Hi Fionn - At last our Museum is open. There is no charge for entry, and the times are 10am to 4pm Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, though this may be changed come the winter. We eventually opened on the 11th of July, this was delayed due to our acquiring the Mansfield news-paper archive.
Our new website coming soon, this will give you details including address, telephone etc.
If you find yourself in our part of the world please drop in we have four ex miners on staff who are more than willing to share any information they or we have.
Bilsthorpe Museum Website
I am also a founder member of Blidworth and District Historical and Heritage Society since 2008. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday in the month 7am to 9pm at Blidworth Welfare.
I was keenly associated with Ollerton of Yesteryear Group and in the past been asked to open the annual display of village photographs at the Dukeries Academy several times and albeit a sad occasion was proud and privileged to be invited to open the final display in July 2014. Lack of membership of younger people and the demise of several key members left the Society very fragile as everything was carried out by volunteers. However a Memorial to the miners at Ollerton Colliery 1923-1994 is planned for 2015 by the Memorial Group and will be situated in the Wildlife Garden adjacent to the Cemetery. Access is from Forest Road.
For many years I was a member of Ashfield Heritage Society, contributing to the Ashfield Historian magazine. The group meet at the Church on Church Hill off Brook Street, Sutton.
Bestwood Engine House and display is another Visitor Centre. Entrance is free and open at weekends. Volunteers run the site and the original unique steam-driven vertical-piston winding engine has been rebuilt by them and is now operated by electricity and can be seen working. Visitors are escorted to the engine house. A wonderful lifelike model of a winding engine driver standing at the controls is now attired with flat cap, black trousers, white shirt with neckerchief and waistcoat complete with fob watch and chain, (all donated by me) showing an early 20th Century scene, dressed by Dr David Amos and self in Dec 2014. The Dynamo house has a few mining artifacts and photos. Snacks and drinks are available. Bestwood Park with walkways has been created adjacent on the old dirt tipping site.
The National Mining Museum of England at Caphouse, Overton, near Wakefield is a must. This fine example of a 19th Century mine is open every day except Christmas from 10am-5pm and a free underground visit by cage down the 140m shaft, then an escorted tour is not to be missed. There are many hands on features for children. There are lots of surface attractions as well. A canteen offers hot meals, snacks and drinks.
A walk up the reclaimed old waste tip at Silverhill is a worthwhile visit. It is part of the Silverhill Trail and Wildlife Haven, set with trees etc. The site is accessed from Stanley Lane after passing by the Carnarvon Arms PH on the crossroads at Fackley, Teversal. A model of a mine deputy holding an oil lamp as though testing for gas underground stands on a plinth at the highest point in Nottinghamshire. Magnificent views of the surrounding countryside including nearby Hardwick Hall can be seen. A plaque beneath the model has names of many collieries that were worked in Nottinghamshire with opening and closure dates. I was instrumental in researching the exact dates in conjunction with David Clarke MBE who was Mining Records Officer at the Coal Authority at Lichfield Lane, Mansfield. We were both invited to the unveiling ceremony in 2006.
Other mining museums are at:-
The large mainly open air Black Country museum with many attractions is also worth a visit and there too an underground trip can be made by entering a surface drift adit. A fee has to be paid to enter the site.