Mayfield Explorers

National Mining Museum of Scotland


The National Mining Museum Scotland looks after the Lady Victoria Colliery at Newtongrange and houses the national coal mining collections for the whole country. The collections at the museum have over 60,000 items, including objects, maps, records, photographs and books. We were lucky enough to get to look at maps at Y2K – we had to be careful not to spill anything or even to touch some of the very old maps without special care! It was interesting to see how many changes have happened since the maps were drawn… and even that they were hand drawn – no Google maps in those days!

The Museum’s object collection includes tools, safety equipment, lamps, models, clothing, trophies, geological specimens, banners and art. We were able to visit the collections but Vicki also brought lots of things to Y2K so we could get a close-up look and handle the amazing things.  It wasn’t like being at school, we felt like we were in charge and had responsibility to take care of this important stuff.

When we went to the museum Vicki had arranged for us to go behind the scenes in the sheds and look at the BIG Stuff.  It really is BIG! There were lot of large machines and objects such as coal cutters, cages, and locomotives. Vicki is going to arrange for us to go back up the sheds to help cleaning the big stuff as it still needs to be looked after.

Owen Findlay

Mayfield Explorer & Youth Champion

A really special place is the Memorial Centre which opened in 2013 – this is for people to have remembrance ceremonies or a place for their private memories to mark the contribution of all those who worked in the mining industry.  It is open to anyone to think about those who worked in or lost their lives working in the mines.  The names and memories can be recorded.  When we visited it made us think about how dangerous mining could be and how so many people worked very hard to improve conditions for the miners over the years.  These stories were also told to us by the ex-miners we got to meet through Mayfield Explorer trips and sessions as well as the memories of our grandparents and family members.

The Museum has over 18,000 photographs, including underground scenes, surface images, aerial views, miners at work and play, gala days and village scenes. Of course, we didn’t see them all, but we were able to look at lots of them on a touchscreen computer. The library at the Museum houses books, journals and catalogues covering the history of the coal mining industry. The archives also have lots of original documents relating to collieries across Scotland, including those of the Lothian Coal Company.

We have decided that we will make our own memories and record the things important to us so others can share these in the future. We will have our own museum at Y2K – done the way we want to tell our stories.

Lauren Fraser

Mayfield Explorer