Festival of 50s fun at Beamish Museum

It’s time to practise those 50s hairdos and dust off your petticoats, it’s Beamish’s Festival of 50s and there’s plenty of fun to be had!

The fabulous 50s will be celebrated in style at the museum, from Thursday, July 6, to Sunday, July 9, with live music, costume to try on and delicious 50s-inspired food and drink.

Beamish will soon start work on building a 1950s Town as part of the £18million Remaking Beamish project, which has been awarded £10.9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Geraldine Straker, Remaking Beamish Project Officer (Community Participation), said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s Festival of 50s, which looks at change and development in different areas across the decade.

“We’ll be highlighting the changes that occurred in fashion, technology, food, health and welfare, whilst enjoying live music and dancing, getting dressed up and just having a great day out.

“The HLF grant marks an incredibly exciting time in Beamish’s history and the Festival of 50s is a great opportunity to look forward to the Remaking Beamish project.”

On all four days of the festival, visitors will be able to dance along to band Hop, Skiffle and Jump and see the change in fashion, looking at everyday dress and design throughout the decade.

There’ll be a 50s toy shop, bowls (sponsored by Co-operative Funeral Care), a telephone exchange and visitors can mark the 1953 Coronation by helping to decorate the Coronation float.

Durham Amateur Football Trust will be bringing along some fantastic football memorabilia and talking to visitors about amateur football in the 50s. Who will be crowned Beamish Champions 2017 in the football tournament on Sunday? There’s also the chance to spend time in a typical police station office with the North East Police History Society.

Sample the delights of macaroni cheese, oxtail soup and crisps, and delicious 50s milkshakes!

Visit our NHS baby clinic and find out about the important introduction of NHS immunisations during the 50s for conditions such as TB and polio.

Find out where young men were posted during National Service in the 50s, learn about their different roles and what was happening internationally. Share your own experiences in our military exhibit.

Take a look at news stories and memorable occasions from the decade, share your memories and tell us your 50s highlights.

Let the North East Film Archive take you on a journey through time revealing the stunning North East coastline captured on film during the 1950s in the Masonic Hall in The Town.

On Thursday and Friday, you can enjoy the more traditional dances from the decade at our fabulous 50s tea dance.

During the weekend, you can treat yourself to a fantastic hairdo (small charge applies) and come along in your 1950s finery and enter the Mr and Mrs Beamish contest or the Master and Miss Beamish competition for under 16s.

There will also be live music from The Troubleshooters on Saturday, The Baldy Holly Band will perform on Sunday, and the Beamish Choir will be singing hits from the 50s over the weekend.

Pop across to Wanda, our 50s caravan, to try on clothing from the times – don’t forget to pick up your props for a 50s holiday photograph (small charge applies).

The Festival of 50s is included in admission to Beamish and is free to Unlimited Pass holders, as with all daytime events.

Beamish is also hosting two cinema evenings as part of the Festival of 50s.

The museum is showing Peter Sellers’ first film, Penny Points to Paradise (1951), on Friday, July 7, and the first Ealing comedy shot in colour, The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), on Saturday, July 8, at the ticketed events held in the Masonic Hall in The Town.

Visit www.beamish.org.uk for more information on cinema evenings and to buy tickets, subject to availability. Tickets cost £10 and include a bag of Beamish sweets and a bottle of aerated water from the chemist’s in The 1900s Town. Take a look at www.adelphifilms.com to find out more about Adelphi.

Beamish has plans to build a 1950s Town and upland farm, a Georgian coaching inn and other developments as part of the Remaking Beamish project. The 1950s Town is set to include houses, shops, police office and houses, cafe, cinema and recreation area. Aged miners’ homes will be a centre for people living with dementia and their families and carers. A 1950s trolleybus system and restored buses will transport visitors.

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