Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 25 October 2013

So Where Shall We Go On Our Journey Today? The Beamish Museum, Co Durham Part 2

Your visits to my little corner of blog land last week were beautifully comforting and humbling.  Thank you so much for your sweet comments which I passed on to my hubby who is just going through some more tests to find out what happened.  Positive thoughts and prayers are paying off and also a good rest, so he was more than happy for me and the kids to go 'oop North' and let him spend a day recuperating.  So, I said last week that normal service would be resumed, and I have kept my promise to you by paying a visit to the Beamish Museum in Co Durham for part two (part one here).  You know the drill my lovelies, a piece of cake, a large cup of tea, feet up and come along for the second little trip around this amazing place.  Are you ready? Here we go on a picture heavy post (and that includes you Mr Spider who decided to be included in this shot)
After meeting my wonderful uncle at Durham Station we drove to the Museum in its magnificent surroundings.  The smell of coal fires was thick in the air and the sounds were of times gone by.  The crowds from the summer months were a distant memory and we felt as though we had the museum pretty much to ourselves.  The trams no longer had hoards of people wanting to ride to the different destinations within the museum, and there was time to enjoy the surroundings.
This time we didn't head straight for the town.  Instead we wanted to visit the Pit Village and the Colliery.  The walk was a happy one with Mumsy and my Uncle walking ahead catching up on their family lives and reminiscing, while me and my teenagers enjoyed the scenery of the changing season.
Shortly we came across the Pit Village with its school, chapel, miners cottages and famous fish and chip shop.
A short queue this time for piping hot chips, cooked in beef dripping on a coal fired fryer and served in newspaper... perfect!
Once fueled up with these beauties it was time for the tour.  Time for school to begin... now hang up your coats next to the hoops.
Wash your hands, but remember that these are very low to the ground, after all, we have all grown up now haven't we?!
Now, time to sit down on these tiny chairs and pick up your slate (it felt like I was in Goldilocks and the Three Bears about to sit on the little chair that was going to break!).
How much fun this would have been when I went to school... a rocking horse in the corner!
School is now over and it is time to go home for tea to the miners cottages.
The lady of the house (just through the door) told us that Monday's were wash days and Tuesday's were ironing days if the weather was fine and the washing was dry.  We shouldn't complain should we?

Especially when we have the power of electric and technology nowadays.  Just look at what we used to use.
In the next cottage the craft of rug making was set out next to the cosy coal fire.
And the thunder box was ready in case it was needed!  Just look at the newspaper remnants on the floor!
Now, further down was where the men and boys would work, the colliery.
We donned our hard hats and prepared to go down into the pit.
We didn't have to hand in our tokens to show where we were, unlike the poor workers that used to do this for their living.
The walk to the coal face was 100 ft down and meant that you had to bend to stop banging your head and also dodge the huge puddles (it had rained just before).  It was dark, and all encompassing.  When we got to the coal face, our guide explained the working conditions which were ten hours in near total darkness.  He then turned off the main light and just had the lamp on.  Darkness enveloped us and the true awful working conditions began to hit home.  No photos of this as Miss Teenager was in charge of my camera and couldn't bring herself to go down the mine so sat outside.  If ever you visit this place, do have the courage to go down as there is nothing like experiencing history when you can.

We walked through the woodland nearby with its beautiful golden fronds of the ferns.
And then to the tram to visit the town once again.
One of the places we couldn't visit the previous time due to the crowds, was the printers.  I loved this place with its functionality for the printed word.
And this gentleman was a great character explaining the workings of the preparation and printing.  So much knowledge in amazing surroundings.  Just look at the attention to detail on everything that surrounds him, right down to the original mirror.
He showed how the words would be set upside down and back to front.
This was such a beautiful place.  Full of words to tell different stories of lives gone by.  The smell of printers ink and old paper, just gorgeous.
I loved the large sheet of paper and the old font.
Next door was the confectioners and this time a lot less crowded!   I could even get to the back where they make the tempting tooth rot sweets and looked lovingly at the moulds.
And the different contraptions to mix all the sugary gorgeousness.
... mmmm, just dreaming...

