Astley, the small village I live in, is known for its rich mining history. At the heart of Astley Green lies Lancashire’s only remaining collier. Like many mines in the 1970’s, it faced closure and demolition in a time where politics and miners clashed.
I remember watching a recent performance of a play called Scab, based on a family of miners who worked at a local pit, and it was made very clear the struggle local families faced. In the time of Thatcher and strike, miners in the local area didn’t have much choice about whether to strike or not. The area wasn’t one of the richest, so every day’s pay counted. Therefore, despite the unanimous vote from miners to strike, many couldn’t because they needed the money to feed their families.
Now, the collier is a museum. Ran by locals with a passion, it clearly represents a much loved part of history, where danger and death were daily occurrences. Within the grounds lies the steel lattice known as a headgear, a twin-tandem compound engine and an extensive collection of locomotives, machinery and equipment found.
If you are ever in the vicinity, and fancy a day out to experience history, the museum is well worth a visit. It won’t take all day so why not visit the old boathouse pub, just a 3 minute walk down the road. The food is great – the broccoli, cheese and pasta bake is a favourite of mine! The pub is only small and far from fancy, but its your typical good-food local!!!