Beamish Museum is to build a 1950s town and a Georgian coaching inn as part of a major £17m expansion that looks set to attract an additional 100,000 visitors to the region each year. Construction of what the attraction describes as the single largest project ever undertaken, is due to start at the end of this year and will include a replica Weardale farm.
Richard Evans, Beamish Museum Director, says: “We’re really delighted with the news that our exciting development plans for Beamish over the next four years now have planning approval. It is a real milestone in the 45-year history of the region’s living museum. This is the single largest project ever undertaken at Beamish. It will enable us to create a range of new exhibits for visitors to enjoy across the museum site, offering people new ways to experience the history of the North East.
“We will continue to focus on what makes Beamish the special place that it is, using our collections to tell the story of everyday life in our region through time. The new development will demonstrate a time of huge change for the people of the North East and will ensure Beamish tells the story of a period still in living memory, just as was the case when the living museum was first founded back in the 1970s.
“By 2020 we hope to welcome some 750,000 people every year, including nearly 400,000 tourists from outside the region, which will have a huge impact on the economy in many communities. We will also create around 95 new jobs and 50 apprentices at the museum, meaning we should be employing around 500 people by the end of this decade.”
Beamish is working with communities across north east England and has received initial support for a £10.75m Heritage Lottery Fund grant. The 1950s town plans include a cinema, houses, a cafe and aged miners’ homes. The 1820s expansion will feature a coaching inn, where Beamish’s nationally-significant Georgian collections will be displayed, a windmill that was shipped from Sweden to Blyth, and a replica of the home of Joe the Quilter.
Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, brings history to life, with the unforgettable sights, sounds, and delicious tastes of the past at 1820s Pockerley, 1900s Town and Pit Village and 1940s Farm. Visitors to the 350 acre open air museum discover fascinating stories, meet costumed folk and explore homes, shops and other buildings – many of which were moved to the museum from across the region.
For more information, go to www.beamish.org.uk