Friends' logo: simple coal wagon.The Friends of Beamish Museum.

Restoration Workshops' Home Page.

Skip to navigation.

In the Restoration Volunteers' Workshop.

We are presently involved in restoring the past for the future in our workshops and invite you to visit the Friends' volunteers working behind the scenes here at Beamish. This section of the Website shows you restoration projects, both past and present, that The Friends have carried out for the Museum.

Spring 2020

Workshop Moves – The Friends’ volunteers are setting up new workshop space in the main tram shed building as part of the revised arrangements made possible by the opening of the new bus depot.  We have moved out of the erecting shop and will have slightly more space and better facilities for the teams looking after the Model Ts, motorcycles and restoring the horse tram.  The new facilities are being fitted out and equipped to improve the usefulness of the space.

A workshop scene

Horse TramThe team working on the tram are continuing to make progress on the platform fittings and the seating for the upper deck.

Model T Fords – The T Ton Truck being almost mechanically complete, thoughts have once again turned to the design of a suitable cab.  This will be constructed to be appropriate to the future use of the vehicle and reflect a more English outline than the cab previously carried.  We are still looking for a hood and frame for our Tourer.  If you know of anyone who may have such an item we could purchase, or borrow to copy from, please let us know.

WoodworkThe first two completed recycling stations are now ready for use and should be out on site by the time you are reading this report.   The team have been very busy, producing and repairing items used by the visitors. These include some hoopla stands, and blackboards.  A very large frame and two home-built scooters have also been made to assist with the Beamish half term activities.  A large dresser has also been moved and conserved for further use on site.  

Edward Sholto – The team previously working on Glyder, have been reassembling Edward Sholto for display at the Museum. Edward Sholto was the last of the 'Large Quarry' class built by Hunslet for the Penrhyn Quarries at Bethesda. An 0-4-0ST, it is Hunslet 996 of 1909.  The locomotive was named after Edward Sholto Douglas-Pennant, who became Lord Penrhyn in 1907.

 Looking Back

In this special 50th Anniversary year we thought it would be interesting to reflect on some of the objects, and projects, which have been at Beamish from the very early years and are still entertaining our visitors.  Trams, Sheffield 264 and Gateshead 10. have been transporting our visitors since the early 1970s and, although Gateshead is undergoing an overhaul at present, both trams are very much alive and well.

The Museum’s 1937 Case tractor was collected by Frank Atkinson from Slaley Hall and was part exhibit, and part working vehicle as it was the only tractor onsite!  It has had mechanical work over the years but can be seen operating regularly.  Indeed, it helped with a furniture collection very recently and powers the Ransomes Homestead thrasher at harvest time.

1937 Case C Tractor

The 1900 Humber quadricycle was another early addition to the collections.  This one took a little longer to operate again, but following restoration it once again moved under its own power, allowing our visitors to experience the site, and sounds, of a pioneer motor vehicle whilst allowing us to keep alive the skills required to operate these vehicles.  

and Forward

One for the future is the Dodge Bus, which is about to be fully restored using Friends’ volunteer labour alongside our full-time colleagues.  The Dodge was displayed at Beamish in the early years, although not actually part of the collections at that stage.  Once restored this little bus will look superb travelling past Spainsfield farm, particularly as both exhibits spent their lives in the Weardale area.

Blue Dodge Bus


Autumn 2017

Horse Tram – Peter, one of our weekday volunteers, has been very busy repairing and producing new lamps for Rowley station, amongst many other projects.  He has now directed this lamp making skill at the Horse Tram project and is producing the two lamps which provide directional indication.  The lamps also double as illumination for the interior saloon.  John has one staircase complete, marking a massive step towards (and upwards!) the time when the tram can be horsed and enjoyed by us all.  

Horse Tram Lamp

1900 Humber Quadricycle The Humber has had several outings this year following work on its rear wheel bearings and some re-soldering work on its surface carburettor.  This vehicle always attracts the attention of visitors due to its age and primitiveness.  We are also investigating the design of tool box originally carried as part of the front passenger foot plate. 

