History Society crosses the border!

History Society crosses the border!

Written by Mr Chugg, History Teacher

On a cold December morning, the History Society made the journey across the border and invaded
Wales. The journey to Big Pit National Coal Mining Museum was smooth with many students
catching up on some sleep or pointing out the various farm animals that we went past on the
journey. You’d never have guessed we were a group coming from North Devon where we see these
things every day.

Once we arrived we headed to the Education Centre to learn about the role that children played in
the coal mining industry and how the whole industry started in the first place. The students enjoyed
pulling a cart filled with fake coal and getting to grips with the finest coal Wales has to offer. I think
it’s fair to say that many of the students would never have made it in the mining industry, best they
stick to their studies and don’t end up getting sent down the mines!

After a brief explore of the museum learning about the tools of the trade and some lunch, we got to
the best part of the day which was going down into the mine itself. The former miners got us kitted
up with head-torches and belts which was followed by a shaky descent into the mine via a metal lift.
We were then led around the mine shafts and tunnels by experts who explained how safety and coal
mining has developed over the last 250 years. I myself even learned that a major sign of toxic gasses
in mines is not the canary bird dying, but the fact it goes quiet.

After a great tour we exited the mine, headed to the gift shop and got back on the bus. The journey
home was far quieter than the journey to the mine as everyone got tired. The biggest question on
everyone’s mind as we completed our journey home was “Is it okay to dip chips into your milkshake
at McDonalds?”. After a tense debate it was decided by the society that NO was the answer to the
dismay of several students. It was an enjoyable end to an enjoyable day. I am very proud of the way
that the students behaved themselves throughout the day and we are all looking forward to the next
trip. Wherever it may be…