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The Ruston-Bucyrus 54RB outside the museum

The Snibston Discovery Park is built on a site of a former colliery (Coal mine) and consists of an award winning interactive museum, scheduled ancient colliery buildings, the Century Theatre, and a 100 acre country park and nature reserve reclamed from the pit site. It is located on Ashby Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, and within the National Forest area of central England.

Snibston Park & Snibston Discovery Museum are managed by Leicestershire County Council and supported by the retailer Next, The National Forest (organisation) and is Heritage Lottery Funded.

History of Snibston

Snibston takes its name from one of the three coal mines sunk in the 1820s and 1830s that helped create the town of Coalville in north-west Leicestershire.

Snibston Colliery was created by the famous engineers George and Robert Stephenson and it produced coal continuously between 1833 and 1983. When it finally closed in 1985 the site was bought by Leicestershire County Council with the aim of preserving the most important buildings, turning the rest of the derelict site into a recreational area and building a major new museum of science and working life. The Discovery Park opened in 1992.

Snibston Colliery’s railway is one of the earliest ever built in Britain. It was constructed by Robert Stephenson between 1833 and 1836 to connect the colliery with the Leicester and Swannington Railway, built by his father George Stephenson on the east side of Coalville.[1] This railway was created to carry coal and not passengers, and includes a novel lifting bridge to cross a canal without building long inclines and a high embankment to support a normal bridge. A replica stands outside the Museum by the railway. After Snibston Colliery closed in 1983 the railway line was partially dismantled and abandoned. However the section of line from the mine to the centre of Coalville was restored between 1998 and 2001.

Many of the historic mining buildings are now very rare survivals of this once - widespread industry and have been designated as scheduled ancient monuments by the Government.

Snibston Discovery Museum

Exterior of the modern building that houses the museum

The Museum features interactive exhibits, a train, a fashion gallery and more. The museum focuses on technology and design and how it affects everyday life.

The Museum is accredited by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).


Outside the museum is as Ruston-Bucyrus Dragline from the nearby Iron ore pits. (photo above)

Century Theatre

The theatre was designed by John Ridley who used ingenious design; an aluminium superstructure and hydraulic rams, to create a professional quality theatre building that could be folded up and moved by road.

Following its opening night in Hinckley in September 1952, the theatre toured Britain until 1974, remaining only a few weeks in each venue. From 1974 until 1997 the Century was used as the town theatre of Keswick in Cumbria, and then, thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, it was saved from the scrapyard, refurbished and brought home to Leicestershire.

The theatre was run by its own company expressly created to take quality drama to communities throughout Britain and helped greatly with post-war cultural reconstruction. Many of the company’s actors and technicians went on from touring with the Century to make important contributions to theatre in Britain and abroad.


Snibston regularly hosts Miner's Galas.

Leicestershire County Council publish a regular Events Guide detailing all the events held at Snibston.

See also


Based on Wikipedia article.

External links

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