Humber Quadricycle and Motorcycle display

SOS Bus - The SOS is having some new rubber covers fitted to its rear brake cylinders.  When the chassis was restored in the early 1980s only one style of cover was available which worked, but was not an ideal fit.  More suitable covers are now available and we were kindly gifted a set from our fellow SOS restorers at the Transport Museum, Wythall.     

Tyre Inflators – Those of you with long, sorry, very long, memories will remember the Friends restoring a large tyre inflator.   One of our volunteers kindly donated another similar inflator for use at Beamish and, together with the original device, this has been refurbished, allowing one to be kept for use at the RHEC and one for use in the Town garage.

Events – We took part in the Empire and Flag weekend parades and the Yesterday Belongs To You event, talking to people about the work of the Friends.

Yesterday Belongs to You exhibition

James Motorcycle – You will see more of the James motorcycle as it is being used by the Re-Making Beamish construction manager as his on-site transport.

James Motorcycle

Matchless Motorcycle - The hub bearings have now been re-furbished on all of the Matchless combination’s wheels.  We still need some bulb horns to fit to the Excelsior and Royal Enfield motorcycles in the collections, so if you have one hiding in your shed or garage we would be pleased to hear from you.

Model T Fords – The Tourer’s engine is now running on both battery and magneto, probably the first time it has run in thirty years.  The front wings have been re-painted and will be refitted when the mechanical work is complete. The steering wheel rim has been re-glued and will be stained to recreate the original Ford finish.

Model T steering wheel under repair

Woodwork – Along with the continuing replacement doors for Pockerley, the team have also made a shelf unit for the photographer’s studio and they are also working on some replacement props for use in the studio to enhance the visitor experience in this area. The fencing which is used around site is also being refreshed. 

Avon Power Saw – Peter has been working on the saw to make it more reliable and you may have seen it in action at the Dig for Victory event.

Barford and Perkins Roller – The lengthy task of paint finishing is now complete and we hope the roller will see use on site in the coming year.

Barford & Perkins Roller being painted


Spring 2017

Horse Tram – Although not a high priority project, the small group working on this tramcar continue to make progress towards eventual completion. The next job is to construct the two staircases.  The materials are in hand and a set of drawings has been produced to enable the treads and risers to be made.

Motorcycles - The ‘Easting’ trade mark has also been recreated on the side car screen fitted to the Dene V twin.  The Excelsior Model 4 is now stripped down in readiness for its complete restoration to working order.  The engine and gearbox are now dismantled and the crankshaft has been sent to an outside contractor as the shaft has worn undersize.  Overall the Excelsior is in pretty good order allowing the reuse of most of the mechanical parts. The new footsteps, cast using the damaged originals as patterns have been returned.

Easting Sidecar screen

Events – We enjoyed the opportunity to act as an extended mining family for three of the Christmas Evenings, welcoming visitors to become part of the celebrations.

Christmas Evenings 2016

Case Tractor – The case is in less demand at this time of year so the decision was taken to carry out some refurbishment of its steering linkage. 

Model T Fords – John and Mike continue their work on the Beamish Model T fleet.  The Crewe tractor is now bedded in and providing Paul Jarman with reliable, if draughty, transport around site.  It attracts attention wherever it appears with many visitors being surprised that it is a Ford T under its minimalist coachwork.  The tourer is progressing well with John having constructed a coil box tester to check the four coils which provide sparks when starting the engine.  A small battery provides energy for the coils and once running the ignition is switched to operate from the inbuilt flywheel magneto.  There is no electric start on this T so a good strong spark will be much appreciated by the person on the starting handle.  With a view to more regular use in the future the windscreen is receiving attention and we still need to source a hood and frame.

Underground Stretcher – We are often asked to help with small interesting projects by the museum staff.   One such project was a mining stretcher fitted with wheels for running on the underground tubway.  All it needed was a coat or two of paint and is now ready for display.

Underground stretcher

Woodwork – Work continues on a variety of projects from all areas of the museum and we expect this to continue with the Remaking Beamish project. 

Autumn 2016

Woodwork – The manufacture of replacement doors has moved on to Home Farm with the team carrying on with a range of other tasks at the same time.  The tool cupboards for the Council Depot are also nearly complete.

