Yorkshire (according to Yorkshire facts from The Yorkshire Times) “is the largest county in the UK, spanning 2.9 million acres. It is often split into three geographical areas; North, West or the East Riding. The North and East Riding of Yorkshire are more rural areas, whilst the West Riding is much more urbanised.” While we are in England we are in West Yorkshire and the people here think it’s the best area in Yorkshire, of course.
The Tour de France came through here in 2014. On our journey to Chatsworth house yesterday we saw bicycles in the trees commemorating the Tour de France and other cycle races that are quite popular in this area.
The National Coal Mining Museum is our destination today. It is located in West Yorkshire and is a collection of buildings, displays, and galleries that reveal the hidden world of English mining through the centuries. We did not take the tour 400 feet underground into the mine to actually see how it was done back in the day (thank you very much!) but did take the narrow gauge train to other parts of the grounds where they housed many pieces of equipment that told the story of former mining days.
This was hubby’s kind of museum. He was fascinated with the engines and gears and such. I was overwhelmed by the odors of oil and grease. It was amazing to see how so many men squeezed into small quarters to be taken down mine shafts hundreds of feet below the earth to mine the coal all those years ago. The guide described the miners’ journey to work each day and said it took a long time for them to reach their actual destination. And temperatures could be so hot that they would strip down to their underwear – which the guide proudly showed us was ventilated. (He could have skipped showing us that part.)
It is an intriguing piece of history. Bet you didn’t know this: according to the museum, the phrase “shut your trap” apparently came from the mining era when young children were employed to work underground to open and close wooden trap doors that would allow fresh air to flow through the mine. The children would sit in total darkness for hours waiting to let a tub of coal through the door and if they fell asleep, they would be yelled at “shut your trap!”.
In the workshop area of the museum grounds, hubby is busy checking out how everything worked. He spotted six machines (they were like lathes, grinders, and mills) that ran off one motor and one shaft. They were hooked up to different size belts and pulleys so that each would be able to run at the speed needed. (Engineers and such will understand this part, otherwise, yawn.) In the meantime, in the same building, I’m looking at the modern day pieces of art that the ironworkers are currently creating and selling and wondering if I need to buy another suitcase to bring home more souvenirs. (If my phone had arrived from Italy, I would have photos.)
If you would like to know more about the history of mining in West Yorkshire, here is a link that has a lot of information: Coal Mining in the Huddersfield Area. It really is interesting reading and they did learn from early disasters to make mining safer through the years. However, they stopped mining in this area in 2015.
The museum had a nice cafeteria where we ate lunch. The county’s most well-known food delicacy is, of course, Yorkshire pudding. The photo above is an American version from my website. However, we found out today, it is not the Yorkshire pudding Americans might think it is. When we were going to order it, we were presented with a large pie of dough that was cake size filled with sausage, peas and mashed potatoes, not a puffed up small muffin that we serve in the U.S. Were we surprised! We chose not to order it and had a meat pie instead. [Be sure to turn in tomorrow. We ordered this very thing in a small pub in York and OMG is it good!]
After Chris and Sarah’s girls had fun at the Coal Mining Museum playground, and Gill and Des took off for the holidays in Cornwall, we returned to the Foxglove in Kirkburton with Omar and Louise.
On the way, we drove by the biggest transmitting tower in England. Emley Moor transmitting station is 1,084 feet tall, made of concrete, and began transmitting in 1971. Another tower was built next to this one made of metal and completely constructed by a helicopter dropping pieces into each base piece one-by-one. It was built in March 2018 and erected so that work could be done on the main tower’s transmitting arrays without interrupting transmissions.
Evening dinner was local curry take away and Fish ‘n’ Chips from up the road. Finally had my paper wrapped fish ‘n’ chips and thoroughly enjoyed it! By the way, in the north, they eat fish ‘n’ chips with gravy. I think the proper thing to do is dip your chips in the gravy? We tried it, didn’t quite understand it. Hubby went for ketchup with his chips(fries).