Beamish Outdoor Museum ~ Feb 2023

Sophie and I go to Beamish most years, and we went this year to see how the new section of ‘1950’s Town’ is coming along, but of course we photographed other bits too on our way around the place.

A little History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Beamish is a world famous open air museum which brings the history of North East England to life at its 1820s Pockerley, 1900s Town, 1900s Pit Village, 1940s Farm, 1950s Town and 1950s Spain’s Field Farm exhibit areas.

Beamish was the vision of Dr Frank Atkinson, the Museum’s founder and first director.Frank had visited Scandinavian folk museums in the early 1950s and was inspired to create an open air museum for the North East. He realised the dramatically-changing region was losing its industrial heritage. Coal mining, ship building and iron and steel manufacturing were disappearing, along with the communities that served them.

Frank wanted the new museum to “illustrate vividly” the way of life of “ordinary people” and bring the region’s history alive. I think he did a cracking job.

That was short and sweet so on to some pictures, a combination of digital and film shots.

The first place we visited was the new 1950’s Farm. Spain’s Field Farm, from Eastgate, near Stanhope, tells the story of upland farming in the North East during the 1950s. The farm was kindly donated to Beamish by the Jopling family and around 1,170 tonnes of the farm’s stone and timber were moved to the museum after being thoroughly recorded. During the dismantling of the building a good few objects were discovered, a Georgian bread oven, and 17th century cannonball to name a few. Fragments of 1950s Farmer’s Weekly magazines, furniture and farm tools were also found. Samples from the remnants of internal paint, lino and wallpaper were also taken.

Spain’s Field Farm (contax aria, silbersalz 35)
plough thingy (contax & silbersalz)
milk-0! (contax & silbersalz)
View of the 1900’s Pit Village from the farm (contax & silbersalz)
Happy Christmas Bull! (contax & silbersalz)

From the farm we went on to see Rowley Station, as we can never resist old train stuff! The station was originally in Rowley, near Consett, County Durham, in 1867. It has never had gas or electricity and was always lit by oil. The station was the first relocated building to be opened at the museum and was officially unveiled in 1976 by Poet Laureate Sir John Betjemin. A wrought-iron footbridge from the 1900’s town crosses the railway line and leads towards the signal box, dating from 1896. Across the tracks in the Goods Yard is a Goods Shed, dating from 1850.

North Eastern Line (fuji X100F)
ticket office (FujiX100F)
Tracks (contax & silbersalz)
signals box (FujiX100F)
inside the box (contax & silbersalz)
adverts (FujiX100F)
left luggage (contax & silbersalz)

I think that’s enough for this time, but

because we’ll be going back to Beamish next time. 😊

Egglestone Abbey ~ February 2023

After Sophie and I visited Eggleston Hall, we went on to see Egglestone Abbey. Nope I don’t know why the Hall doesn’t have a “E” at the end and the Abbey does. The village of Eggleston doesn’t either. 🤷‍♀️

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

The abbey of St Mary and St John the Baptist was founded at Egglestone between 1195 and 1198 for Premonstratensian canons.  We’ve done the Prems a couple of years ago, you may remember they were invented back in 1121 by Norbert of Xanten (which is in Germany), a bit of a character, who ended up known to this blog as Saint Nobby. A refresher regarding Nobby can be found in my previous post on Easby Abbey, HERE so y’all with a good memory or a short attention span can bypass that quite easily. 😊

The Abbey was probably founded by the de Moulton family and was populated by a few Premies who wore white habits and therefore became known as the White Canons. They chose the site for the abbey because of its isolation, close proximity to a river and the supply of local stone for its construction. They followed a code of austerity similar to Cistercian Monks, and were exempt from strict Episcopal discipline, which I think means they didn’t have a boss priest telling them off, or what to do. They undertook preaching and pastoral work in the region (such as distributing meat and drink). It didn’t do so well though and they were always poor, and mostly struggling to get up to full strength, which should have been 12 canons, like the 12 apostles. The Abbey suffered particularly badly when the pesky Scots ravaged Yorkshire in 1315, and and again by the rowdy English army who were billeted there in 1346 on their way to the Battle of Neville’s Cross.

Henry VIII did his dissolution thingy in 1540, and 8 years later the lands of the Abbey were given to Robert Strelly, who converted some of the buildings into a great private house. He converted the east and north ranges into a mansion and installed a kitchen in the west range.

In 1770 Sir Thomas Robinson owned the land and sold the abbey to John Morritt of Rokeby Hall.  Much of the abbey was pulled down and some of the stonework was used to pave the stable yard at the nearby Rokeby Park. One of Morrit’s descendants placed the ruins in the guardianship of the state in 1925.

On with the pictures, all these were shot with my fujiX100F.

The first church, built about 1200, was small and narrow, occupying only two-thirds the length of the cloister, but in about 1250 a larger presbytery with broad transepts was built, presumably to accommodate the altars required for an increased number of canons. Apart from the church and the east range, little else survives above ground.

The north and west walls of the nave are the only parts of the original church still standing; the nave was later widened southwards. The great eastern window of five lights consists, uniquely, of four tall mullions without any tracery.

Under the crossing is the black stone table-tomb of Sir Ralph Bowes, but its top is missing. Many other tomb slabs are evident on site. ~ English Heritage

Church & tomb
Tomb of Sir Ralph Bowes of Streatlam 1450-1482.
grave slab 1
slab 2
Couldn’t make the words out!
sunbeams through the nave
day room leading to novices room
tourists 😊

There will be more photographs of the ruins on Friday Film as I took a load with my Contax, but that’s it for didgerry doo.

A few links:-

A link to a plan of the ruins showing the date of each bit can be found HERE

Also info taken from

Also Mike at A bit About Britain has a lovely write up of his day there.

That’s all folks!

for wherever next!