Right, still with me?  It was time for a little walk to the Georgian farm.  What an amazing place.
and the views across the garden were spectacular.
Looking across the wonderful English countryside was a moment to savour.
Inside it was a hive of activity.  Butter being moulded.
Baking biscuits in a warm cosy kitchen.
The fireplace surrounded by all contraptions that each had a specific purpose.
The sheeps wool being stored in the upstairs rooms.
And grain keeping warm and dry.
The darkness of the house was illuminated with a cosy glow from lamps all around.
I could quite happily live here and look at this view each morning.
Time was moving on and we made our way to the ironworks with the heavy smell of the coal burning for the engine.
Can you imagine warming your feet on a cold day?
And so, it was time to head back home - hair and clothes smelling of comfortable wood and coal smoke, imaginations running riot and the longing of nostalgia flowing through our veins.  Passing some amusing original signs.  This particular one would have to be hidden from my little Coco!
The lights were on at Durham station and our goodbyes were said once again.
The Beamish Museum is an amazing place.  The attention to detail is unsurpassed and the dedication of the staff with their knowledge and appreciation of the history lessons they unfold is an absolute delight.  If you haven't been, make sure you do at some point whether you are visiting the area, or the country.
Well, if you got to the end of this post you deserve a platinum star!!  There are more photos on my Facebook page in case you wanted more visual delights on the trip.

Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Take care. 

 ♥ Chel ♥ 

 (Remember that if you want to see a larger version of my photos just click on one and a slide will appear) 

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  1. Can you believe that I actually sat at desks like those in you photograph and used a dip pen and ink to write with, this would be back in the 50's. We also had coal fires in each class room. By the way, the chips look lovely..

  2. When I read this post, I thought, 'Why would my ancestors have left England? (and Sweden and Denmark) Didn't they know that I was supposed to have been born there??' lol This was a delightful tour. Thank you. And the colliery reminds me of a movie (probably BBC) that my kids liked to watch when they were young, 'The Littlest Horse Thieves' - about the pit ponies. One of your photos actually reminds me very much of some of the B&Bs we've stayed at in Yorkshire!

  3. Looks like a wonderful trip! Beautiful countryside and lots of history. Thanks for taking us along.

  4. I love Beamish, I've visited several times and never tire of it.

  5. What a wonderful place, and your photos are fantastic. I particularly loved the letterpress, and the views. It reminds me a little of the Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagans. They have lots of old Welsh buildings there, with various people still doing the jobs that would have been done then, such as cobbling. Very happy to have found your lovely blog.

  6. What a wonderful tour of this coal mining town. It reminded me a bit of our Kings Landing Historical Settlement that I've written about. Thanks for sharing your day with us. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. Thanks for the tour, Chel. If I'd been with you, I'd have stayed up top with Miss Teenager. I'm not good with dark spaces and the idea of going down a pit sends shivers up and down my spine!

    I hope your hubby continues to improve. :o)

  8. So much to see! It all looks fascinating and how much better to experience it without the crowds.

  9. A wonderful tour, Chel, I enjoyed every moment of it - thinking of how difficult life used to be in those days, but surely something has been lost over time to us - the satisfaction of hands on work. I love the little school and the printing museum and the beautiful gardens. Even the scenery along the way is simply gorgeous. I live in a now defunct mining town with much history of these hard working men and women. There was once a complete town with a hotel, now lost to history and the encroachment of forest. It is wonderful that all of that has been preserved there for all of us to comtemplate the difficulties of our ancestors.
    I had missed the post about your Dear Husband and I want to add my well wishes and positive thoughts to a healthy outcome. I know it is hard to focus when your thoughts are elsewhere.....
    A big hug to you, xoxo Karen

  10. Hi Chel, thanks for that fantastic tour! Wow you all must of had a great day! I am glad for the way that I get to do my laundry each week, those poor women! The photos and the tour were a delight and thanks. I loved the photo of the women baking! The countryside is so pretty with the trees changing colors too. Take care and have a nice weekend and week.

