Tyne & Wear

Beamish Museum recreates pit pony stable block

Image caption The new stables are a replica of those at the former Victoria Garesfield colliery
Stable block at Beamish
Image caption The block has been built using reclaimed bricks from the era
Pit pony
Image caption The ponies were looked after well as they needed to be strong and healthy
Stable interior
Image caption The stables will be home to seven pedigree Shetland ponies, a breed commonly used throughout the Durham coalfields

Pit ponies at a County Durham mining museum have been given a new home.

An Edwardian colliery stable block has been recreated at Beamish Museum.

People will be able to meet the seven Shetland ponies, and find out how they were cared for and trained for their work underground.

The opening was marked by a parade, with a display of miners' banners, and brass bands playing traditional tunes. The stables will also display objects and documents

The stables, which have been built using reclaimed bricks, are a recreation of a block which served the Victoria Garesfield Colliery, near Rowlands Gill.

Ponies at the original colliery at Beamish would have been able to walk outside at the end of the shift to stables on the surface, as it was a drift mine.

However, animals working down a deep shaft mine would spend most, if not all, of the year underground because it was difficult to transport them.

They only usually came to the surface when the mine closed for a holiday or strike.

Many were credited as having a "sixth sense" for danger, and there are many stories of pitmen reportedly saved from death or injury when ponies refused to move before a roof suddenly collapsed in front of them.

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