Here’s an unusual Easter post – showing how in Durham in the 1950s industry carried on, holiday or no holiday!
These photographs from Beamish’s archive show workmen replacing a severely cracked winding drum crank over an Easter weekend at Silksworth Colliery around 1950.
77551 – Detail of the fractured crank.
Beamish’s collections team see a lot of hair-care products come through the door, but it’s not often that a hairdryer arrives complete with box and a wide range of accessories!
This 1970s Hoover Hair Dryer & Manicure set used one power unit to dry the user’s hair while simultaneously offering a nail manicure (the unit even had a shoulder strap for drying on the move! – well, within range of a plug anyway…)
Contents of the hairdryer set, showing power unit, flexible hose and drying cap, and assortment of combs and manicure tools.
Today is the last opportunity to take part in the vote for which of nine publicly-nominated local 1950s semi-detached houses will be replicated at Beamish
and to mark this occasion the Collections team would like to share a few gems from the museum’s photograph archive showing development of new housing in the Durham area in the 1940s/1950s. These images have been taken from the former Durham Advertiser collection.
72524 – General view of new housing being built at Pittington in front of the old Co-op store, 20th March 1959
26632 – Opening of new housing in Brandon, 20th September 1946.
67541 – General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. 4th August 1950.
67542 – General view of new houses in a housing estate at Esh Winning. Note children in the foreground playing with a pedal car. 4th August 1950.
And finally, home sweet home!
67663 – Mother father and child sitting beside a fireplace in a new house on Kirk Merrington Housing Estate, 6th February 1953.
It’s been a while since we looked at Beamish’s ever-expanding ephemera collection, so here’s just one highlight from what has arrived at the museum this week.
‘Enjoy Potatoes in eighty-one ways’ was published in the 1950s by the Potato Marketing Board, presumably to take advantage of potatoes being a plentiful food source in the post-war austerity era. As the title suggests the booklet contains over 80 different food recipes involving potatoes ranging from the obvious (baked potato) to the slightly-less obvious (potato omelet), and the rather bizarre (potato gingerbread).
The beauty of working in an open-air museum is that hopefully we’ll be able to try many of these recipes out as the 1950s town develops. In the meantime if anyone can think of more than eighty-one things you can do with a potato, please let us know…
To reflect the fact that 1) the weather is getting better and 2) we’re all good and ready for the weekend, here are a couple of choice photographs of a Girl Guide troop enjoying a weekend camp at Pockerley Farm in 1959. Pockerley Farm is of course better known these days as Beamish’s Georgian Hall!
82069 – Group of Girl Guide leaders enjoying the sun at Pockerley in May 1959.
To mark the solar eclipse tomorrow (20th March), the busy Beamish collections team have found this gem produced for a similar eclipse on Wednesday 29th June 1927. This ‘Ecliptoglass’ sun shield has been very carefully protected in our stores (or every now and then it’d fall apart), and was issued by the Journal and North Star newspaper. The user would hold the dark celluloid strip up to their bright eyes to ‘safely’ view the eclipse, though when we think about the damage that could do to your sight we get a little bit terrified…
Sadly we won’t be able to use the ‘Ecliptoglass’ tomorrow as there really is no safe way to look directly at an eclipse, but it’s certainly an interesting example of a newspaper not missing an opportunity for self-promotion!
We’ve a couple of interesting photographs from the museum’s own past to share today – hard to remember sometimes that we’ve been at the Beamish site for nearly 45 years, and the collection itself was started over half a century ago!
Before the Regional Resource Centre was built in 2000 the museum’s offices and object stores were a little way down the road at Beamish Hall, the stable block of which was used as a vehicle store. At an evening event for the Friends’ group in June 1972 the Bishop Auckland horse drawn fire engine and Ringtons Tea Van are seen posed in the stable yard (now the outdoor seating area for the Beamish Hall hotel restaurant!)
Photo Taken by Durham University Industrial Archaeology Group on Foulbridge Project 1971 -72
Familiar yet unfamiliar! This is Ravensworth Terrace, now a highlight of our Edwardian Town, but this unusual view is of the street in its original location in Bensham Gateshead before the terrace was dismantled and six houses moved and re-erected at the museum.
That’s right, paws for a minute and prebear for an onslaught of bear puns. As usual we’ve had a large assortment of objects being donated this week – everything from a seal (not bear) press from Consett Building Society to a lovely set of 1950s kitchen units, but I don’t think anyone was expecting this chap to turn up!
This enormous 1980s Teddy Bear, seen here with Rachael and Lydia, two of our dedicated band of 20th Century Collectors, is rapidly becoming the team mascot – we can’t bear to put him in the stores so we might leave a shelf bear and keep him in the office so he can bear witness to all the curatorial goings on . Sorry, these bear puns are pretty grizzly…
Even by Beamish collection standards this curved lino-type printing plate is an unusual object. Donated by the Sunderland Echo newspaper, the cast plate was used for printing the front and rear pages of the 24th April 1976 edition. It is an intriguing (though heavy!) insight into the matters of the day, concerning such varied subjects as the 1975 ‘Wedding of the Year’ competition, horse-racing odds, and the closure of a Sunderland shipyard. Interesting to make the contrast between this and the racks upon racks of individual block-type in our Edwardian printers!
Detail of the lead article, picture flipped for clarity
As we’ve said more than once on this blog, one of the joys of being in Beamish’s collections team is one never knows what weird and/or wonderful objects will turn up at the Regional Resource Centre next. This rather swish pair of 1980s roller boots were donated on Friday afternoon, and once we found they fit Meg, one of our dedicated band of ’20th Century Collectors’, she was away!
Hello, Beamish Collections followers, you might have noticed it’s been very quiet on the blog front lately. Although we’ve plenty of objects and miscellanea from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries we’d like to share, we’re currently dealing with some very 21st century I.T. issues which sadly have resulted in our losing every post since early November (we’re hoping they’ll turn up again soon!)
We’re hoping to resume normal service as soon as possible, but in the meantime here’s a rather appropriate photograph from our archive…
23512 – This 1898 photo shows two Chaldron wagons which have come to grief at the foot of Blackhouse Incline on the Pelaw Main Railway near Birtley after the haulage rope broke.
The museum was very fortunate recently to be given many of the personal effects of Norman Cornish, the famous ‘pitman painter’, including his collection of books. In the course of processing them into Beamish’s library one of our volunteers made this remarkable discovery – Norman’s rough, preliminary drawings for paintings in a paperback copy of ‘Doctor at Large’. His drawings give details of the colours he intends to use in a seaside scene and the biographical details of a retired pitman sketched in 1961. We’re now checking the other books for similar hidden gems!
The cover of ‘Doctor at Large’ – a unique hand-illustrated edition!
- One of the ‘rough’ sketches from page one.