Saturday, June 20, 2015


The museum at Beamish (The Living Museum of the North) had been on my 'to visit' list for a while. I really wanted to see the trams, but I found so much more. It's quite a place!

No 196 was built in 1935 in Portugal, and brought to Beamish in 1989. Here it's running in the blue and primrose colours of South Shields. On the right is Sunderland Corporation Tramways No 16 which was built as an open-top tramcar by Dick, Kerr & Co, Preston, in 1900.

The museum occupies quite an area, and the trams run in a one and a half mile loop round the site.

Blackpool 31, constructed in 1901. Love it!

Avonside No 1764 'Portbury' was getting coaled up here, prior to its day's work. The history of this locomotive is here.

It's only a short line at Beamish, but there was a lot of interest in riding aboard. The station buildings were moved to Beamish from Rowley, a village near Consett, County Durham. The signal box came from Carr House East, also near Consett, and dates from 1896.

Now here's a beast - a 1931 Ruston Bucyrus 25-RB 125 ton, steam-powered excavator. Reminds me that I must visit Threlkeld again, see here.

Buses too. This B-Type replica in the livery of the early 1920s Newcastle Corporation Transport.

It was the small things which added to the day. I seem to remember learning all the road signs like this to pass my driving test all these years ago.

This was a wall at the back of the bus shelter, constructed using different bricks from a multitude of local brickworks.

The museum stands on a site which was at the heart of the Durham coalfield, and there is much to see in the 1900s Colliery area.

I was (of course) interested in the colliery railway, the core of which is standard gauge, but there also narrow gauge tracks. This is No 18, a Stephen Lewin locomotive, from 1877, which was in steam and at work on my visit.

No 18 worked for 93 years at Seaham Harbour.

It is a working museum!

Awaiting restoration!

Made my day!

The 1900s town is full of interest. I particularly enjoyed the interior of the local printers and newspaper branch office.

It may have been a busy Sunday, but the site is large enough to accommodate everyone. This was the only queue I encountered - for the sweetie shop!

Beamish was a great place to visit. I'll certainly go back. I think it will take many visits to see everything! The official website is here.

Photos © Skip Cottage


  1. Great blog Bob and reminded me of a visit we made when the kids were wee. It looks a lot bigger now than it was then - presumably they are adding to it regularly?

  2. Hi Bob - you've made me definitely want to go now. My wife went when she was wee, and has always remembered it and it's been one of those places we've always meant to visit.

    By the way - is that a Marshall (of Gainsborough) Traction Engine? The only reason I ask is that my Grandfather was a Steam Fitter there - basically him and his mate were one of several teams that assembled each Traction Engine and tested them. If it's a Marshall and there's the letters I.N.I. enscribed onto it somewhere . . it's one of his.