Tram Driver, Beamish Museum, Beamish, County Durham, England.(PID:52228326428) Source
posted by DM PHOTOGRAPHY alias [email protected] on Wednesday 20th of July 2022 03:15:52 AM
The Beamish Tramway is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, with four passing loops. The line makes a circuit of the museum site forming an important element of the visitor transportation system. The first trams began operating on a short demonstration line in 1973, with the whole circle in operation by 1993. It represents the era of electric powered trams, which were being introduced to meet the needs of growing towns and cities across the North East from the late 1890s, replacing earlier horse drawn systems. Beamish Museum is the first regional open-air museum, in England, located at Beamish, near the town of Stanley, in County Durham, England. Beamish pioneered the concept of a living museum. By displaying duplicates or replaceable items, it was also an early example of the now commonplace practice of museums allowing visitors to touch objects. The museum's guiding principle is to preserve an example of everyday life in urban and rural North East England at the climax of industrialisation in the early 20th century. Much of the restoration and interpretation is specific to the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, together with portions of countryside under the influence of industrial revolution from 1825. On its 350 acres (140 ha) estate it uses a mixture of translocated, original and replica buildings, a large collection of artifacts, working vehicles and equipment, as well as livestock and costumed interpreters. The museum has received a number of awards since it opened to visitors in 1972 and has influenced other living museums. It is an educational resource, and also helps to preserve some traditional and rare north-country livestock breeds. In 1958, days after starting as director of the Bowes Museum, inspired by Scandinavian folk museums, and realising the North East's traditional industries and communities were disappearing, Frank Atkinson presented a report to Durham County Council urging that a collection of items of everyday history on a large scale should begin as soon as possible, so that eventually an open air museum could be established. As well as objects, Atkinson was also aiming to preserve the region's customs and dialect. He stated the new museum should "attempt to make the history of the region live" and illustrate the way of life of ordinary people. He hoped the museum would be run by, be about and exist for the local populace, desiring them to see the museum as theirs, featuring items collected from them. Fearing it was now almost too late, Atkinson adopted a policy of "unselective collecting" — "you offer it to us and we will collect it." Donations ranged in size from small items to locomotives and shops, and Atkinson initially took advantage of a surplus of space available in the 19th-century French chateau-style building housing the Bowes Museum to store items donated for the open air museum. With this space soon filled, a former British Army tank depot at Brancepeth was taken over, although in just a short time its entire complement of 22 huts and hangars had been filled, too. In 1966, a working party was established to set up a museum "for the purpose of studying, collecting, preserving and exhibiting buildings, machinery, objects and information illustrating the development of industry and the way of life of the north of England", and it selected Beamish Hall, having been vacated by the National Coal Board, as a suitable location. In August 1970, with Atkinson appointed as its first full-time director together with three staff members, the museum was first established by moving some of the collections into the hall. In 1971, an introductory exhibition, "Museum in the Making" opened at the hall. The museum was opened to visitors on its current site for the first time in 1972, with the first translocated buildings (the railway station and colliery winding engine) being erected the following year. The first trams began operating on a short demonstration line in 1973. The Town station was formally opened in 1976, the same year the reconstruction of the colliery winding engine house was completed, and the miners' cottages were relocated. Opening of the drift mine as an exhibit followed in 1979. In 1975 the museum was visited by the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and by Anne, Princess Royal, in 2002. In 2006, as the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, The Duke of Kent visited, to open the town masonic lodge. With the Co-op having opened in 1984, the town area was officially opened in 1985. The pub had opened in the same year, with Ravensworth Terrace having been reconstructed from 1980 to 1985. The newspaper branch office had also been built in the mid-1980s. Elsewhere, the farm on the west side of the site (which became Home Farm) opened in 1983. The present arrangement of visitors entering from the south was introduced in 1986. At the beginning of the 1990s, further developments in the Pit Village were opened, the chapel in 1990, and the board school in 1992. The whole tram circle was in operation by 1993. Further additions to the Town came in 1994 with the opening of the sweet shop and motor garage, followed by the bank in 1999. The first Georgian component of the museum arrived when Pockerley Old Hall opened in 1995, followed by the Pockerley Waggonway in 2001. In the early 2000s two large modern buildings were added, to augment the museum's operations and storage capacity - the Regional Resource Centre on the west side opened in 2001, followed by the Regional Museums Store next to the railway station in 2002. Due to its proximity, the latter has been cosmetically presented as Beamish Waggon and Iron Works. Additions to display areas came in the form of the Masonic lodge (2006) and the Lamp Cabin in the Colliery (2009). In 2010, the entrance building and tea rooms were refurbished. Into the 2010s, further buildings were added - the fish and chip shop (opened 2011) band hall (opened 2013) and pit pony stables (built 2013/14) in the Pit Village, plus a bakery (opened 2013) and chemist and photographers (opened 2016) being added to the town. St Helen's Church, in the Georgian landscape, opened in November 2015. A major development, named 'Remaking Beamish', was approved by Durham County Council in April 2016, with £10.7m having been raised from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £3.3m from other sources. As of September 2022, new exhibits as part of this project have included a quilter's cottage, a welfare hall, 1950s terrace, recreation park, bus depot, and 1950s farm (all discussed in the relevant sections of this article). The coming years will see replicas of aged miners' homes from South Shields, a cinema cinema from Ryhope, and social housing will feature a block of four relocated Airey houses, prefabricated concrete homes originally designed by Sir Edwin Airey, which previously stood in Kibblesworth. Then-recently vacated and due for demolition, they were instead offered to the museum by The Gateshead Housing Company and accepted in 2012 The approximately 350-acre (1.4 km2) current site, once belonging to the Eden and Shafto families, is a basin-shaped steep-sided valley with woodland areas, a river, some level ground and a south-facing aspect. Visitors enter the site through an entrance arch formed by a steam hammer, across a former opencast mining site and through a converted stable block (from Greencroft, near Lanchester, County Durham). Visitors can navigate the site via assorted marked footpaths, including adjacent (or near to) the entire tramway oval. According to the museum, it takes 20 minutes to walk at a relaxed pace from the entrance to the town. The tramway oval serves as both an exhibit and as a free means of transport around the site for visitors, with stops at the entrance (south), Home Farm (west), Pockerley (east) and the Town (north). Visitors can also use the museum's buses as a free form of transport between various parts of the museum. Although visitors can also ride on the Town railway and Pockerley Waggonway, these do not form part of the site's transport system (as they start and finish from the same platforms). Beamish was the first English museum to be financed and administered by a consortium of county councils (Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear) The museum is now operated as a registered charity, but continues to receive support from local authorities - Durham County Council, Sunderland City Council, Gateshead Council, South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council. The supporting Friends of Beamish organisation was established in 1968. Frank Atkinson retired as director in 1987. The museum has been 96% self-funding for some years (mainly from admission charges).
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- Published 02.06.23
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