As part of our Brecon Beacons Ambassador scheme we visited Big Pit National Coal Museum at Blaenafon. When the mine closed over 100 years of coal mining came to an end. It was decided to preserve and share the experience of the Welsh miner in a museum. Real miners take you 90 metres underground in the same cage as they used though thankfully quite a bit slower. Oue guide Steve had worked in the mines for 35 years and as you can imagine had a few tall tales to tell . He made you feel like his first guests of the day and that he was really pleased to see you. Afterwards we went on a tour of the bath house. This facility is now a museum but still retains many of the major improvements of a miner’s life that it brought like showers , clean clothes and a canteen. It even has a water bottle fill station which is quite ironic considering our current move away from bottled water. So proves we can still learn from the past. Entry is free which is another bonus.
Today I visited Blaernavon World Heritage Centre and Blaernavon Ironworks. The heritage centre is based in a converted school house and offers an insight into the industrial era and the production of iron ore that went on to be railway tracks and cannon balls. There are displays and presentations designed to bring this era to life.
A model of the ironworks shows how it looked at the height of its production period. A few of the buildings remain in which examples of the tools remain slowly rusting in the dusty old buildings.
The cottages on site have been staged with items that would have been relavent to different eras and give you an idea of what living there was like but without the pollution and heat the 6 large furnaces produced.
Today we visited The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh with the Brecon Beacons Ambassador Scheme.
The exploits of the 24th Regiment during the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War are legendary and remembered in the film Zulu. There is a model of the battlefield which helps explain what they did that day. The museum also has memorabilia from other eras of the Regiment. There is a dedicated chapel in Brecon Cathedral where many of the Regimental colours hang from the ceiling including those of the Anglo-Zulu war. They are a great place to visit on a wet day and maybe finish off with a drink or snack in the Pilgrims Tearooms in the Cathedral grounds.