Beamish Buildings

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Beamish BuildingsDipping into the file of photos from our recent visit to Beamish again, this time looking at some of the many buildings on site. Most of these have been re-located, (or translocated is the word used on the Beamish website) stone by stone, brick by brick, from outlying towns and villages and now form an important part of the structure and layout of the museum.P1080741The town area, officially opened in 1985, depicts a typical street scene of around 1913.P1080743Ravensworth Terrace is a row of terraced houses, presented as the premises and living areas of various professionals, e.g. a music teacher, dentist and solicitor.P1080646The school opened on site in 1992. The building originally stood in East Stanley, It was donated by Durham County Council. P1080656No they are not IPads on the desks! Who remembers a Stephens Ink thermometer from school days?P1080653 ed

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The relocation of Pit Hill Chapel was completed in 1990. Originally opened in the 1850s, it first stood not far from its present site, having been built in what would eventually become Beamish village.  It houses a fine replica of a double-lensed acetylene gas powered magic lantern as the chapel would have been used for various community activities.

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As brass band enthusiasts we had to visit the Hetton Silver Band Hall which was opened in 2013. P1080645

As one of the more recent ‘translocations’ we felt it need to weather a bit as the brickwork looked new and pristine as did the surrounding block paving. However, it represents the role of numerous colliery bands in the area. The hall had been used by the Hetton Silver Band, founded in 1887, and the band donated the hall to the museum after they merged with Broughtons Band of South Hetton to form the Durham Miners’ Association Band. It is still used for performances at the museum.

P1080717St Helen’s Church was relocated from its original site in Eston, North Yorkshire where it had existed since around 1100. It opened at the Beamish site in November 2015.

Whit Marches

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A couple of weeks ago we had the pleasure of attending the Whit Marches in the Tameside, Oldham and Saddleworth area in North West England. These are a series of brass band competitions held in 22 towns and villages on the edge of the Pennines and date back to the 1870s.  Whit Friday has traditionally been a holiday in the area. On the Friday morning the traditional church Whit Walks take place and in the evening each village holds its own brass band contest. Well over 100 bands from all over the country tour the area in coaches, visiting as many contests as they can. The bands include all levels from Championship level, including National Champions Foden’s, to school and youth bands. This year there were also bands from Canada, Iceland, Sweden and Switzerland.

At each venue each band performs two pieces – a march performed on the move, where they may be awarded marks for deportment, and a set piece performed on a temporary band stand.  The adjudicators are concealed in a caravan or nearby room, awarding marks without knowing the bands’ identities.

The Whit Friday contests are a favourite event in the brass band calendar and attract thousands of people. They are often described as ‘the greatest free show on earth!’6x4 Whit Marches backWM5

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