England had a bank holiday this weekend and it was beautiful sunny weather (can you believe it?). My photographer was invited to Beamish museum by wrinkly human and female human; of course I had to jump in the bag and tag along. Beamish Museum is an open air museum in County Durham, where you can experience life in the North East of England between the 1820’s – 1940’s.
I started with a visit to 1820’s Pockerley to see the birth of the railway. I was able to go on a steam train, Puffing Billy, for a ride which was very fun (and rather bumpy). I was able to have my own compartment and a great view of the County Durham countryside.
Only downside was the smoke from the engine, but it was an authentic Victorian train so I really can’t complain. Afterwards, I decided to wander through the Georgian landscape and see the animals in their huge fields.
Currently there is some building work going on (YAY!) and I have to say I am so excited for the new cottage which is a replication of Joe the Quilter’s Cottage, he was murdered in 1826, near Hexham Northumberland. The mystery of who killed him has never been solved. I’m so grateful the tickets for Beamish last for one whole year so I can visit several times to see all of the new exhibits.
After walking through the Georgian landscapes it was time to go forward in time, off I went on the vintage bus to the 1900’s town for a spot of shopping. Well, after a quick stop at the bank, the counter assistant presented me with a riddle before I could get the money I needed.
Next up I went to visit the Anfield Plain Coop grocery and hardware departments which had everything I needed, the only problem was I couldn’t remember my “divi” number.
W Smith’s Chemist, was also on my list of places to visit, because there aren’t many shops which sell Codd bottles and medicinal herbs.
Finally, I visited the sweet shop because its the only place which sells sugared almonds (yum).
Unfortunately, I got a toothache from all of the sugared almonds I ate so I had to go on an impromptu visit to the dentist.
After completing all of my errands in Beamish town, I had to run to catch my bus to the train station! Which is originally from Rowley which dates back to 1867.
I made it with a lot of time to spare, so I decided to reward myself with an ice cream! (which I had to speed eat because it was melting so fast).
I bought my ticket and found a trolley for all of my luggage, but after waiting for a while I was informed there would be no trains running for the rest of the day (so I had a long walk to the farm). I tried to drive the steam roller but my feet wouldn’t reach the pedals.
(The luggage was necessary, I had to pack for all seasons because British summer is so unpredictable!).
Once I made it to the 1940’s Farm, I was put to work checking the air raid shelter was clean and tidy.
Also, I had to drive the tractor around because it was lambing time so all of the farm workers were super busy.
Once I had finished work I was starving so I decided to have a picnic in the sunshine!
The rest was well needed because after all of the hard work it was time for school. I’m left handed so I got told off by the teacher several times (oops). But, all was redeemed with my piano playing skills.
Once all of my lessons at school had finished it was time for my final job of the day. Working in the coal mine, its a dirty job but since I’m small it always seems to be where I’m sent.
A gas lamp would be helpful so I can see where to push my cart of coal.
Visiting the Pit village in Beamish was quite an emotional experience for wrinkly human because he lived in one of the terraced houses when he was little. The Hetton Silver Band Hall had lots of photographs of people he grew up with, which was nice to see and I think it surprised the Beamish staff when he knew more about the building than they did!
Recreating the past in this way is such a lovely idea because it allows everyone to reminisce. Especially, those with dementia or memory loss because they can feel safe and enjoy being back in the 1900’s.
I would like to thank all the staff at Beamish for doing a great job and letting me try out life in Victorian times, I can’t wait to come back and visit again soon!
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Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. – Henry David Thoreau