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Lighting installation at National Mining Museum

17 November 2011
by Jock Wallace , under Architectural lighting | Installations | Product Consultancy


We have created two dramatic lighting installations at the National Mining Museum Scotland. The installations bring the pithead and gantry of the museum to life at night and create a new night time landmark in the Midlothian landscape.

The project uses innovative LED technology to create the illusion that the pit wheel at the 19th century Lady Victoria Colliery in Newtongrange is once again turning.  Similar technology is used to make it seem as if the famous gantry that crosses the A7 to the pithead is being thronged by miners carrying lamps.

“The project highlights our experience installing a wide range of architectural lighting schemes,” says Head of Company Development, Phil Haldane. “It shows that we are experts at working with, installing and programming LED systems.”

The installations have a high visual impact and really enhance the Museum at night. They are designed to draw in more visitors and to focus attention on the attraction. Rowan Brown, Director of the National Mining Museum said:  “We are delighted to be able use this innovative lighting to emphasise the Lady Victoria Colliery’s status as a national landmark and recreate an important element of Scotland’s mining heritage.”

We highlighted the framework of the pithead using Traxon dynamic white LED wash fittings. The wheels of the pithead are illuminated with several small 1W LED fittings. These were attached to the spokes of the wheels and are programmed to give the effect of the wheels of the pithead coming to life and turning.

The gantry Illumination was achieved by illuminating 30 of its windows with LED battens. The battens are programmed to give the effect of miners crossing the gantry, with the light effect of the miners leaving the colliery moving faster than the one of them going in! The scheme can also be set to specific pre-programmed colours or effects for special events or parties.

We worked with the Museum and liaised with Historic Scotland to ensure that the project was carried out in strict accordance with all heritage conservation criteria. No permanent fixings were used in order to preserve the historic structures. All the removable fixings employed are non-ferrous and of the highest-grade stainless steel, to stop the installations rusting and damaging the pithead and gantry.

The National Mining Museum Scotland is the national coal mining museum for Scotland and cares for the Lady Victoria Colliery and the national coal mining collections. The collections at the museum comprise over 60,000 items, including objects, archive material, photographs and books.