Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

1.3m for mining museum repairs

Scottish Mining Museum
The Lady Victoria Colliery has housed the museum since 1984

The Scottish Government has pledged 1.3m for "urgent structural repairs" to the Scottish Mining Museum in Midlothian.

Discussions are continuing about long-term funding to secure the future of the museum, based at the former Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange.

Culture Minister Michael Russell announced the support during a visit to the museum.

He said it was a "great asset" which did "excellent work".

Mr Russell met members of the Museum's trust, Museums Galleries Scotland and Historic Scotland to discuss the longer term issues facing the museum.

Super pit

He said: "The Scottish Mining Museum continues to do some excellent work in preserving and allowing access to this important part of our heritage.

"The funding I have announced today will improve buildings on site which are badly in need of repair and will ensure continued safe access for visitors.

"I am committed to working with all those involved to ensure this important part of our industrial heritage continues to be preserved and that it remains accessible to the public.

The funding announced was 1.32m over three years to 2011.

The Scottish Mining Museum is given 220,000 each year from Museums Galleries Scotland.

The Lady Victoria Colliery, named after the wife of the Marquess of Lothian, opened in the 1890s and became renowned as one of Scotland's first "super pits", with a workforce of almost 2,000 at its peak.

By the time it closed in 1981, the colliery had produced a record 40 million tons of coal, all hauled up the 500-metre shaft by the largest winding engine in Scotland.

The A-listed complex is now said to be one of the finest surviving examples of a Victorian colliery in Europe, and has been home to the extensive collections of the Scottish Mining Museum since 1984.

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