Horse Tram – The upper deck floor which is also the saloon roof has had its canvas fitted and tread boards have been fitted to the saloon floor.

Motorcycles - The Dene motorcycles have been receiving attention for a special appearance at the Discovery Museum celebrating the life and work of their designer James Moore.  The Eastings Screen has been completed on the Mills Fulford sidecar and the team have provided plans for an overseas enthusiast with a similar sidecar.

Easting's Screen being fitted

Events – The Friends were pleased to be involved with the Somme centenary event.  The Festival of Agriculture is next and we hope we will be doing threshing demonstrations, weather permitting.  Please come and say hello if you visit the Festival.

BSA Tandem – The tandem restoration has been continuing steadily alongside other works, but is now nearing completion and will make a wonderful sight with the Sandum sidecar attached.

BSA Tandem under restoration

Other Cycles: - We have managed to equip many of the Beamish staff with bicycles for use as site transport.  This keeps our cycle volunteers very busy with routine repairs and maintenance and enhances the period scene for visitors.  

Model T Fords – “The Model T Works” would now be an appropriate way to describe the activities in the R.H.EC.  The road going “Crewe Tractor” appeared at the Somme Event before being returned to the workshops for completion.   The carburettor and intake system is being overhauled.  It is fitted with a Holley Vapouriser, a common fitting on Ford Ts and apparently an excellent fitting when all its components are air tight and in good condition.  As I have said previously, the availability of spares for Model T Fords is incredible, so refurbishment should be a fairly quick process.  We hope this work will make the T a much better starter.  The Tourer from the Garage will be next and as it is a British built example it provides an excellent comparison with its siblings from across the Pond.    

Case Tractor – The Case is back in service now and has already helped with the Roller restoration.  We will ease the new components back in to work gradually over the coming Festival of Agriculture.  

Barford and Perkins Motor Roller – I haven’t mentioned the roller for a while, but this doesn’t mean it has not been worked on.  As with all restorations, the work can often be slow and tedious.  The roller gearbox has needed alignment adjustments identified while we were running in the engine.  This was done cold, driven by the Case tractor.  The radiator has been returned to the contractors for further repairs.  This highlights the difficulty experienced when trying to retain original components, particularly when correct replacements are not available.  The team have been busy constructing a new bonnet and once we have the radiator back a trial starting of the engine will be possible 



Summer 2016

Woodwork – Our band of wood workers are as busy ever.  The four wheeled trolley  has all of its woodwork ready for assembly.  Some giant dominoes and Jenga sets have been produced along with clipboards for educational activities.  The new chemist’s display has produced the need for some boxes to contain items for further educational use and these are also being worked on.  New doors and gates are still being made to replace weather damaged examples.  Look out for the roller ball stands at the fairground helping to enhance the excellent work carried out by our full time colleagues.

Roll-A-Ball game at Beamish Fairground

Motorcycles - The recommissioning work on the Royal Enfield, P & M and Triumph motorcycles was completed successfully, and in time for the Great War Steam Fair, you may have spotted them.  As always the work wasn’t all straight forward.  The Royal Enfield’s re-circulating oil system caused a little head scratching as did the rear wheel sprocket and bearings on the P. & M..  The ‘V Twin’ Dene combination is on display in the Garage showroom at present, complete with sidecar screen, and looks splendid.  The oil sight glass needed replacement which we thought might be a challenge.  Fortunately, Sunderland Glass Centre was able to make a replacement at a very reasonable cost. 

Royal Enfield and P& M combination

Events – The Friends' group was heavily involved with the Festival of Transport during April and the Empire Weekend event in May.  We will be helping with the Beamish Reliability Run and we are always looking for volunteers to shepherd the returning vehicles around the Museum. If you would like to help please contact us at the Friends’ Office.

Other work - There are always a variety of other short term jobs underway.  One of these was the refurbishment of the governor mechanism on the Ruston Drag Saw.

Model T Ford – To the casual onlooker the Model T chassis looks little different from its original state.  Look closely however and you will realise that it is now mechanically as new, with some subtle, and reversible, upgrades to the rear axle and brakes to make the vehicle even more usable.  New wooden spokes have been fitted to the rear wheels and assembly of the pickup body is now underway.

