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Museum visitors to experience 'underground' mining
Volunteers at Snibston Discovery Park
A team of volunteers have been working on the new underground experience

Visitors to a Leicestershire tourist attraction will soon be able to experience the dark and cramped conditions of underground mining.

Former coal miners have helped Snibston Discovery Museum in Coalville recreate a coal-face and pit pony stable to form part of its popular colliery tour.

Volunteers are in the process of adding the final touches before the exhibition launch on Saturday, 19 February 2011.

The work was commissioned in direct response to public feedback.

Principal curator Carolyn Abel said: "Obviously here at Snibston you can't go down the shaft; it's plugged full of concrete.

Children with colliery guide Nigel Moore
I think we'll scare a few [visitors] because it will be pitch black when they come round!
Nigel Moore, ex-miner and tour guide

"[But] it's what out visitors are always telling us they want to see."

The new exhibition has been funded through the Volunteering Internships and Placements project, with additional support from local businesses.

A team of ex-miners, museum staff and volunteers have been working on sympathetically adapting one of the former Snibston Colliery buildings.

Nigel Moore, an ex-miner and long-standing guide, said he felt the new experience was a great addition to the museum.

"We've done it as near as possible to what it was like underground, so I think it will be very popular with the tourists.

"I think we'll scare a few as well because it will be pitch black when they come round!"

Living history

Robert Bancroft is another former miner who is keen to keep local mining history alive.

"My son volunteers with me and I am lucky to be able to pass down this experience to him in a structured, secure and safe environment with an end result which will have a benefit to the local community."

The County Council run museum has been working with local people to preserve the memories associated with the once major local industry and maintain the heritage site.

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