). Nevertheless the engine can still be seen in action (powered by later technology), if you call in at the right time. This is a very informal place to visit. Entry is free – and you are able to wander around the buildings and the yard area (which is dotted with various pieces of old machinery and tramway trucks) at your leisure. There are a number of small scale steam (and other) engines which can be seen in action – and also a blacksmith’s forge (the young volunteer who works it can been seen in action on Saturdays and Sundays). The staff/volunteers are very friendly – and I heard that they would like to be able to demonstrate the impressive pithead winding gear/cage in action, if they can raise the money. I put a few pounds in the donation box – and hope more people will do the same for this very worthwhile museum (I also think it deserves more visitors – it really is an undiscovered gem, I feel).