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Beamish Museum’s £10.9m Lottery grant

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Heritage Lottery Fund head Ivor Crowther, left and Beamish director Richard Evans celebrate with staff at an afternoon tea with Babycham

New jobs, apprenticeships, and training as 1950s town and coaching inn will be built

Staff and volunteers at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North are celebrating a £10.9million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) today (Thursday, October 13).

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Director Richard Evans in cinema at Ryhope, Sunderland, before its removal to Beamish

The funding will finance a major project called Remaking Beamish and is the largest single investment ever seen at museum.

Nearly 100 new jobs will be created alongside more than 1,000 training opportunities – including 50 apprenticeships.

Work on the project will begin this winter and will take about four years – the County Durham museum will stay open throughout.

The centrepiece will be a reconstructed 1950s Town, with self-catering accommodation for families in 1950s pre-fabricated homes; a fully operational cinema moved brick by brick from Sunderland, shops, and housing.

The home and studio of Spennymoor artist Norman Cornish will be replicated. A block of Aged Miners’ Homes will be copied to create a pioneering centre for older people, including those living with dementia.

Beamish
Paintings of Norman Cornish at Beamish Museum

The museum will also show what life was like in rural areas during the 1950s, by rebuilding a farm that has been collected from Weardale.

A 1950s trolleybus system and restored buses will transport visitors and a bus depot will help pass on heritage engineering skills.

There will also be an expansion of early 19th century exhibits, including reconstructing a “lost” coaching inn from the Great North Road near Scotch Corner on the A1 – which will be open for visitors during the day as well as offering overnight accommodation.

Early industry will be represented by “Joe the Quilter’s” cottage, a blacksmith’s, pottery, candle house, and windmill.

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Stay overnight in the Georgian inn

Beamish attracts nearly 700,000 visitors every year and by 2020 this number is expected to grow further, with 100,000 more tourists attracted to the region.

Director Richard Evans said: “This is just incredible news – and I am so proud of everyone at Beamish who has worked so hard to achieve this amazing success.

“The project is the result of years of careful planning – with staff and volunteers working alongside people from across the North East so we can tell their story.

“We couldn’t do this without the help and support of local people – and are so grateful for the donations we have received of buildings, objects, and stories.

Beamish Museum
Beamish Museum’s 1950s holiday

“I hope people from all across the country will enjoy seeing the new exhibits being created in the museum over the next four years. These are exciting times for everyone who cares for Beamish – our visitors, supporters, staff, and volunteers.

“This is the most ambitious project we’ve ever undertaken – building on our successful growth in recent years – so we can all achieve even more in the future.”

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