The ground floor of the listed Winding House No 2 at Woodhorn Museum is now open and fully accessible. Thanks to funding by Biffa Award, through the Association of Independent Museums as part of the National Heritage Landmarks Scheme, we were employed to convert part of the ground floor space into an exhibition area to enable visitors to access the exhibition safely and independently without the need for supervision. Works carried out included but not limited to – a new concrete floor, construction of walls within the space, glass works, new doors, electrical installations and decoration. The ceiling of the ground floor space now opens up to reveal the huge winding wheel above which dominates all three floors of the building.
The new facility will allow visitors to understand the role and significance of the Winding House at the former Woodhorn Colliery and it’s role in the day to day running of the colliery, projections also explain how the winding mechanism lowered and raised the pit cage which carried miners underground. Although no longer pulling cages up and down the shaft, the winder engine, wheel and the winderman’s control cabin on the third floor of No.2 Winding House are still in working order and are demonstrated at weekends and to educational groups.
The new Winding House interpretation will be a valuable asset to engage the public in this aspect of our history.