A historic moment in British history is being marked by a museum near Huddersfield.

The National Coal Mining Museum for England has marked the closure of Britain’s last working deep-coal mine, Kellingley Colliery in West Yorkshire, by purchasing the final tonne of coal.

The news comes just hours before the mine’s closure on December 18.

It marks an historic moment in coal mining history as Kellingley Colliery is the final deep coal mine in Britain, and will cease coal production for the country at large.

The coal, which was purchased by the Museum near Grange Moor in early December, will be exhibited in the Museum’s permanent collection and will go on public display in early 2016.

Miner at Kellingley Colliery wearing a 'space helmet' style hard hat, which gives protection against bumps, flying grit and airborne dust, as coal production at the UK's last remaining deep coal mine is set to end.
Miner at Kellingley Colliery wearing a 'space helmet' style hard hat, which gives protection against bumps, flying grit and airborne dust, as coal production at the UK's last remaining deep coal mine is set to end.

During 2014, the Museum exhibited a photographic exhibition, Pit Profiles: Re-profiled, containing photograph portraits of a selection of miners from Kellingley Colliery, by UK photographer Anton Want.

These photographs are now permanently held in the Museum’s collections, and will now be joined by the last tonne of coal, ensuring Kellingley’s legacy is not lost.

The Last Pit poster produced by local people to mark the closure of Kellingley Colliery
The Last Pit poster produced by local people to mark the closure of Kellingley Colliery

Andy Smith, acting director and Mine Manager at the Museum, said: “It is with great honour and sadness that we mark the end of not just an industry, but a loss of national heritage for the country.

“As a Yorkshire ex-miner I feel an immense sense of pride and responsibility for ensuring this heritage is not lost.

“We will continue to educate and inspire future generations about the history of coal mining and will display the last tonne of coal as a lasting reminder of deep-coal mining in Britain.”

VIDEO: British Coal Mining In the 1930's

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Huddersfield was once a powerhouse in the mining industry.

There were many pits which have long since vanished including Emley, Park Mill, Shuttle Eye, Denby Grange and Caphouse, which is now the site of the Mining Museum.

FACTFILE

  • In 1915, there were 2,581 deep mines producing coal; now there are nine
  • 635 people employed by underground mines, as of September 2015. When the UK mining industry was nationalised in 1947, almost three-quarters of a million people (705,500) worked for underground mines.
  • In 1922 there were 1.16 million miners
  • Coal was first mined from deep pits in Britain as early as 1853. An average of 72 million tonnes of coal were produced each year in the middle of the 19th century.
  • 292 million tonnes of deep mined coal produced in 1913, the highest for any year on record.
  • 18,600 people were employed by coal mines in 1994/5, when the industry was privatised. A total of 81% worked underground.