Model T Ford "Crewe Tractor"

Case Tractor – Removal of the cylinder liners was necessary to get to the errant seal. The liners had corroded over the past quarter century of use so we decided to replace them when the engine was so far dismantled. Unfortunately, replacements are not available in the UK and the USA suppliers could not offer liners in the same internal bore dimensions.  To avoid having to replace the pistons we have had four, new, bespoke liners manufactured and these are now fitted.  By the time you read this the pistons will be installed complete with new piston rings.  We have also taken the opportunity to overhaul the cylinder head so the engine should be ready for another 25 years’ service!  

Case Tractor Engine Liners being replaced     


Autumn 2015

AJS & James Motorcycles – The final coats of paint are now applied to the James and re-assembly is underway.  I mentioned last time that the AJS motorcycle was undergoing work to its kick starter mechanism.  The work was completed the day before the Beamish Run and I am pleased to say, as expected, it worked perfectly.  The photograph shows the repair and the cracked casting.  We will keep looking for a spare gear box casing but this great little motorcycle is once again pleasing all who are involved with it. 

AJS gearbox repair

Woodwork – The blackboards for the tearooms are completed, along with the replacement Notice Board to go outside the Chapel and the cleaning boxes for use on site.   Six replica deputy’s yard sticks have been made for the interpreters at the Drift Mine.  A large number of ‘A’ boards for use on site have been made and are being painted.  Peter, one of our mid-week volunteers, has produced a workman’s shelter, telephone covers for the period buildings and is working on two warning lamps from the waggon way.  The team is also helping with the site maintenance work and we have several new projects lined up to takes us through the Autumn.

Woodwork Projects

Events – By the time you read this we will be into the September Agricultural Events.  The Friends are working on several exhibits for these and we will of course be helping as much as   possible.  The Museum entry to the Beamish Reliability Run was bigger than ever this year with two cars, Austin and Wolseley, the Commer van and the AJS motorcycle all completing the gruelling, but highly scenic, trek through the Northern hills.   

Barford & Perkins Roller R025 –The radiator is back from the contractor allowing it to be fitted and the bonnet housing remade and fitted.  There is still much work to do on the radiator as we have retained as much of the original as possible.  Once we are happy with its installation we will be able to try starting the engine.  The last major job will be the construction and fitting of the canopy.

BSA Tandem – This project has been on-going for some time but we now have all the bright work re-chromed so re-assembly can begin.

Horse Tram – The focus of attention has moved onto replacing the stair cases.  This will be a time consuming and difficult process working from photographs and the original structure.  The upper deck floor is now waterproofed and a replacement glass lamp lens is being made. 

SOS Bus – The SOS did star in the W I centenary parade weekend, behaving impeccably on both days.  We still have some extra adjustments to make to the transmission regarding the new fabric couplings which will be tackled once again by Ian and Chris later in the year.  They can both remove an SOS clutch whilst blindfolded!    



Barford & Perkins Roller R025 –The new valves have arrived and are installed in re-cut valve seats.  The cylinder head is now fitted and the engine will require a little bedding in before it can be started on the handle.  New ignition leads will be fitted to the refurbished magneto allowing the engine to be tested once the radiator is returned from repair.  The gear box is now in place following some difficulty due to years of wear and tear.  The seat, which incorporates a toolbox was fitted before the roller had an outing to the events field as part of the road-making machinery display at the Great North Steam Fair.

Barford & Perkins Roller R025

AJS & James Motorcycles – The James motorcycle has required a little more work than we first hoped in order to ensure that the metal work doesn’t succumb to the dreaded tin worm.  Some repainting has been required with paint specially mixed to match the original.   The AJS motorcycle is undergoing work to its kick starter mechanism which has unfortunately broken away from the very fine casting which holds it to the rear of the gearbox.  This is a common weakness with this gearbox design and the team have come up with an ingenious solution which will hopefully stop the problem recurring.  

