Esther Gibbon and Linda Gilmore are celebrating today after winning a public vote to have their 1950s house replicated at Beamish Museum.
The mum and daughter were among nine finalists from across the North East who nominated their 1950s semi-detached home to be replicated as part of the museum’s planned 1950s Town.
A public vote was held at Beamish and online and the family were ecstatic that 92-year-old Esther’s home in Redhouse, Sunderland, was picked as the winner. More than 7,000 votes were cast and Linda and Esther received 38.7 per cent.
The family have lived in the house since it was built in 1952 and Linda was even born there. A replica of their home will now be part of Beamish’s 1950s Town plans and they’ll even be offered the chance to enjoy a short stay at the completed house when it opens at the museum.
Beamish will work with the family to explore what life was like in their community in the 1950s.
Linda, 55, said: “I’m over the moon that our house has been chosen. I’m so ecstatic. People will be able to see the house for generations to come.”
Esther said: “The house has lots of happy memories – it’s always been a happy place.”
Linda, describes the house as “a centre of happiness and love.” She said: “My two elder sisters were toddlers when my parents moved in and I was born in the front room in 1958.
“My mother could never contemplate moving. I also know that as a family it would be really difficult seeing another family living there.
“We would be delighted to see our family home as part of the living history enlightening and informing the future generations, even after we have gone.”
The Remaking Beamish project includes plans for a 1950s Town, upland farm, Georgian coaching inn and other developments. Beamish has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £10.75million grant.
Richard Evans, Beamish’s Director, said: “This project has been a great way of getting people from across the North East involved in the making of a living museum that tells their story.
“We’re very proud of the often emotional connection Beamish has with local people and it’s really important to us that we continue to tell the story of people’s everyday life through time as we continue to develop the museum.
“The reaction to the idea of having your own home rebuilt at Beamish and set in our 1950s Town has been fantastic to see. We’d like to thank everyone who took part – and, if we could, I am sure we would have loved to have rebuilt all the homes of the finalists that were put to the public vote.
“On behalf of everyone at the museum I’d like to congratulate Linda, Esther and their family today – how exciting that their home will now be preserved in Beamish for future generations to enjoy visiting.
“We really look forward to working with them in the coming months and hope they will be proud to see a piece of their own history preserved forever in our living museum.”
Plans for the 1950s Town at Beamish include houses, shops, cafe, cinema, police house and recreation area. Aged Miners’ Homes will be a centre for people living with dementia and their families and carers. A 1950s trolleybus system and restored buses will transport visitors.