A community centre from County Durham will be recreated at Beamish Museum as part of its planned 1950s Town.
A replica of the Coundon and Leeholme Community Association centre at the Leeholme Welfare Hall is part of the museum’s £17million Remaking Beamish plans. The centre was originally paid for from donations by the Leasingthorne Colliery Miners and was opened in 1957 in Leeholme. The replica at Beamish will be used by community groups and will help to tell the story of life in the 50s.
The Remaking Beamish project includes plans for a 1950s Town and upland farm and expansion of its Georgian area, including a coaching inn. Beamish has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £10.75million grant.
Richard Evans, Beamish Museum’s Director, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to announce that this community centre, with its fascinating history, is part of our Remaking Beamish project.
“We look forward to working with Coundon and Leeholme Community Association to celebrate their heritage and share their story with future generations.”
Beamish will work with Coundon and Leeholme Community Association and people living in the area to discover what community life was like in the 1950s and how the hall was created.
On Sunday, 2nd August Coundon and Leeholme Community Association will host a Celebration of Leeholme Welfare Hall from 2pm to 5pm in conjuction with Beamish. This exciting event includes a tribute to the Leasingthorne Miners, 50s music, 50s fashion, refreshments and Wanda, Beamish’s fantastic 1950s caravan. Staff from the museum would be delighted to meet anyone who’d like to share their memories of Coundon and Leeholme in the 50s.
Coun Charlie Kay, Chairman of the centre, said: “I think it’s fantastic that Beamish Museum has chosen our local hall as an iconic example of its type and that they intend to replicate it in their 1950s Town. It is a fitting tribute to the miners of Leasingthorne Colliery who paid for the hall out of their own wages with a community spirit that should never be forgotten.”
Other buildings already announced as part of the Remaking Beamish project include moving a cinema from Ryhope, in Sunderland, and pre-fabricated Airey Houses, from Gateshead, as well as replicas of artist Norman Cornish’s house in Spennymoor, County Durham; Joe the Quilter’s cottage in Warden, Northumberland; John’s Cafe from Wingate, County Durham; the 1950s semi-detached house of Esther Gibbon from Red House in Sunderland and Marsden Road Aged Miners’ Homes in South Shields, which will provide a centre for people living with dementia, older people and their families.