Beamish Living Museum of the North

England – 278 miles (448km) north of London.

go to link Regional Resource Centre
County Durham DH9 0RG

Web language: English
TEL: +44 (0)191 370 4000

This is an industrial heritage museum with a small exhibit dedicated the automobile.

30th October 2017 to 23rd March 2018
Open daily, 10am to 4pm
Last admission 3pm.

Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Mondays & Fridays from 8th Jan to 9th Feb.

This is a museum and education centre dedicated to the heritage of the north east of England including the following exhibition areas: 1900s town, 1900s pit village, 1900s colliery, 1940s farm, railway station, shops and the Beamish Tramway. In the 1900s Town there is a display where visitors can see cars, motorcycles and bicycles at the Beamish Motor & Cycle Works, which is a replica of a typical early 1900s car garage. There are other areas that include transport related exhibits.

Beamish was the vision of Dr Frank Atkinson, the Museum’s founder and first director. Atkinson had visited Scandinavian folk museums in the early 1950s and was inspired to create an open air museum for the North East. He realised the rapidly changing region was losing its industrial heritage: coal mining, ship building and iron and steel manufacturing were disappearing, along with the communities that served them.

Atkinson wanted the new museum to illustrate the way of life of ordinary people and bring the region’s history alive. Frank Beamish passed away on 30th December 2014.

In 1958 Frank Atkinson, then director at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, presented a report to Durham County Council, recommending items of everyday history were collected to eventually form part of an open air museum. A policy of unselective collecting – you offer it and we will collect it – saw an army camp of 22 huts rapidly filled with objects ranging from steam engines to sewing machines.

In 1970 Frank Beamish started work on establishing the museum with a staff of 3 and it was first opened in 1971.

In 1994 the Jubilee Sweet Shop was opened by MP Mo Mowlam and the Town Garage was unveiled by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.

Beamish can be hired for private and corporate events.