Woodwork – The tool cupboards for the Rural District Council Depot are progressing rapidly. Blackboards for the tearooms are under construction, along with a replacement Notice Board to go outside the Chapel.  In addition the team are producing 13 cleaning boxes for use on site.  The Stop/Go signs’ woodwork is now complete and we are looking at ways to replace the reflective studs which spell out the wording.  Some quite substantial future jobs are also being planned so the team will be quite busy in the next couple of months! 

Events – The Transport Festival Events in April were very successful and the Friends were heavily involved with the GNSF.  The feedback from exhibitors and visitors was very positive proving that it is possible to improve year after year.  The Friends are committed to the Museum’s at Night evening and the WI centenary weekend.  Also coming up on June 21st is the Beamish Reliability Run.  We provide valuable marshalling on site for the returning vehicles.  If you would like to help, please contact us at the Friends’ Office.

Great North Steam Fair Photography Evening

SOS Bus – The new fabric couplings in the transmission have now been fitted and it is hoped the SOS will have been a star at the W I centenary weekend on 23rd and 24th May. 

Horse Tram – Once the tram has had its brake gear fitted the floor can be secured allowing some interior work to be commenced.  Replacement glass is being sourced to replace some missing units and the sanding and varnishing continues.   

Spring 2015

Barford & Perkins Roller R025 –The crankshaft has been re installed and the pistons and connecting rods are now re-assembled.  We are having a new set of valves manufactured and these will be fitted on their completion.  The rear engine casing has been refitted together with the correct pattern petrol tank replacing the Austin 7 tank which had been fitted at some time during its working life.  The rear engine casing also carries the throttle linkage and the ignition advance and retard mechanism.  A large proportion of this linkage was missing and has now been reproduced to allow the carburettor and magneto to be controlled from the driving position.  The exhaust system and operators seat are being produced at present using drawings obtained by Paul Jarman.

James Motorcycle – Many years back the Friends collected a 1950s James motorcycle on behalf of Beamish.  Due to its relatively modern date of manufacture this has been stored from that time.  With this time period now being a focus of Beamish, the James has been brought out of slumber and is being re-commissioned for use on site.  It is very original and complete and also very representative of everyday transport in the 1950s.

Woodwork – The woodwork team have just commenced a new set of jobs which include a set of Stop/Go signs as used by a road mending gang.   Also being made are two tool cabinets for the Road Menders yard and a set of doors for the colliery engine shed.  The wooden seat for the Motor Roller will also be manufactured in the near future.    The team have been involved with the design for the RHEC revision, thanks are due to Paul Jarman and Tony Vollans for their efforts in this process.

RAC Box – Final painting is being completed.  

Events – Christmas Events were supported by the Friends including assisting in the operation of an experimental photographer’s studio to help the planning of the new photographic studio being built in the Town area – with an appearance at the Christmas Bazaar by Parson Grundy.  The profits from these experiments are being put to the Eston church interior fund.  Planning work for the Great North Steam Fair is now underway with entry forms having been issued.

SOS Bus – The bus is undergoing a mechanical check over the winter period and this will include the replacement of two fabric couplings in the transmission. 

SOS Bus in Beamish Town Street

Horse Tram –The tram is back on its wheels following the installation of axle boxes and springs.  The end platforms have been remade and refitted so that the vehicle is beginning to look much more tram like.

Other work Two Lister D stationary engines have been refurbished as teaching aids and the working cycle collection produces a regular flow of work.

Autumn and Winter 2014

Barford & Perkins Roller R025 – Work has commenced on the gearbox which is very well worn like the rest of R025.  Fortunately, the gears themselves seem OK and the shafts can be re-bushed, to restore proper, working tolerances.  The gear box housing has been cleaned ready for painting.  We are looking at alternative methods of refurbishing the valves and valve guides as they are proving difficult for external contractors to cope with.

Mills & Fulford Sidecar – The sidecar wheel and frame and now attached to the V twin Dene motorcycle.  If you wish to see the assembled unit, it is on display in the Town garage.  The work to join the two was carried out in this period area and proved very popular with the visitors.  The upholstery is now stitched, a complicated process due to the tapered shape of the fluted pattern.  This will be trial fitted to the body and then packed to produce a comfortable place to sit.   Our upholsterer is also working on the interior of the museum’s caravan and making a set of covers for 8 bus seats.

