North East News

New Bus Depot at Beamish Museum

The new Northern General Transport Bus Depot has opened its doors at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North – helping to preserve transport heritage and engineering skills, along with the century-old Northern name.

The depot and workshop, which is part of the £20million Remaking Beamish project, is home to the museum’s growing fleet of buses and will allow visitors to watch engineering work on historic vehicles.
Learning activities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) will take place at the bus depot and apprenticeships will ensure that heritage engineering skills are passed on.


Paul Jarman, Beamish’s Assistant Director – Design, Transport and Industry, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the Northern General Transport Bus Depot at Beamish. With the incredible growth in visitor numbers over the past decade, we have been expanding our fleet of period vehicles to meet rising demand.


“The new bus depot and associated workshop has been created to support this growth and we’re now lucky to have one of the best facilities in any museum in the UK for maintaining our fleet.
“We’d like to thank our funders and supporters who are helping us preserve the region’s heritage, including transport heritage, for future generations.”


The depot has been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Go North East and The Reece Foundation, along with local, regional and national trusts and foundations, the Friends of Beamish and the Business Friends of Beamish.


The Northern General Transport Company’s first buses began running in 1913 and the name has been preserved in the new depot. The company later became Go-Ahead Northern and then Go North East. Around 175,000 journeys are made on Go North East buses every day around the North East.


The Reece Foundation aims to inspire the next generation of North East engineers and, to date, has pledged £720,000 to support the museum’s STEM learning programme.


Groups can be a part of history and explore the Northern General Transport Bus Depot during a visit to Beamish Museum. The museum is the ideal place for group visits to North East England, with something for visitors of all ages and interests. Take a tram ride back in time and experience the sights, sounds, smells and delicious tastes of 1820s Pockerley, The 1900s Town, The 1900s Pit Village, The 1940s Farm and 1950s welfare hall (discounted group rates on admission).


Follow in the footsteps of the Downton Abbey stars during a group visit to Beamish Museum.
More than 100 cast and crew visited Beamish for filming of the Downton Abbey movie, which involved some of the museum’s staff and period vehicles. The County Durham open air museum also featured in the last ever episode of the global hit TV series Downton Abbey, the Christmas special in 2015.


Enjoy a true taste of Beamish with Dainty Bites, a light buffet lunch served in a private room overlooking the award-winning 1900s Town (subject to availability and excluding local school and Bank Holidays – Dainty Bites must be booked in advance).


With free coach parking as well as free admission for coach drivers and group visit organisers (minimum 15+ paying visitors), a trip to Beamish is the perfect choice for groups.


The Remaking Beamish project is the biggest development in the museum’s history and includes a 1950s Town, with the newly-opened welfare hall, as well as plans for houses, shops, a cinema, cafe and bowling green. Aged miners’ homes will provide a centre for older people, including those living with dementia. There will also be a 1950s Farm and expansion of the Georgian area, including Joe the Quilter’s cottage and an inn where visitors can stay overnight.


Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, our Remaking Beamish project has been awarded £10.9million by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Beamish Museum is open all year and offers a packed programme of exciting events, from the Great North Festival of Transport and the Georgian Fair to the Festival of 50s and a whole season of Christmas celebrations. There’s no extra charge for daytime events, they’re included in the admission price.


Beamish has been awarded Coach Friendly Status by The Confederation of Passenger Transport. The accolade rewards the museum’s commitment to providing excellent service for coaches and groups, and our understanding of the requirements of the coach, its passengers and driver.


For more information about group visits to Beamish or the Remaking Beamish project, visit www.beamish.org.uk.

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