I had always wanted to visit Beamish. For those who don’t know what Beamish is, it is an open air living working museum in the North East of England. Based in Stanley, County Durham, it’s a living museum to depict everyday life in the early industrialised 20th century. The Brainchild of the then director of the Bowes museum, Frank Atkinson. He was inspired by Scandinavian folk museums, and realising the North East’s traditional industries and communities were disappearing, he set about collecting memorabilia. Beamish Hall had recently been vacated by the National Coal Board, and was decided to be a suitable location. In 1970 it opened its doors to visitors and now attracts over ½ million visitors per year.
When you arrive, you enter the site through an entrance arch formed by a steam hammer, across a former opencast mining site and then through a converted stable block. The entry price is £18.50 per person. The ticket does allow you to visit as many times as you wish for 12 months from date of ticket. You get a map to navigate around. There are also trams and buses. Nothing is more than a 15 minute walk but it is fun going on the trams.
Beamish is so interesting. Going in between houses transporting you back in time. Costumed people really bringing history to life. Thinking how lucky we are that items are so easily available and much cheaper in our time.
The Pit village and school was fascinating. Going down the pit, struggling to stand up and the guide dimmed the lights to give an insight into what life would have been like for miners. You just can’t imagine doing that day in day out.
Some of the items in the school I recognised from my primary school!! Though we had moved on from chalk and slate to write on when I was at school.