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An old mural showing what mining life was like in the early 19th century has been given a new home at Radstock Museum.

The mural, made up of four large wooden panels, was being kept in storage at Bath College, who have donated it to the museum.

It shows Lower Writhlington Colliery, on the outskirts of Radstock, which was closed along with Kilmersdon Colliery in September 1973.

Mike Drewitt, from the Estates and Facilities team at Bath College, was keen to find a home for the mural, which used to be on display at Norton Radstock College before it became Bath College.

When Norton Radstock College merged with the City of Bath College in April 2015, it was renamed as Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus.


Mr Drewitt said: “It was too nice to throw away and now it’s gone to a good home. It couldn’t be more fitting for the museum to have it.

“The old Norton Radstock College started as an educational facility for miners and there used to be a printing workshop onsite.

“I don’t know if it was created at the college, but it would be interesting to know and to find out why that person chose to recreate this particular scene.”

Norton Radstock College evolved from the Old Mills Technical Institution, formed in 1948 to cater for the needs of the local mining community.

In 1964, the Institute moved to South Hill Park. Now Bath College’s Somer Valley Campus, South Hill Park was the former residence of James McMurtrie, manager of the Ludlow, Camerton and Middle Pit Collieries.

The mural, captioned Lower Writhlington Colliery, 1830, is a reproduction of an old photograph by Leonard Meux Delt.

Miranda Litchfield, Development Programme Coordinator at Radstock Museum, said the museum holds a copy of the original photograph.

She said: “The mural is just stunning; we can do so much with it. It’s so big you can image yourself in the scene and it’s a very informative illustration. We can see that in 1830 they were still using horses and steam power. It’s a new highlight of the museum I would say.”

Do you know anything about this mural? E-mail development@radstockmuseum.co.uk

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