Woodwork – Work is concentrating on notice boards for Rowley station at the moment.  In addition the refurbished wheelbarrow is back on display at Pockerley.

Restored wheelbarrow at Pockerley

Barclay, Ross & Tough Thresher – This thresher remains a long term restoration aspiration when time and funds permit.  To make this task more straightforward Les, one of our volunteers, is producing a full set of drawings by painstakingly studying the original exhibit. 

Events – The Friends took part in the DLI Reunion and World War 1 Centenary Commemoration Weekend, the Festival of Agriculture and helped in the scaring at the three Halloween Events.  

Horse Tram – The Horse tram is now sitting on its wheels once more, with the axle boxes painted and refitted.  It is hoped to have the platform bases fitted by Christmas and the brake gear can then be progressed before replacement of the floor.  The team have spent a large amount of time carefully sanding the interior panels and polishing the vast collection of brass fittings.  There will be a huge varnishing task to be undertaken before the restoration is finished. 

Horse tram restoration

Lister Ds – Beamish has built up quite a collection of Lister D engines which are used on site and as educational tools with school groups and young engineers.  Bill has been dismantling cleaning and repairing some incomplete examples so that the inner workings can be explained more readily.  We have acquired or made the missing pieces for these engines so they can be made to work in due course.  

Avon Power Saw – The saw is virtually complete with the winch and saw guide now fitted all that remains is to make some suitable pins used to spike things in place during the sawing process.  Look out for this exciting exhibit at events during 2015.

Organists’ Apprentice – One apprentice has come forward so far but a couple more would be even better.  If you are interested please contact me at the Friends’ Office.

Summer 2014

Barford & Perkins Roller R025The rebuild is progressing at a tremendous pace.  The chassis now stands back on its rolls with the axles and final transmission having been completely overhauled.  The clutch has been dismantled and has had the friction material and the spring steel plate replaced.  The next task is the engine, which has been completely dismantled to evaluate the work needed.    The crankshaft is at a contractor at the present time for a regrind and to have the white metal surfaces renewed. The magneto has been rebuilt as it has seized completely and the rebuild of the radiator is in hand.

Avon Power Saw – The engine is now complete and has had its first test run following the manufacture of a starting handle.  This only leaves the saw guide and the fixing arrangements (attaching the saw to the timber being cut) awaiting attention.

Mills & Fulford Sidecar – The body has had the beading added now and painting has commenced.  The chassis is also well advanced with new bearings and fittings being produced. 

RAC BoxThe metal top is well underway, being a complicated piece of metal work fitted over a complex wooden structure.  The box painting is progressing well and the door furniture and vents are being readied for refitting.  We hope to refit the original lock –so if you still have your RAC key we would be happy to have a couple of spares.

Woodwork – Just when the team thought they had seen the last of wheelbarrows another rebuild appeared on the horizon!  A previous Friends’ creation, this time from Home Farm, it has had a useful life but, now needs a total rebuild.  The tramway clock boxes are complete and painted, as are the Frog boards for use on the tramway.  Also in hand are some replacement sign posts and a set of easels for the Education Dept.  This last job follows on from a set of display stands already in use on site.   Alan Bond is carrying on the project to repair and improve our stock of temporary fencing which gets more use than ever in our increasingly hectic events programme.  Two sets of limbers have also been made for use with pit tubs.

BSA Tandem – The frame has been bead blasted and will be stove enamelled with the  Mills and Fulford sidecar chassis.  Plating will then be needed and will be an expensive item on this machine.  The components have to be dismantled to their component parts before this can take place.

Continuous work - The more you restore and use, then the more you have to maintain. Receiving attention recently have been the SOS bus, the Humber quadricycle and several of the restored cycles. 

Events – The Friends have been very busy during the last months. The Festival of Transport Events culminated with the Great North Steam Fair – probably the best transport event ever held at Beamish so far.  We took part in Museums at Night becoming an extended mining family for the two evenings.

