Chez WW in England

Chez WW in England

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Archive for March 2012

Abergavenny, Wales

31 March 2012

Abergavenny is a Welsh market town close to the English border. Starting out as a Roman fort Abergavenny later became a medieval walled town. Abergavenny Castle is a medieval ruin that was built soon after the Norman conquest of Wales.

Big Pit National Coal Museum, Wales

After touring Blaenavon Ironworks, it was time for our next stop. Big Pit National Coal Museum. From 1860 to 1980, Big Pit was a working coal mine. Now it is a working museum. Everything is left as it was. Real miners give a guided tour of the pit.

There is a replica of a coal miner's home. It shows that despite the showers taken at work, coal dust came home and covered everything. It was a hard life not only for the miners but for their wives and children.

There is a simulation ride that shows what it is like down in the mine with the mining equipment.

 Before we went down into the pit we had to turn over watches, cameras, phones. Anything with a battery. The pit is a dangerous place. We entered it by taking an elevator. It was dark. There were stalls under ground for the pit ponies. Each year the ponies would ride the elevators to the surface and spend 2 weeks above ground. It got very hard to get the horses back into the elevators and they did not adjust well to being back underground so this practice was stopped and the ponies lived their lives in the pits. When they died they were buried in one of the many holes where the coal had already been removed.

I was happy to be above ground again.

Blaenavon Ironworks, Wales

Our first stop of the day was Blaenavon Ironworks. This once working site was where the basic steel making process began. For the first time cheap, low-quality iron ores were used. Built in 1789, Blaenavon remained in operation until 1904. The workers lived on site in cottages and shopped at the Ironworks store.

Our nest stop. Big Pit National Coal Museum.