Washington's historic F Pit Museum secures £225,000 funding to preserve industrial heritage

Repair work costing £225,000 is underway at Washington’s historic F Pit Museum, to retain the site as an important piece of industrial heritage and visitor attraction.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:55 am

The scheme will attend to the most urgently needed work, including repairs to the roof, windows, brick, render and metalwork.

Internal improvements will be made to ventilation, heating, emergency lighting and fire protection.

The Grade II listed engine house at the pit and attached headgear – the metal frame and wheel visible above the ground – sit in Albany Park. They are all that remains of New Washington Colliery which opened in 1777 and closed on June 21, 1968.

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Washington's F Pit Museum is now undergoing £225,000 of repair work.

The engine house and headgear were presented by the National Coal Board to the people of Washington as a monument. F Pit has been a museum since 1976 and the whole area is in line for a £4.6 million revamp.

The site is especially significant as such visual reminders of the area’s industrial mining history are now rare.

It retains the original winding engine that was built in 1888, as well as the steel headgear that was once used to bring a cage of coal, or miners, from great depths up to the surface.

Sunderland City Council says it recognises the importance of preserving the site.

From left: Carl Maddison of construction firm Kapex, Cllr Linda Williams and Mark Taylor from Sunderland City Council's regeneration team.

Cllr Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, who also represents the Washington Central ward, said: “We’re delighted to see repair works commence at the F Pit to protect the heritage and coal mining history in Washington.

“My grandfather spent his working life down the pit, and my dad spent some of his time there too. It’s important that we repair and maintain sites like the F Pit to showcase the history of our community and welcome visitors to Washington.”

Further regeneration for the F Pit Museum and Albany Park is being finalised to rejuvenate the park and increase the visitor appeal of the site.

Around 150 people are known to have died at Washington Colliery, although the exact number is not known.

The biggest single loss of life came on August 9, 1851 when 34 men were killed by an explosion caused by a lighted candle.

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