All aboard for a right royal celebration!

May 4th 2023

A weekend of celebration is taking place at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North to mark King Charles III’s coronation and the 50th anniversary of the museum’s Tramway, from 6th to 8th May 2023.

Visitors can discover how coronations were celebrated in the past. Beamish will be screening the coronation on Saturday, 6th May, followed by street parties on Sunday, 7th May and coronation crafts on Monday, 8th May.

The museum’s iconic Tramway will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with the Fares Please! Public Transport Weekend (6th to 8th May), when the museum’s fleet of trams and buses will be joined by around 20 visiting buses.

Paul Foster, Events Manager, said: “We’ve got a fantastic weekend of celebrations lined up at Beamish.

“We’ll be celebrating the King’s coronation with street parties, music and crafts and showing how previous generations celebrated coronations.

“Our Beamish Tramway is 50 years old this year and we’ll be celebrating during our Fares Please! public transport event, when we are delighted to be welcoming up to 20 visiting buses to the museum.

“There will be lots to see and do and our daytime events are included in admission and free to Beamish Unlimited Pass holders and Friends of Beamish members. We’re looking forward to welcoming people to join in the celebrations.”

On Saturday, 6th May, King Charles III’s coronation will be screened live in The 1900s Pit Village chapel and 1950s welfare hall. The museum’s Youth Group will be planting trees to mark the occasion and Backworth Colliery Band will be playing in The 1900s Town bandstand from 2pm to 4pm.

On Sunday 7th May, there will be street parties at The 1940s Farm, in the back lane of The 1900s Pit Village, and the 1950s football pitch at Coronation Park and Recreation Ground. Heinz Chapel Choir will sing in The Pit Village chapel at 1-1.45pm and North East Concert Band will play in The 1900s Town bandstand from 2pm to 4pm. Bright Street Big Band will be playing in Hetton Band Hall, in The 1900s Pit Village, from 6th to 8th May from 2-4pm.

Craft activities will be taking place across the three days and there is a Coronation quiz trail for visitors to complete. Some Coronation-themed objects from the museum’s collection will be added to exhibits in The 1900s Town, and in the window of John’s Café in 1950s Front Street.

The sweet shop in The 1900s Town has made coronation drops and catering outlets will have delicious coronation-inspired food including coronation chicken sandwiches, coronation quiche and Victoria sponge. John’s Café will be making Coronation-themed sundaes, and there will be a special royal ice cream on offer at Beamish Delicious Ices.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Beamish’s Tramway and is being marked with the Fares Please! Public Transport Weekend. The museum’s trams and buses will be joined by up to 20 visiting buses. A model tram and bus exhibition will be held in the 1950s welfare hall on Sunday (7th) and Monday (8th). Visitors can also pick up a special souvenir ticket that they can get clipped by transport staff as they spot Beamish’s trams and buses around the museum.

Paul Jarman, Beamish’s Assistant Director – Design, Transport & Industry, said: “It is a remarkable feature of the Beamish Tramway’s 50th anniversary that it has operated for as long (or longer) than nearly all of the systems upon which it is based and whose equipment it uses!

“It is now very much a tramway system in its own right, rather than simply a representation of what used to be a common transport travelling experience. We estimate that we cover over 20,000 miles per year with our tramcars, and carry over 1.5 million passengers – not bad for a fleet dating back as far as 1901!

“I am very proud to be involved with the Beamish Tramway and to work with some of the original founders, and to continue to sustain and support its operation and growth, even in a world that has changed a great deal since 1973 and places so many more constraints on the system than were the case then.

“It is really a testament to the quality of the original development that it has managed to stay relevant and to still meet the necessary regulations as are applied today.”

The museum ran its first passenger services in 1973 and over the years The Tramway has been extended three times, with its current 1.5 mile circuit being completed in 1993. Up to four of the museum’s trams are due to be in service during this weekend – Newcastle 114, Sunderland 16, Blackpool 31 and South Shields 196, along with museum buses.

Daytime events are included in admission to Beamish and are free to Beamish Unlimited Pass holders and Friends of Beamish members. Beamish is currently open daily from 10am to 5pm (last admission 4pm).