Horse Tram – The wheel sets have been removed for examination and fortunately are in very good condition.  The side panels have been replaced and the end platform supports have been reproduced.  Much work has been done to retain and stabilise the original woodwork, important when restoring for future use.

Spring 2014 

Wheel Barrows and other woodwork – The wheel barrows are now complete and have had their newly cast wheels fitted.  The extra fencing for the gallopers is also complete and looks very smart. The team are making covers for the Exit signs in the newer buildings on site.  These maintain the Edwardian look without affecting the safety role of the illuminated signs.  The tramway clock boxes which you can see around the site are beginning to show their age and the team are about to start making new ones which will also house telephones connected to the Beamish Telecom system. The joint working with the Museum staff has paid dividends on this project as we have been able to utilise offcuts from another job.

RAC Box – The main box structure is complete and the interior is also largely finished.  The task of constructing the top is now underway.  The metal top will be made once the wooden frame is ready.

BSA Tandem – The BSA tandem has now been dismantled and will be bead blasted at the same time as the parts of the Mills and Fulford sidecar chassis.  This work requires careful notes to be made of spoke patterns and fitting details and many photographs are taken during the process.  Renovation work has also taken place on a bicycle for the Wartime Home Farm. 

Making Plans – We are unable to restore everything at once so we try to ensure that we preserve and record for future restorations and restorers.  Les Day is using very modern technology to make plans of the Barclay Ross and Tough threshing drum so that when resources are available a full set of plans will exist.

Events –The Friends supported the Halloween and Christmas Events and are now heavily involved with the planning of the coming Festival Events. . You may also have seen us at Home Farm during the Half Term operating a stationary engine.

Horse Tram - A small team has now been established to work on the restoration of this tram.  The team started by making an inventory of all the fixtures and fittings remaining and have now moved on to the repair of the wooden body, again helped by the full time staff.  The body will shortly be lifted from the wheels to allow the running gear to be examined for defects.

Autumn/Winter 2013

Barford & Perkins Roller R025 – The roller has been reduced to its component parts so that work can proceed on several sub-assemblies at once.  The rolls and final drive are being worked on at the moment to remove the wear caused by many years of work. Presently we are talking to contractors regarding the rebuilding of the radiator.  Paul Jarman has been busy researching its history and has traced its roots. It is one of 20 petrol motor rollers ordered by the “Air Ministry”.  Despatched 13/2/ 1925, “R025″ was delivered to Leuchars, Fife. The original engine (still fitted) was an Albion 4cyl with works numbers 2016. This batch (R011 to R030) was recorded as being painted in “R.A.F. Blue”.  It has a later type frame than the earlier D4 model.  The type was very popular for grass work being used by horse racing course owners. Newmarket, Hull and Newbury were early owners before the D4 model was adopted as an airfield roller by the War Office from March 1914.

Avon Power Saw – Work has slowed due to other more pressing jobs but it is still continuing with a new cylinder head gasket being manufactured. 

Mills & Fulford Sidecar - The body is almost complete with the wooden frame and panelling replaced as necessary to restore structural integrity.  The beading will soon be added and painting started.    The chassis is also progressing with much re-bushing of fittings and the production of a new mudguard. 

Halls Distemper Men – These are now complete and may well have returned to their rightful place by the time you read this report.

Upholstery – Our volunteer upholsterer has been very busy with several commissions, the biggest being new seats for the replica B Type bus.  His attention will soon turn to the interior of the Mills and Fulford sidecar. 

Wheel Barrows and other woodwork – The Joinery team have been busy producing these useful items, but we are presently looking for suitable solid wheels.  It may be necessary to cast some new ones using a good example as a pattern.  The team also helped fit up the sandwich boards used by the Suffragettes.  We are also making up extra fencing for the gallopers.

SOS Bus – Minor adjustments have enabled us to start the bus more readily on the handle, which is just as well as it has been busy joining in the Go Ahead Group Family Fun Day, hosting a visit by the North East Bus Preservation Trust which have been very supportive during the years of restoration and it has also been the subject of a sound recording.

RAC Box – This rebuild has started recently and will provide an accompaniment for the AA box (other Motoring Organisations are available).

