Caphouse Colliery was sunk in the 1770s or 1780s and the Hope Pit in the 1820s. Sir John Lister Kaye of Denby Grange took over James Milnes' leases of the mineral rights in 1827 and his pits became the Denby Grange Colliery. The boiler house and stone and brick chimney at the museum are Grade II listed structures built around 1876 for Emma Lister Kaye along with the steam winding engine house, boiler yard, heapstead and ventilation shaft which are Grade II* listed. The boiler house has two Lancashire boilers and powered the winding engine. The timber headgear at Caphouse and the wood framed screens building at Hope Pit date from between 1905 and 1911. Pithead baths and an administration block were built between 1937 and 1938. Lockwood and Elliott, who owned Shuttle Eye Colliery, had acquired the colliery by 1942. The colliery was nationalised in 1947 and a drift mine opened in 1974. The colliery closed in 1985. The Yorkshire Mining Museum opened in 1988 and the museum became the National Coal Mining Museum in 1995.
The museum offers free guided underground tours where visitors can experience the conditions miners worked in and see the tools and machines they used as the industry and the mine developed through the years. Above ground there is a visitor centre which houses exhibitions on the social and industrial history of the mines. The extensive library and archive contains issues of "Coal News" and details of collieries throughout England. Other features include the pit head baths, steam winding house, boiler house and coal screening plant. It is possible to see former working pit ponies, ride the paddy train or follow the nature trail. The museum is an Anchor Point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
Aside from the Nature Trail the museum is wheelchair accessible. Prior to entering the tour, visitors must collect battery packs that are attached to a waist belt, weighing around 3kgs/7 lbs, as well as a lamp to carry, and hard hat to wear. The battery pack can be attached to a wheelchair. Two standard manual wheelchairs are available for use and the Museum designates a tour each day specifically for wheelchair access. It should be noted that certain wheelchairs will not be allowed underground – visitors should contact the Museum in advance for further details. Toilets and an Accessible Toilet are located with external-level access from a footpath to the rear of Hope Garage and further accessible toilets are located on the first floor. Assistance and Guide dogs are welcome. The reception desk is directly opposite the main entrance and has a lower section of counter, and a sound induction loop to assist hearing-impaired visitors. At this point are also available a guidebook, with a large-scale coloured map of the site, and audio-tour guide devices. The audio-tour guide has information about all galleries and buildings that you can visit on site, with reference to number coding in those locations, and has a volume control. Please note: Under 5s are not able to go underground.
Location : Caphouse Colliery, New Rd, Overton WF4 4RH
Transport: Wakefield Westgate (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : Yorkshire Tiger 232 and the Arriva 128 and 130 stop close by.
Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 01924 848806