National Mining Museum Scotland is a 5 star visitor attraction based in the Newtongrange, Midlothian. It cares for and interprets the Lady Victoria Colliery and the Scottish coal mining collections, collecting and preserving objects from all the Scottish coalfields. The museum's greatest asset is its extensive premises. Many of the buildings have been restored but many more are in need of upgrading to save them from further decay and to make them accessible to the public.
The Undercroft, the iconic arched area underneath the colliery buildings, has never been open to the public and we'd like to change that. During the colliery's operational life it was a hub of activity. Railway sidings from the Waverley Line passed under the arches and were loaded with coal for transportation to the textile mills in the Borders and the docks in Leith.
The coal did not just come from the Lady Victoria Colliery, but also from the neighbouring collieries at Easthouses and Lingerwood, which were connected to the Lady by branch lines.
After the Colliery's closure in 1982, the Undercroft lay unused for many years and grew structurally unstable. However, in 2009 National Mining Museum Scotland gained Capital funding to secure the area and make it safe for future generations. This work was completed in 2011.
Since then, it hasn't been routinely open to the public due to the unevenness of the ground. Now we want to share this atmospheric and crucially important part of our site with everyone.
WHY ARE WE CROWDFUNDING?
We want to open up the area and begin regular guided tours as part of our visitor experience. This will involve:
(1) Levelling the ground and installing walkways/pathways and railings through the Undercroft.
(2) Installing adequate lighting for the tour
(3) Designing, producing and installing interpretation panels to bring the Undercroft to life.
(4) Researching and scripting a new tour.
In order to do this we need to raise around £10,000.