The North of England Open Air Museum at Beamish is a well thought-out place. Theyʼve taken two dates 1825, towards the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and 1913, after it was over and just before the outbreak of the First World War, and used these to show the tremendous changes that came about during this period.
There are four main areas linked by a system of trams, replica buses and cars. The Colliery Village, the Home Farm and The Town all illustrate different aspects of life in 1913.
Pocklington Manor and the adjoining Waggonway both illustrate how life was at the very outset of industrialisation.
Peering through the rain and seeing the driver of the replica of Stevensonʼs Locomotion No 1 perched awkwardly on the side of the engine (just like in the drawings of the time) really brought home to me just how strange railways must have seemed back in the early nineteenth century.
Plenty of helpful staff around, in costume but not in character; plenty to see and do; a good day out (if not two).
Check the official website for opening times etc.