Remaking Beamish Next Steps

June 9th 2022

By Helen Barker, Assistant Director Engagement Activity & Collections Access.

Following the openings of Front Street terrace, Spain’s Field Farm and Coronation Park, we take a look at future Remaking Beamish exhibit openings… and there’s plenty to look forward to!

The replica John Whitehead Park Bowling Pavilion and Green will be the next exhibit to open as part of Remaking Beamish. The bowling pavilion was built in the early 1950s by Billingham Urban District Council at a time when there were many new developments taking place in the area. The facility and bowling club is still thriving today and current members have helped us to develop our plans. The pavilion and green at Beamish will enable all of our visitors to have a go at bowls.

In other 1950s news, plans for the cinema and additional shops in The 1950s Town are progressing quickly, with building work due to start on site this autumn.

Our Collections Team is busy selecting the latest in 1950s technology for the electrical shop, A Reece Ltd, as well as items in need of some TLC for the repair space at the back of the shop.

The shop will help inspire the engineers of the future, thanks to a £100,000 grant from the Reece Foundation. The funding will allow thousands of children, families, schools and groups to take part in hands-on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) activities. The exhibit will be named after North East engineer Dr Alan Reece, who founded the Reece Foundation.

In The 1950s Town, a toy shop inspired by the popular Romer Parrish newsagent and toy shop from Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, will sit alongside the electrical shop, featuring iconic toys and games from the decade as well as modern replicas to buy. On the first floor there will be a TV showroom and record shop as well as a dedicated STEM learning space for school groups.

The semi-detached houses, copied from the Red House Estate in Sunderland, are also coming along nicely and the roofs have been added both to these buildings and the police houses from Leam Lane. We’re really pleased to be working with Woodshed Workshop, a Community Interest Company based in Sacriston, on some of the interior woodwork within the police houses.

Stepping back in time to the Georgian period, work is also gaining momentum on the design for the Drover’s Tavern, pottery and blacksmith’s, with plans to start on site near Pockerley Old Hall in autumn this year. Weary drovers should be able to find rest and refreshment at the Drover’s Tavern from summer of next year.

The restoration and repurposing of some of the original buildings in the Georgian area as self-catering cottages is also progressing well. Six cottages will be restored in the style of Georgian and early-Victorian workers’ dwellings (with a few mod-cons for comfort!) and we are aiming for them to be up and running for the 2023 summer holidays.

Also in the Georgian area you may notice work starting soon on a toll house. Toll houses, or toll gates, were built by turnpike trusts who had responsibility for maintaining sections of roadway. A turnpike keeper often lived in the toll house and they would collect a charge from road users which would contribute to the upkeep of the road. In the 1830s, turnpike trusts looked after over 30,000 miles of road in England and Wales.

The toll house at Whorlton, near Barnard Castle, that the museum is replicating as part of Remaking Beamish Georgian expansion.

We will be copying the design of a toll house which still exists at Whorlton near Barnard Castle, which was built in approximately 1830. Beamish has received a £150,000 grant from the Sir James Knott Trust for our Georgian developments.

Lots to look forward, keep checking back here for updates!