Washington ‘F’ Pit Museum is on the site of a coal pit that was in use as part New Washington Colliery. The above-ground parts of the pit are left free to explore. Visitors can investigate the original building and machinery used in the pit and understand the history of mining in the northeast. Washington ‘F’ Pit is a must-see when visiting Sunderland and Washington.

Pits in this area were in use from 1778. Washington ‘F’ Pit was closed in 1796 after an explosion filled the pit with water. It was reopened in 1820 and work began in the pit once again. In the 1850s they reached ‘the Hutton seam’ and Washington ‘F’ Pit became one of the largest coal producers in the northeast. Completely modernised in the early 20th century, the mine deepened and reached peak production in the 1960s when it produced 486,000 tonnes of saleable coal a year and employed over a thousand workers. However, like many pits in this period, Washington ‘F’ Pit closed in 1968. The museum opened in 1976.

The pit is only open for a limited time, please check their website for details.


To fully explore the museum, use of stairs is necessary. Due to being a historic building, the corridors are narrow and there is little space to manoeuvre. Washington ‘F’ Pit Museum is housed in the original building which is quite small for large groups.

Visitors are able to go outside to view the external machinery used in the pit.

For further information and virtual tour, see here.

To visit another historic site in Washington, click here

Q Is it open during school holidays?

Usually, although it is recommended to check the website for specific dates and times.

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