Remaking Beamish

Beamish is about to embark on an incredible journey to transform the UK's most popular living museum!

Beamish Unlimited

Beamish is celebrating a £10.9million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Remaking Beamish project.

The funding is a major milestone in Beamish’s history and it will help the museum create a range of new ways for people to experience the heritage of the North East. It is the largest single investment ever seen at Beamish.

The centrepiece will be a reconstructed 1950s Town – meaning that alongside existing attractions depicting life in the early 19th and 20th centuries, the museum will once again include a period within living memory. Visitors will also be able to stay overnight in a recreation of a Great North Road coaching inn.

The decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund means that work on the £18million scheme will now begin this winter. The project will add to the existing attractions at Beamish and will take around four years to be completed.

By 2021, we plan to attract 100,000 more visitors to the region annually and create 95 permanent jobs and 50 apprenticeships.

Take a look at our 1950s Town and 1820s Coaching Inn artist’s impressions below;

Remaking Beamish

1950s Town

Houses, shops, cafe, cinema, police house and recreation area are along among the plans for the 1950s Town.


The former Grand Electric Cinema from Ryhope, in Sunderland, has been donated to the museum. We plan to take down the building and move it to Beamish, to be restored to its former glory.

1950s Welfare Hall – NOW OPEN

A replica of the Leasingthorne Colliery Welfare Hall and Community Centre will help to tell the story of community life in the 1950s. The original centre was funded by the Leasingthorne Colliery miners and was opened in 1957 in Leeholme, County Durham. The original hall, now known as the Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre, is still at the heart of its community and members have been working with the museum on the project.

Aged Miners’ Homes

A centre for people living with dementia, older people, and their families and carers will be created in a replica of Marsden Road Aged Miners’ Homes, in South Shields.

Beamish already holds sessions in Orchard Cottage at the 1940s for people living with dementia.

Aged miners’ homes originally provided housing for retired pitmen. We’re working with Marsden Road residents to share their 1950s memories and Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association, which owns the properties.

Semi-detached Houses

The 1952-built semi-detached house of Esther Gibbon, daughter Linda Gilmore and their family is to be replicated in our 1950s Town after more than 7,000 people took part in our “Nominate Your House” vote.

The house, in Red House, Sunderland, was picked from nine North East finalists. The nominated houses had to be built in the 1950s as social housing.

Esther and her family were delighted their home was chosen and we’re working with them and the Red House community to explore life in the 1950s.


We plan to replicate shops from Bow Street, Middlesbrough; Darras Drive, North Shields and Blackhall Rocks.

Airey Houses

Post-Second World War prefabricated houses from Coltspool, Kibblesworth in Gateshead were collected by Beamish in 2012. The homes, due for demolition, were offered by Gateshead Housing Company.

Airey Houses, designed by Sir Edwin Airey, were prefabs built as temporary measures to house people after the war.

John’s Cafe

The interior of John’s Cafe, from Wingate, County Durham, was collected by Beamish in 2013 and is set to be given a new home in the 1950s Town.

The cafe, owned by John Parisella, was popular with young people in the 1950s. Former customers have been sharing their memories of the popular ice cream parlour.

Bowling Green

Billingham Bowling Club’s green and pavilion are set to be copied, helping to share the story of 1950s leisure pursuits and community life.

Police Houses

A pair of police houses and their office are set to be recreated using some of the features from the original buildings in Heworth, Gateshead.

Fish and Chip Shop

A fried fish shop from Middleton-St-George, near Darlington, will be replicated to serve up this popular 1950s food. We have a 1952 gas-powered range collected from Middleton-St-George.


A 1950s trolley bus system and restored buses will transport visitors directly to the 1950s area. A new bus depot will be part of our work to pass on heritage engineering skills.


1950s Upland Farm

Spain’s Field Farm

We’re collecting this Weardale farm from Eastgate, near Stanhope, County Durham.

Spain’s Field Farm, which has been donated by the Jopling family, will be rebuilt at Beamish stone by stone to tell the important story of upland farms and how rural life changed in the 1950s.


1820s Area

Georgian Coaching Inn

Guests will be able to stay overnight in this recreation of a Great North Road coaching inn, The Three Tuns, which once stood at Scotch Corner. The exciting addition will be a museum-quality exhibit, where Beamish’s nationally-significant Georgian collections will be displayed.

The inn will demonstrate an almost forgotten way of life, examining the heritage of droving, horse-keeping, hospitality, postal service and the complex coaching industry.

It will also serve as a unique centre of learning for apprentice trainees in the hospitality industry.

Remaking Beamish - A Georgian coaching inn, offering overnight stays for visitors will be part of Remaking Beamish

Joe the Quilter ’s Cottage – NOW OPEN

The cottage is a recreation of the “lost” home of renowned Georgian quilter Joseph Hedley, who was murdered in 1826, in an appalling crime that shocked the nation. The cottage features stones from Joe’s original home, including flagstones where he stood 200 years ago. The remains of Joe’s cottage in Warden, near Hexham, Northumberland, were uncovered during an archaeological dig by Beamish staff and community members. The exhibit, which tells the story of quilting and the growth of cottage industries in the early 1800s, has been painstakingly recreated by skilled museum staff. A drawing on a postcard that was produced after Joe’s murder gave valuable details about how his home – which was demolished in 1872 – looked.

Craftspeople’s Cottages

Early industry from the 1820s will be represented including a pottery, blacksmith and candle house.


We would like to thank the following Trusts & Foundations for their contributions towards Remaking Beamish:

Banks Development Fund

Barbour Foundation

Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust

Charles Hayward Foundation

Co-op Funeralcare

County Durham Community Foundation

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Garfield Weston Foundation

Go North East

Henfrey Family Foundation

John Ellerman Foundation

Northumbrian Water Green Fund

Reece Foundation

Shears Foundation

Sir James Knott Trust

Sir Tom Cowie Trust

The Foyle Foundation

The Leverhulme Trust

Wolfson Foundation                                                   


More details about Remaking Beamish will be added as they are announced.