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Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum

Add Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum to your Itinerary


Somerset Coalfield Life at Radstock Museum


Waterloo Road


Tel: +44 (0)1761 437722

Our award-winning museum transports you back to the Victorian industrial age; a time when Somerset had 75 coal mines covering an area of 240 square miles.  The mines brought with them canals, tramways and railways and our villages and towns grew to accommodate the miners and their families plus all the people needed to support the collieries and the transportation of coal to places such as Bath and London.

Explore our reconstructed coalmine and through the candlelit darkness you will see for yourself how dangerous and difficult it was for men and boys as young as five years old working in Somerset’s famously narrow coal seams, sometimes just two feet high. Hear the sounds of their picks and shovels; see the carting boy crawling through the tunnel dragging his put of coal. Why is he wearing only trousers and no boots?

See how the miner’s wife managed daily life in our miner’s cottage, with as many as fourteen children to raise, and only a tin bath in front of the coal range for her husband and sons to wash in after a day down the mine.  Go into her laundry room and outside privy, where a bucket under a wooden shelf with a hole in it provided the only toilet for several families to share! Where was the bucket emptied?

Visit our old Co-op shop and learn how the co-operative society was set up by the people of Radstock to provide them with affordable food. Gaze upon our array of old packaging - can you see any recognisable brands still with us today?

In our blacksmith’s shop the forge glows red hot; the blacksmith would heat his metal to make tools for the local farmers, repair the miners’ picks and shovels, shoe horses and repair colliery machinery.

Walk through the Victorian schoolroom; compare it with today’s classrooms. Imagine having only a slate to write on or worse, being caned! Why did Victorian girls wear aprons to school?

Get a birds eye view of central Radstock in the days of steam; our model shows where the Somerset and Dorset and Great Western Railways converged and where coal was loaded into wagons and taken by steam locomotives far and wide. See our collection of railway exhibits.

Enjoy our fossil collection, visiting exhibitions, and our book and gift shop. Then relax in our cafe selling hot and cold drinks, delicious cakes and snacks.



Opening Times

Season (1 Feb 2019 - 30 Nov 2019)

* We are closed on Mondays: except for Bank Holiday Mondays when we are open from 2pm until 5pm. 
Last admission time for the Museum and the Tea Shop is 4.30pm
The Museum is closed during December and January.

Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

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