Digging Deep at The National Coal Mining Museum

Part of our Families guide

Debbie Cowley, Families Editor
Painting of a miner in the Digging Deep exhibition
National Coal Mining Museum

Digging Deep: Miners of African Caribbean Heritage, 7 January–1 March 2020, free entry - Visit now

The National Coal Mining Museum is a great family day out, not least because the kids (and grown ups!) get to wear a hard hat and travel 140 meters underground! Possibly not everyone’s idea of fun but a real treat for those who do love the adventure of going underground.

The museum has live demonstrations, technical tours and a changing programme of temporary exhibitions. In their first ever exhibition looking at the role of immigrants in the coal industry, Digging Deep: Miners of African Caribbean Heritage explores black miners’ stories.

The exhibition attempts to right a wrong by sharing the forgotten story of African Caribbean coal miners. The UK coalfields could be a diverse place, where African Caribbean men stood shoulder to shoulder with white British, European and Asian miners, literally fuelling the UK economy through their back breaking work. Some even died in the process. Their part in Britain’s industrial past was forgotten… until now.

Black miner in old photograph from Digging Deep exhibition
Image courtesy of National Coal Mining Museum

Digging Deep explores the migration memories of these workers and examines how they adjusted to life in the UK.  Discover about work in the collieries; the friendships, the teamwork and discrimination; memories of accident, injuries and death at the colliery; the struggle for industrial and personal survival; legacy and life after mining.

This exhibition was curated by historian, Norma Gregory. She has pulled together the stories and recollections from many former miners and their families. It is a story that many adults will not have heard, never mind children. It is a celebration of the diversity in the coalfields and is another step forward in hearing previously unheard voices.

7 January–1 March 2020
Free entry


  • Relaxed

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.