Sir James Knott Trust’s £150,000 funding for Beamish’s Georgian developments

February 1st 2022

Sir James Knott Trust’s £150,000 funding for Beamish’s Georgian developments, and supports County Durham’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025

Beamish, The Living Museum of the North is extremely grateful to have received a £150,000 grant from the Sir James Knott Trust for the museum’s Georgian developments.

The Remaking Beamish project includes Georgian industry, including a pottery and blacksmith’s, along with overnight accommodation and a drovers’ tavern.

Sir James Knott Trust at Beamish Museum_1

The funding is the latest example of the Sir James Knott Trust’s support for culture and heritage in the region and comes as County Durham is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Sally Dixon, Beamish’s Assistant Director Partnerships & Communications, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with the Sir James Knott Trust, and are hugely grateful for their support. This is the latest of a number of Beamish projects the Trust has funded over the years, and they have been instrumental in helping the museum to develop into the robust, resilient position it is in today.

“The Trust’s latest grant will enable the museum to tell a more rounded story of everyday working life during Georgian times, and crucially, welcome visitors to stay overnight – generating income which goes back to the charity. We are thrilled that the Trust is so supportive of both the museum and Durham 2025. Exciting times ahead!”

The £20million Remaking Beamish project includes the Georgian developments, and also a 1950s Town, 1950s Farm and transport including a bus depot, and is the biggest project in the museum’s 52-year history.

The funding from the Sir James Knott Trust will allow existing buildings from the late 18th century and early 19th century to be brought back into use in the museum’s stunning Georgian landscape. Visitors will be able to discover early cottage industries at the pottery and blacksmith’s workshop. People will be able to stay overnight at the museum in period-style self-catering cottages, these buildings are original to the site. Visitors will also be able to enjoy refreshments from the drovers’ tavern and tap room. The Georgian development is on a former droving route, and the museum will tell this story of drovers, who moved livestock up and down the country, taking shelter and refreshments at taverns, often incorporated into farmsteads.

The developments will help to support Beamish’s sustainability and create new jobs, as well as enhancing the offer for the museum’s visitors, including immersive activities for families, schools and groups, and allowing more items from Beamish’s collection to be displayed.

Jo Curry, Trust Secretary of the Sir James Knott Trust, said: “The Sir James Knott Trust recognises that County Durham has a rich heritage that is worth celebrating. We are excited by the Durham UK City of Culture bid 2025 and we want to do what we can to make it a success.

“Building a better future for people in the region based on thriving communities, good jobs and a great cultural offer is important. Creating a healthy belief that the future will be better than the past and the present is crucial. We support Durham’s aspirations and are grateful to be part of it. The funding award to Beamish’s Georgian developments was a fantastic way of both helping the museum deliver even more for its communities, and demonstrating the Trust’s support of Durham 2025.”

The Sir James Knott Trust supports charitable activity in the North East and aims to improve the lives of people living and working in the region.

County Durham is bidding to be named UK City of Culture 2025 and is one of eight longlisted locations. The Durham 2025 campaign is being spearheaded by Durham County Council, Durham University and Culture Durham, a partnership of cultural organisations from across the county, including Beamish. The bid will be submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by the beginning of February ahead of shortlisting in March, with the overall winner expected to be announced in May.

Tony Harrington, Culture Durham Chair, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see key funders from the region really get behind the Durham 2025 bid and show their support in such a demonstrable way. We can only fully realise the county’s potential through collaboration and through working together with partners and funders such as Sir James Knott Trust, and we’re looking forward to dialogue with other trusts and foundations based in the region over the coming months.

“Previous Cities of Culture have really shown the transformational impact culture can have for people and places, and we’re doing everything we can to secure the investment and profile the designation brings, at a time when the region most needs it. Thanks again to the Trust!

Beamish’s Georgian developments are due to be completed in 2023. The next Remaking Beamish development to open will be The 1950s Town’s Front Street terrace in February. The terrace includes John’s Café, Elizabeth’s Hairdresser’s, Middleton’s fish and chip shop, and No. 2 Front Street – the replicated home of North East artist Norman Cornish.

Opening celebrations for The 1950s Farm – Spain’s Field Farm – will be held in spring 2022.

Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players, the Remaking Beamish project was awarded a £10.9million grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2016. Beamish is still fundraising for the remaining project match funding, and there is a fundraising plan in place to guide this work.

To learn more about County Durham’s UK City of Culture bid 2025 and how to show support visit

National Lottery Heritage Fund logo