Remaking Beamish

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

Beamish Unlimited

We’re working with communities across the North East on this amazing project, which will see the living museum grow. People will go back to a time in living memory, the 1950s, and share memories of what life was like. We’ll also be able to tell a more complete story of the 1820s, the foundation period of the industrial era.

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

1950s Town

Houses, shops, cafe, cinema, police houses and bowling green are along among the plans for The 1950s Town.

Welfare Hall

The first building in our 1950s Town, a replica of Leasingthorne Colliery Welfare Hall and Community Centre, opened in summer 2019.

The original hall, near Bishop Auckland, opened in 1957 and 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 1950s welfare hall hosts fantastic 1950s activities for visitors to enjoy, including tea dances, skiffle music, crafts, keep fit and amateur dramatics, and it also features an NHS clinic.

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 Farm 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.


Work is underway in Sunderland at the site of The Grand cinema in Ryhope, as part of the Remaking Beamish project.

At Beamish, we will give visitors a chance to experience a trip to the cinema in the 1950s and discover the stories and memories we’ve been collecting during the project.

We will be including as much of the original building from Ryhope as possible, including distinctive features such as the stained glass windows, canopy, roof slates and some of the brickwork. To find out more, click here.

1950s Semis

The 1952-built semi-detached house of Esther Gibbon, daughter Linda Gilmore and their family was chosen to be replicated.

The house, in Red House, Sunderland, was picked in a public vote from nine finalists from across the North East. 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’ve been working with them and the Red House community to explore life in the 1950s.

John’s Cafe

The interior of John’s Cafe, from Wingate, County Durham, was donated to Beamish and is set to be given a new home in the terrace in our 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.

Spain’s Field Farm

We’ve collected this Weardale farm from Eastgate, near Stanhope, County Durham, and are rebuilding it at the museum.

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


Northern General Transport Bus Depot

The Northern General Transport Bus Depot opened its doors in November 2019, helping to preserve transport heritage and engineering skills, along with the century-old Northern name.

The depot and workshop is home to the museum’s growing fleet of buses and allows visitors to watch engineering work on historic vehicles. Learning activities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) take place at the bus depot and apprenticeships ensure that heritage engineering skills are passed on.

Buses from the 1950s will transport visitors directly to the 1950s area as part of the Remaking Beamish plans.

1820s Area

Georgian Inn

Guests will be able to stay overnight in a reconstructed Georgian Inn, a museum exhibit, where Beamish’s nationally-significant Georgian collections will be displayed.

1820s Industry

New exhibits in the 1820s area will show how the simple needs of life gave rise to cottage industry.

The Quilter’s Cottage

The “lost” cottage of Georgian quilter Joseph Hedley has been recreated in the beautiful 1820s Landscape and opened to visitors in 2018.

This recreation of his heather-thatched cottage features stones from Joe’s original home in Northumberland, uncovered during an archaeological dig by Beamish and community members. Joe was murdered in 1826, in an appalling crime that remains unsolved to this day.  His original cottage was demolished in 1872 and has been carefully recreated with the help of a drawing on a postcard produced after Joe’s murder. The exhibit tells the story of quilting and the growth of cottage industries in the early 1800s.