The first half of my career was spent in collieries in Wales and England. Throughout my time in the mines, I played a game of “musical mines” as they closed at an ever increasing rate. In the end I decided to pursue a different career and reluctantly waved goodbye to my last mine in South Wales. When I am travelling through a country and see headgear or winding towers, I am irresistibly drawn to them. On my 2010 Czech Trip, I made sure I had a day aside to visit Ostrava Area’s mines. They mine coal in the Silesian Coalfield which straddles the Czech / Polish border.
Of course some mines have closed in the Czech Republic as reserves are depleted and the economic cost of recovering the coal cannot compete with world prices. One mine with very thin seams that did not allow easy mechanisation was Důl Michal. It closed in 1993, but all of the surface facilities were preserved as the day the last shift signed off. Although I wonder whether this shift went home naked as their clean clothes are still hanging on chains in the drying room!
External view of mine
Clean clothes drying room
Dity Clothes drying room
Mrediacl Centre where injured miners would be washed before being picked up by ambulance
Electric battery lamps in charger
Self rescuers including Russian and Czech Chemical oxygen types
The gosts in locations such as this are tangible.