Iconic Beamish Objects in Regional Showcase  

June 20th 2018

Beamish exhibits are featured in a new project, A History of the North in 100 Objects.

Staff from museums and galleries across Northern England have nominated objects that showcase the pioneering spirit and impact of the North’s inventors, artists, scientists and designers.

Beamish’s tram 114 and Annfield Plain Co-op Store are included in the website-based project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Rhiannon Hiles, Deputy Director of Beamish, said: “We are absolutely delighted and very proud to have two of our most significant objects included as part of the Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ project, A History of the North in 100 Objects.

“Our object choices, Annfield Plain Co-op Store and tram 114, are very much part of the region’s history, not just as objects but in the stories they can tell.

“It’s fantastic to see these iconic objects within the list and to be part of contributing to a rich celebration of the region’s heritage, so much of which many people identify with, and we are incredibly pleased to be part of this fantastic project.”

A History of the North in 100 Objects is a Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) initiative. The project is part of the Great Exhibition of the North, which runs from 22nd June to 9th September and celebrates great art and culture, design and innovation from across the North.

Annfield Plain Co-op Store, in our 1900s Town

The Co-op building came from Annfield Plain, in County Durham, where the society dated back to 1870. It opened at the museum in 1984.

There are three departments, the grocery, drapery and hardware, where visitors can experience shopping in the early 1900s, some still remember their family’s “divi number”. The dividend, or “divi” saw profits shared between customers and could be as much as 20 per cent.

In 1844, 28 men formed a society and opened a store in Toad Lane, Rochdale, which is said to be the birth of the Co-operative movement. The movement advocated quality goods at reasonable prices and raised awareness of correct weights, measures and purity of products.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS), which manufactured and distributed goods for the stores, was formed in 1863.

The Co-op’s hardware department.

Tram 114

Newcastle tram 114 was built in 1901 for Newcastle Corporation Tramways. It was sold to Sheffield Corporation in 1941 to replace the war-damaged vehicles, running there until 1951 as Sheffield 317.

The body of the tram was later discovered on a farm near Scunthorpe and it arrived at Beamish in 1987. After rebuilding work, it entered service in May 1996.

Tramways developed in response to a need for a cheap and efficient transport system to serve growing towns and cities in the 19th century. Replacing horse-drawn transport, Newcastle Corporation Tramways operated in the city for 49 years.

Tram 114 in The Town street.

Other objects featured on the list include Timothy Hackworth’s Sans Pareil steam engine at Locomotion – National Railway Museum Shildon, the Musical Stones of Skiddaw at Keswick Museum in Cumbria and the oldest surviving FA Cup in the world at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

An interactive website has been specially created where the objects can be viewed, visit www.100objectsnorth.co.uk.

The 10 themes explored in the project are: Travel & Transport, Art & Design, Work & Industry, Religion & Faith, Inventions & Innovations, Sport & Leisure, Music & Entertainment, Landscape & Natural History, Politics & Protest, and Words & Literature.

Visitors to the website are invited to curate their own collection by saving up to 10 objects into a personal “exhibition” which can then be shared via social media or email. Users can vote for their favourite exhibitions and the most popular will be displayed prominently on the website.

Iain Watson, Director of TWAM, said: “The North of England is a hub of creativity and innovation. It’s where railways were born, it’s been home to some of our most creative inventors and now it’s a hub of scientific and industrial innovation. These 100 objects, selected by, and displayed in, museums across Northern England reflect some of these stories.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “Choosing 100 objects to tell the story of the North of England must have been incredibly hard, there are so many fascinating collections to choose from!

“The curators have done a fantastic job and we’re delighted that National Lottery funding will give people across the UK and beyond the chance to see objects they never would have been able to otherwise and build their own collections of the stories that inspire them.”

For more information on Great Exhibition of the North visit https://getnorth2018.com/.