Holiday day 3… The Beamish Open Air museum

It’s often said that one never visits the touristic places near to where one lives. I never went on the London Eye until a family from Chicago paid me too. The Beamish Open Air Museum is a likely unique museum dedicated to preserving and informing future generations about the special industrial heritage of working class Britain with particular regard to NorthEast England.

 This myself standing next a snow pole. In winter the poles just about stick out above the snow to try and ensure drivers don’t accidentally drive off to their demise far below.

     Teesdale, my favourite valley though this is on top of the moors on the Durham / Cumbria border. This photo is on the busiest road for 35 miles and taken in morning rush hour!
 Teesdale is the only place in England and possibly in the U.K which has a subarctic climate classification making it comparable to parts of Siberia. Very unique plants and even artic related animals live here. Snow can lay here from around Halloween to July in sheltered places.

  The tram above is 114 years old and one òf several that runs visitors around the large museum.
  Part of the 1913 era town. Every building is open to visitors and used in its original purpose.  
  A 1913 era garage and repair shop   Inside a 1913 Co-op store. Notice the overhead rail where purchase would be recorded and put inside balls that would then wheel away to the bank to be recorded on the account of the customer, like a modern store loyalty card.
  Here we prepare to go into a coal mine.

  At the coal face. This was a horrendous job. Miners often had to work by candle light with no ear or eye protection… Many times darker than this photo. Often the height of the working area was just 1.5 feet high ( 60cm) try swinging a pick axe or spade in that area with just a candle and all that dust and noise. Put ponies would go blind and men would have to fill up carts with tonnes of coal for a few pennies a day. In 1913 an English coal miner died every 5 minutes and usually their families would become homeless. I think it is important to remember the sacrifices they made which gave us the life we have now, every bit as much as scientists, doctors and the military.
 As well as houses and factories, every day places like sweet shops, pubs and bakers sell their wares.

I will write again on Beamish another time.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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5 Responses to Holiday day 3… The Beamish Open Air museum

  1. Malla Duncan says:

    Wonderful! Loved the overhead rails in the co-op store. When I was a child here in Cape Town there was a store in town with those rails. If you wanted something ‘put on account’ the invoice would be inserted into a glass jar which was then shot along the railings and up to the top floor where the accounting department sat. Simple and generally faultless system!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh how wonderful! Such a clever idea. The Co-Op did and does give you a dividend so that’s why the Accountants here used the system. One of the great aspects of this museum is that because it is an entirely rebuilt town, everything works so I just asked the attendant there about the rails and he showed it in action!


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