Miner's Safety Helmet

This woven wicker and leather helmet arrived at our museum from Belstone, where it was used in the 19th century mines. These mines were dangerous environments, and accidents causing injuries were not uncommon.

When such accidents occurred, rescuers, often equipped only with picks and shovels, would have to navigate the darkness and tight spaces of the mine to reach the injured. This helmet played a crucial role in such rescues. Placed on the head of an injured miner, it offered protection from bumps and falling debris during the ascent. The precise level of protection it offered remains unclear, but it would have provided some degree of head cushioning and prevented injuries from self-inflicted impacts during the rescue operation.

The exact origin of these helmets is unknown, though the skilled wickerwork suggests significant craftsmanship. Interestingly, similar helmets have been found at museums in Scotland, where they are described as coastguard helmets or cliff rescue helmets. Whether these variations in use represent a truly multipurpose design or simply the influence of design adoption across different professions remains an open question.