Leeds & West Yorkshire

National Coal Mining Museum hits record visitor numbers

Former miner and visitors underground Image copyright National Coal Mining Museum
Image caption Guides that are former miners explain coal mining through the centuries

The National Coal Mining Museum for England has recorded the highest number of visitors since it opened in 1988.

The museum at the former Caphouse colliery near Wakefield saw 138,291 people visit in 2015-16, an increase of 16% on the previous year, it said.

David Hinchliffe, from the museums trustees, said it was important "to keep the spirit of mining and mining communities alive".

Visitors to the free museum can descend 460ft (140m) on an underground tour.

Former miners guide the visitors and explain the realities of coal mining through the centuries.

The increase in visitors was due to a bigger range of attractions and the success of A Light in the Darkness exhibition, on the development of miners' safety lamps, said the museum.

Caphouse, at Overton, closed in 1985.

The closure of Kellingley colliery in North Yorkshire in December 2015 brought to an end to centuries of deep coal mining in Britain.

In the early 1900s more than one million people were employed as miners.

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