1950s Town

Explore our 1950s Town and find out about life in the North East in the mid-20th century

Beamish Unlimited

Visitors need to pre-book for 10am, 11am and 12pm timeslots to help us manage the flow of visitors through our Entrance building during our busiest times, but if you are visiting from 1pm onwards, you can just turn up and won’t need to pre-book (last admission is one hour before closing time). Find out more here.

The safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers is always our first priority and we continue to have a range of COVID-19 Secure measures in place.  We support the wearing of face coverings in all indoor spaces.


Discover life in a North East town during the 1950s.

Welfare Hall – Open

Experience the excitement and community spirit of the 1950s in our 1950s welfare hall, the first building to open as part of our 1950s Town. The hall is a replica of the Leasingthorne Colliery Welfare Hall and Community Centre, built near Bishop Auckland in 1957. Visitors can enjoy activities in the main hall, and find out about the story of the NHS and baby clinics in the exhibit.

The hall also features Changing Places facilities, including a wash and dry toilet, hoist, changing bench and adjustable basin.

Coronation Park and Recreation Ground – Open

Named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, Coronation Park and Recreation Ground includes a 1950s-style playground, miniature golf course, sandpit, giant draughts board and football area.

Our park is inspired by the facilities found across the region in the 1950s and by photographs, stories and equipment from the era. The park includes a sandpit, swings, an accessible swing seat, a high slide, a wheelchair accessible roundabout, rocking horse, climbing frame and a rota web climber, a nod to the 1950s witches hat.

Visitors can enjoy a round of miniature golf during their visit to the museum! The 9-hole mini golf course features obstacles inspired by locations and things from, in or about the North East including High Force, Sycamore Gap, the Tyne Bridge, and the Blaydon Races. Mini golf costs £2.50 per person (under 5s free).

The Recreation Ground is a grassed football area inspired by grassroots sports, the existence of longstanding and recently created recreational facilities that were found in communities across the country in the 1950s. You can practice your football skills before taking a look in the football shed which contains objects relating to football in the 1950s with a focus on amateur football in County Durham.

1950s Front Street terrace


John’s Café – Open

John's Cafe in Beamish Museum's 1950s Town.

Visitors can enjoy an ice cream and other traditional treats while listening to 50s tunes on the jukebox at John’s Café, a recreation of the popular café from Wingate in County Durham. The café was owned by Giovanni Baptista Parisella, known locally as John, who was of Italian descent.

The menu includes ice cream made in the café, as well as other 1950s favourites including macaroni cheese, hot Bovril and hot Vimto.

No. 2 Front Street – Open

The home of Norman Cornish has been recreated, telling the story of the celebrated North East artist and the Spennymoor Settlement. Beamish has been working with Norman’s family on recreating the house from Bishop’s Close Street in Spennymoor.

Upstairs in the exhibit is an accessible art space with lift, where visitors and groups will be able to take part in arts activities.

Elizabeth’s Hairdresser’s – Open

Visitors can look the part by getting a 1950s hairstyle in Elizabeth’s Hairdresser’s, and take their photo under dryers from Beamish’s collection. Elizabeth’s is based on an end-terrace shop from Bow Street in Middlesbrough.

Visitors can book an appointment at the salon on the day of their visit on a first come, first served basis, and cost £5.

Middleton’s Quality Fish and Chips – Closed

Fish and chips at Middleton's Fish and Chip shop in Beamish Museum's 1950s Town

Visitors can treat themselves to a delicious taste of the 1950s with our new fried fish shop which is a replica of a shop from Middleton St George, near Darlington.

Beamish has worked with the community of Middleton St George to create a 1950s-style newspaper on specially-printed paper that is used to wrap the fish and chips.

More exhibits to follow!

You can find out more about the exhibits listed above, as well as the rest of our Remaking Beamish plans, over on our Remaking Beamish Blog.

Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players, the Remaking Beamish project was awarded £10.9million by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2016.