Press Releases

Iconic Winding Headgear undergoes restoration work at Big Pit National Coal Museum

One of the most noticeable and iconic structures of the coal industry’s rich cultural heritage will be getting some much needed ‘TLC’.

Work will be carried out throughout September to repair, clean and paint the symbolic Headgear at Big Pit. The project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and a restoration grant from The Association for Industrial Archaeology.

The Headgear requires restoration to prevent damage and corrosion. The work, when completed, will ensure visitors can continue to explore an authentic and unique underground experience and that Big Pit carries on telling the important story of how the coal industry shaped communities, society and the industrial world.

Specialist restoration firm JJ Williams Ltd from Bridgend, have been appointed to carry out the essential works. The company was recently crowned Supreme Champions in the Restoration Category in the Johnstone’s 36th Annual Painter of the Year Awards for their work in restoring the Victorian Castle Arcade in Cardiff, and were also awarded Overall Supreme Winners.

Huw Jones, Mine Manager at Big Pit said, “We are delighted this essential maintenance work is happening and are extremely thankful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Association of Industrial Archaeology for their kind and generous support. We are pleased to be working with JJ Williams Ltd – it seems quite fitting that a company founded by an iconic Welshman is carrying out the restoration and preservation of an iconic Welsh structure!”

Richard Bellamy, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Wales said:  “Thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Heritage Fund grants preserve fine examples of Britain’s industrial heritage that not only helped create the nation, bringing jobs and economic prosperity, but also influenced the world. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is pleased to support ‘Preserving the Industrial Heritage at Big Pit National Coal Museum’ that will pass on experiences and achievements from our working past to future generations.”


Although the Headgear and Underground Tours will be out of action from 2-29 September, Big Pit will remain open to the public offering guided surface tours, including information regarding the work being carried out, with the Pithead Baths Exhibition, Conservations Stores, Canteen, Gift Shop, Fan House, Forge and other original colliery buildings all open. A new art exhibition will also be on display from 15th September, “Yama – The Rabbit Miners and Coal Picking Women”, a selection of Japanese Coal Mining Painting and drawings by Sakubei Yamamoto.

Entry to Big Pit, the guided surfaces tours, exhibitions and buildings is FREE.


For further information please contact:

Name: Kathryn Jenkins

Job Title: Communications Officer Big Pit National Coal Museum and National Roman Legion Museum

Telephone number: 029 2057 3666


Notes to Editors:

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is made up of Wales’ seven national museums and collections centre, which are all free to enter thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.

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As a registered charity, we are grateful for all support. This project has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and by a restoration grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology, the national society for industrial heritage, which has supported the study, preservation and presentation of industrial heritage in Britain since 1973. More information can be found at

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund - Thanks to National Lottery players, the National Lottery Heritage Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.



This project is part of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ on-going commitment to improving and preserving our National Museums, further details can be found at