A Mine of Information: The Museum at West Wemyss

Tucked away on Narrow Wynd, in the now picturesque former mining community of West Wemyss on the old coal coast in fife is a small industrial museum celebrating the history and heritage of local coal mining.

Figure One:
Museum entrance from Narrow Wynd, West Wemyss (2021)

The Museum is housed in what was once a bunk house serving walkers on the Fife Coastal Path and initiated by Tam Moffat who still runs the museum today it began as a heritage centre ‘Old Wemyss Ways’ in July 2013. Given the local dominance of coal it soon evolved into a museum of mining and tells the story of the industry and the workforce in Fife.  

Figure Two:
Tam Moffat who founded and continues to run the museum (2022)

Except for a few ‘e-bay purchases’ majority of the artefacts have been donated by former miners and their families. The very first artefact that Tam collected was a National Coal Board towel and bar of soap. The towels were of such good quality some are in use today.

Figure Three:
NCB towel (2022)

The collection is mostly from the 20th century, including tools, items of clothing, pit checks and badges.  The oldest item dating from the late 1800s is a hand borer originally used at the Cameron Pit, Windygates, Methil Fife. The most recent is a lump of concrete from recently demolished Longannet Power Station chimney.  

Also of note is the extensive collection of commemorative plates and an extensive selection of colliery paintings by local artists including George Beckwith (Geordie).

The museum is a ‘stone’s throw’ from the free harbour carpark and well worth the short deviation off the Fife Coastal Footpath. The small size is deceptive and its very easy to while away several hours.  The museum is open 12-3pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There is also a café and pub next door if you are in need of refreshments.

Catherine July 2022

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