National Coal Mining Museum for England

Caphouse Colliery

Useful Information

Location: The Museum lies on the north side of the A642 trunk road, half way between Wakefield and Huddersfield.
(53.643368, -1.619703)
Open: All year daily from 10-17.
Closed 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 26-DEC, 01-JAN.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineCoal Mine
Light: electric, helmet with headlamp provided
Guided tours: L=900 m, D=1 h.
Surface exhibitions allow half a day.
Bibliography: John Schofield (1997): Caphouse Colliery, A brief mining history, 2nd ed., [16pp] illus SB
E. Bottomley, A. Siddal (1998): National Coal Mining Museum For England, Caphouse Colliery, Souvenir Guidebook, 24 pp numerous colour photos. Nice glossy guide. SB
Rosemary Preese (1998): Coal Mining And The Camera, 45 pp illus. Interesting collection of old photos from the collections of the National Coal Mining Museum. SB
Rosemary Preece, Richard Saward (2002): Coal Mining Museum for England, 19 pp illus. SB
Address: National Coal Mining Museum for England, Caphouse Colliery, New Road, Overton, Wakefield, WF4 4RH, Tel: +44-1924-848-806, Fax: +44-1924-840694. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1791 a plan shows a shaft on the Caphouse site.
1941 Arthur Sykes of Lockwood and Elliott buys the colliery.
1986 conversion to a museum begins.
1988 opened as the Yorkshire Mining Museum.



The headframe at the National Mining Museum.
© Tony Oldham, with kind permission.

The underground tour starts when you collect your helmet and lamp from the lamp room. You then ride the cage to 137 meters below the surface. You are guided by a retired miner who really brings the tour to life with many anecdotes from his days with the NCB. This is a chance to see what mining is really like with underground conditions from the early times through to the present day. As this is a real mine, warm cloths and sensible shoes are recommended. Smoking materials and battery operated equipment, such as cameras and watches, are not permitted underground but may be safely deposited in the lamp room. My only criticism is that the underground trip has made this visit very expensive. We appeared to be walking through old railway tunnels, with plaster and board partitions. The whole effect could have been reproduced on the surface at a fraction of the cost and without having to comply with mining regulations and all the expense that it involves.

The Museum is very good with plenty to see and lots of videos to watch. Plenty of miners' lamps, cap lamps, safety lamps etc. Good historical accounts are given of Medieval mining, monastic influence on mining, Tudor and Jacobean mining etc. Every thing is covered from, equipment used, mining accidents, mine lighting, social aspects, the Scargill strikes etc.

There is plenty to see on the surface, a display of mining machinery, blacksmith displays, under 5 play area, waddle fan, stables with pit ponies, adventure area, nature trail, picnic area, woodland work out etc

The Miner's Pantry is an authentic miners' canteen which serves delicious snacks and is renown for its home cooked fare.

In fact the whole site has been left as it was went the mine closed, with pit head baths, control room, steam winder and head gear etc.

Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.

Latest update: (2002) They had a GBP 4.5 million National Lottery grant and have tidied the place up. Gone are the piles of rusting mining equipment, they are now hidden away in sheds. In place is a brand new restaurant so the miners can now have Chardonnay with their jam butties.

Both surface and underground trips are now free! Come early for the underground trips as they get book up very quickly.