  11. Oh my goodness!! Where do I even begin!!! As I was reading your post I was literally telling my husband how cool it would be to live here with the beans!!! The beauty is unbelievable as is the museum!!!! The garden!! The fonts!!! Thank you for taking us along on this fantastic journey!

  12. Looks like you had an amazing, your photos are just fantastic.

  13. We have a mining museum near where we live and I took a class of children down when I was teaching. We had to travel down in a cage though. The conditions even up to the days when the pits closed must have been awful. They had poor little ponies that worked down there and were actually stabled underground.

  14. Great photos Chel! I felt like I've really been there :) It looks like such a wonderful place. I love to go to Blist's Hill musuem in Shropshire when I can and it looks really similar to The Beamish Museum. Have a lovely weekend xoxo

  15. What an amazing day trip. I loved the old sinks. And I thought it was forbidden to serve fish and chips in newspaper because the ink isn't good? It looks very traditional, though and exactly how I imagined it to be!

  16. Lovely day out! SO many eye-catching images. I can totally see why you went back for a second visit - minus the crowds. The atmosphere was so much more enjoyable and you could really get the feel of the place. Amazing.

  17. AMAZING!!!!!!!
    Oh my gosh I want to go here so badly!!!
    That school alone is enough to make me want to poke around, but the toilet ... not so much!
    And the English Countryside never fails to take my breath away.
    I hope you're well,
    Much love to you,

  18. Another fantastic tour. The attention to detail really is wonderful. I am afraid you wouldn't get me down that mine at any cost! Just reading about it makes me feel claustrophobic.
    The autumn colours looks beautiful, a bit more advanced than here.
    Hope all goes well with your husband's tests and the problem can be resolved easily.

  19. Great photos, you have captured the very essence of this place...

    Do you ever play with tilt shift photography, I think I might have asked you that before, but some of your shots seem just perfect for that.


    1. Thanks Jen, I have just looked at http://tiltshiftmaker.com/ and this looks really fun to do, I will have a go xx

  20. Great posts - and didn't you just have the best weather?? Oh, chips fried in dripping - very tasty and MUCH healthier for you than any old polyunsaturated rubbish which has made everyone fat and unhealthy! Glad you enjoyed your day, and hope The Mister continues to improve.

  21. Oh Chel...your little mini vacations always come at just the right time! I always feel as though I am right there with you...you give such amazing details and such lovely photographs. I so hope to travel to your little corner of the world some day, but until then, I will enjoy every ohoto you share. Have a lovely week my friend!

    Blessings, Vicky
    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  22. There is just so much to see at Beamish - just a step back in time through your photos. I can see how it just isn't possible to see it all in one day - I bet you loved soaking up the atmosphere.

  23. Wonderful post Chel, took me back to our visit when my boys were younger, what an amazing place it is, great to visit when you have most of it to yourself! :-) x

  24. Very interesting - must try to get there next time we're in the UK. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

  25. What an amazing place. Thank you for the tour!

  26. Ooh what a nice place to visit! I wouldn't have been able to go down in the mine myself but I'm sure it was a real reality check! It's great that they've preserved all this and give a glimpse of life as it once was. My fatter grew up in a copper mining town and his fatter worked in the mines. Thanks for sharing this and I hope your husband us doing well.

  27. Wowzers what an awesome place. Your pictures and words really took me back in time. We're blessed with so much amazing history, and thankfully still being maintained in places like the Beamish Museum. What a fantastic experience to be able to revisit those times. That's one destination I'm putting on the list of 'must sees'. Thanks Chel x

  28. What a great place! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Gorgeous shots - I like the autumn foliage and that red postbox.

  30. Fascinating shots, all the more so as the tour proceeded. What a beautiful immaculate place ! Something to dream on.

  31. Lovely collection of pics... Enjoyed it thoroughly

  32. This is somewhere that is on my 'to visit' list. Looks great - but then you've taken some really excellent photos! Put Blists Hill Victorian Town on your list, if you've not been there; you'll find a write up on A Bit About Britain.

  33. I love this blog you literally took me back in time I so totally enjoyed the photos so much (( the photos,EVERYTHING )) I can't wait til your next adventure now. =0)

    Just Fluttering Around


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