Beamish expansion given the go-ahead

Beamish expansion given the go-ahead

Beamish open air museum has been given the green light by councillors to bring its ambitious £17m expansion plan to life.

The expansion will see the museum construct a 1950s town, Georgian coaching inn and a replica of a Weardale Farm.

It is hoped to draw an extra 100,000 visitors to the region and will also see the museum offer overnight stays, creating around 95 jobs and 50 apprenticeships.

The 1950s town includes a cinema, houses, a cafe and aged miners’ homes, which will provide a centre for people living with dementia, their families and carers.

The historic cinema has been donated by a local business in Ryhope, Sunderland, and will be moved brick by brick and rebuilt at the museum.

Angela and Gary, owners of Garage on the Green, in Ryhope, said: “We are delighted that the cinema will be brought back to life by Beamish Museum, where the people of Ryhope will be able to reminisce with their families during visits to Beamish.”

Speaking on the planning decision, Richard Evans, Beamish director, said: “The decision by Durham County Council was unanimous and it is great to see the important economic and social value of Beamish being recognised and supported so clearly.

“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.

“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.

“These are certainly exciting times for Beamish – we aim to start construction work at the end of this year – and we hope people will enjoy seeing all the new additions as they are being built.”

Beamish is working with communities across the North East on the project and has received initial support for a £10.75m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant.