South East News

Museum Collection Swells

The Kent Mining Museum, due to open at Betteshanger Park near Deal in 2018, have become custodians of over 500 artefacts relating to the history of the Kent Coalfield.

The new collection, on loan from Dover Museum, includes mining workwear, signage, equipment and ephemera and will form part of the Museum displays and its research archive. Items of significance include the Snowdown Colliery plant book, offering a valuable glimpse into the working methods of the pit in its early years,

The collection move comes after Museum recently completed its new Storeroom. With specialist storage units and state of the environmental monitoring equipment (both funded by a generous donation from the Association of Independent Museums), the Kent Mining Museum is now able to care for and help preserve items relating to Kent’s unique mining heritage.

Darran Cowd, Museum and Heritage Manager, Kent Mining Museum, said: “To be asked to take care of this substantial collection is a big vote of confidence for the Kent Mining Museum. Many of the items will form parts of the displays when we open the doors to the Museum next year. There are deep links between the coalfield and the wider communities of the Dover area and we continue to work closely with Dover Museum to collect and promote the heritage of the area.”

Particular thanks are due to Jon Iveson and Dr Lynda Pearce of Dover Museum for facilitating the loan and making their own knowledge of the coalfield available to the museum project.

The Museum is actively looking for further stories and items about the Kent Coalfield. If you have something, a badge, books, photographs, Davy lamp, tools or a grandparent’s diary telling of their journey to Kent, the team urge you to get in touch. They’ll be given a safe home, where they’ll be used and shared with future generations.

The Kent Mining Heritage Foundation (KMHF) is a registered charity (charity no. 1165403) working in partnership with Betteshanger Park, Hadlow Group, Aylesham and Elvington & Eythorne Heritage Centres to collect, care and promote East Kent’s coal mining heritage. From the outset The Betteshanger Project has been working towards a fundraising target of £1.8m. Through the work of the Kent Mining Heritage Foundation’s Development Group the project has received unprecedented support but currently faces a £0.9m funding gap. Your help is vital in ensuring the success of the project.

For information about the Kent Mining Museum, see www.betteshanger-park.co.uk

Image caption: Darran Cowd, Museum & Heritage Manager, Kent Mining Museum, with some of the collection from Dover Museum.

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