Remaking Beamish Exhibits

The Remaking Beamish project will add to the museum’s existing attractions. Plans include a 1950s Town, 1950s Farm, expansion of the Georgian area, including an inn where visitors will be able to stay overnight, and exciting transport additions.

Buildings from around the region will be moved or replicated and we are working with communities to share their heritage. They will create new ways for our visitors to experience the heritage of the North East.

Beamish will remain open throughout the £20million project, which has received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and buildings will be opened as they are completed.

The Northern General Transport Bus Depot opened in November 2019 and houses the museum’s fleet of buses. Visitors can see work being carried out on historic vehicles, and apprenticeships will ensure heritage skills are being passed on.

The 1950s has been brought to life at the museum with the opening of the welfare hall. The exhibit is a replica of Leasingthorne Colliery Welfare Hall and Community Centre, near Bishop Auckland, which opened in 1957. Beamish worked closely with the community members at the original hall – now known as Coundon and Leeholme Community Centre – who shared memories, stories and objects.

The hall, which opened in June 2019, hosts 1950s activities for visitors to enjoy, including music, dancing, crafts, keep fit and amateur dramatics, and it also features an NHS clinic. Click on The 1950s Town section below to find out about this building and others in the new 1950s Town.

The quilter’s cottage, which opened in July 2018, was the first exhibit to open as part of the project. The heather-thatched cottage shares the story of quilter Joseph Hedley. Discover more about this story in The 1820s Landscape section below.

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Remaking Beamish project has been awarded £10.9million by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Exhibit Areas

1820s Landscape

The 1820s Landscape welcomed the quilter’s cottage in July 2018 – the first exhibit to open as part of Remaking Beamish. Through the story of renowned quilter Joseph Hedley, who was tragically murdered in 1826, the recreated cottage offers a fascinating insight into the lives of poorer working people and cottage industries during the 19th century. Visitors will also be able to stay overnight in a Georgian inn, which will provide visitors with a unique glimpse into an almost forgotten way of life.

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1950s Town

Work is underway on our 1950s Town. It represents a new decade at the museum, telling the story of everyday life in the post-war period. The 1950s was a time of change and rebuilding after the Second World War, including social housing, the early years of the National Health Service and changes to people’s lifestyle, which for the first time might have included leisure time! The 1950s Town’s first exhibit, Leasingthorne Colliery Welfare Hall and Community Centre, is now open.

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Transport

The newly-opened Northern General Transport Bus Depot enhances the rich and diverse stories we tell regarding the history of transport in the region and supports Beamish’s important work of passing on heritage engineering skills. This exhibit can accommodate up to eight buses, and visitors can observe the museum’s maintenance staff working on its fleet of period vehicles. Restored buses will also transport visitors to and from The 1950s Town as part of the Reamking Beamish project.

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