An Exciting journey through the HISTORIC Kent coalfield
The Kent Mining Museum will be at the heart of the new Betteshanger Country Park’s Visitor Centre.
The aspiration for the Kent Mining Museum has always been to provide a unique experience that appeals to the whole family, while acting as a hub for other mining heritage centres and museums in East Kent.
The Kent Mining Museum, built on the former Betteshanger Colliery site, will draw on the collection that has been built up over the years by the East Kent coalfield communities. The Kent Mining Museum will help to complete the story of mining in the UK. It will create exhibitions and programmes that will educate, entertain, and engage people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.
EXPERIENCE LIFE AS A KENT MINER
The Kent Mining Museum will take visitors on a journey through the story of the East Kent coalfield spanning almost 100 years, from when coal was first discovered in 1890, to the closing of Betteshanger Colliery in 1989.
With the museum exhibition placed over two floors, visitors will be able to explore:
- A day in the life of a Kent miner – both at work and home
- The history of coal mining in Kent
- The geography of the East Kent coalfield
- The importance of coal through the years
- Geology – looking at how coal is formed
Highlights will include a ‘journey’ of mine cars from Tilmanstone Colliery, an interactive Dosco Roadheader, original tools and clothing, and most importantly, the history of the coalfield told through voices of the people who lived and worked here.
EXPLORE ‘BELOW GROUND’
‘Below Ground’ is our underground exhibition space, where a series of changing exhibitions will look at different aspects of the East Kent Coalfield. The opening exhibition will be ‘Pride & Protest: Art and the Unions’ exploring how unions have used and been depicted in art, film, literature and poetry.
‘Below Ground’ also houses ‘Your History’ where visitors can explore the coalfield collections of the Museum and its partners, particularly oral history, and visitors are encouraged to leave their own reminiscence to be archived in perpetuity.
In addition, visitors will discover other elements outside of the museum that help tell the mining story across the whole 250 acres of Betteshanger Park. New mining-themed play equipment will encourage children to learn more about the journey of coal and a new heritage trail featuring ten pieces of art across the park will be fun and interesting to explore.
DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL OF THE KENT COALFIELD?
Like the collieries and surrounding villages of Kent, people are at the heart of our new museum. Our aim is to collect and preserve the Kent coalfield’s unique heritage for people to explore and enjoy, now and in the future. Every object tells a story, and we already have some wonderful items contained within the museum’s collection. We always need more stories, your stories, and we would really like you to get involved.
If you have something, a badge, books, photographs, Davy lamp, tools or a grandparent’s diary telling of their journey to Kent, please get in touch. We can give them a safe home where they will be used, shared with future generations, and not hidden away. Or maybe you have a story to tell about you or your family? Fill in your details on the memory board, drop us a line or give us a call; we would love to visit you, hear your tales, and record your memories.