Cycle Maintenance – The Co-op delivery bicycle has been repaired and put back on display.  It now has a replacement saddle and only needs the wicker basket replacing when it is returned from refurbishment.
The Tradesman’s Tricycle is also complete now having had its tyres replaced and the broken pedal repaired.

Events – We have been busy off and on site.  In June we helped with the on-site stewarding of the Beamish Safety and Reliability Trial and managed to win a trophy and an award for the best period dress in the Run itself.  We have taken part in the Emily Davison centenary processions, attended a charity event in Beamish Village, cycled at the Sky Ride event on Newcastle Quayside and supported the Ashes celebrations in Chester le Street.  By the time you read this we will have been heavily involved in the Agricultural Power from the Past Event.

Future Projects – We have a Lister D stationary engine in hand and the NER brake van and the Horse Tram restorations will occupy the team in the near future.

Summer 2013

Avon Power Saw – Steady progress is being made with work continuing on the linkages which connect the engine to the saw.  Repainting has also commenced on the areas which have already received attention. 

Serpent Seats – If you have visited Rowley Station recently you will, I hope, have noticed the refurbished seating which graces the platform.  There are examples with the “tree branch” style cast legs and more noticeably there are two Serpent Seats.  Have you spotted that these are of two different types?  There are “Serpents” with a diamond shaped pattern and “Sea Serpents” with scales.  The Sea Serpents would originally have had pointed tails the same as the Serpent bench but at some time in their life these have been broken off possibly to allow the bench to fit closer to a wall.  Judi Owens has spent considerable time picking out the patterns using a small paint brush.  The Friends’ workshop team have replaced the seat backs and bases in hardwood so they should last for a long time requiring only a coat of paint and re-varnish as required.  

Mills & Fulford Sidecar - The wooden body is off site at the moment being worked on by one of our volunteers.  The body has needed more work than we originally hoped. Unfortunately, the original floor had given way taking much of the lower part of the plywood sides with it.  After much soul searching we decided to replace rather than repair to ensure the finished sidecar will be fully useable in the future. 

Barford & Perkins Roller – Dismantling has started on this long term project.  The broken steering shaft casting is now removed ready for welding.  The actual shaft is being straightened and Paul Jarman has been working through layers of paint to confirm the original colours preliminary findings suggest the finished result will be vivid!   

Halls Distemper Men – The main woodwork is now complete and the team are marking out the design ready for painting. 

Upholstery – Our volunteer upholsterer is busy with several commissions at the moment the biggest being new seats for the replica B Type bus. 

Wheel Barrows - Over the years the Friends’ workshop team have produced and repaired many wheel barrows for use on site.  These are traditional pattern with iron wheels and have proved so successful that we have been asked to produce another batch.

Pockerley Water Pump - The pump had stopped working at the end of last season and on inspection was found to have a broken linkage.  This was repaired and the rest of the pump cleaned and serviced ready for the Easter weekend.

Cycle Maintenance – The Tradesman’s tricycle and Coop delivery bicycle are undergoing work to allow continued display in the Town. 

Events – Friends have been heavily involved with the Great North Festival of Transport, the opening of the Hetton Band Hall and Museums at Night.  Thanks to the hard work of all involved these events have been more spectacular and successful than ever.  These events provide a great shop window for the Friends encouraging more people to join us.   

Street Organ – Don’t forget to say hello to our hard working organist Arthur Staddon when you see him on site.  His commitment to entertaining the Museum’ visitors and raising funds is second to none and he deserves our thanks for a job well done.    

Spring 2013

Keeping up momentum is proving quite difficult at the moment due to the rearrangement of workshop facilities and the recent very wintry weather which caused even our hardy bunch of workshop volunteers to stay at home over a couple of Saturdays. 
As we continue to move our equipment and supplies out of our existing workshop area, soon to become the Machine Shop for the Regional Heritage Engineering Centre, we have inevitably slowed down the process of taking on new jobs.  This is not to say that there aren’t jobs identified for us to tackle or that work has stopped altogether.  Indeed several jobs have reached conclusion since I last penned a Projects’ Report and I am sure the patience and flexibility of the team will see us through this transition.   

Hen & Chickens Pentacycle – This replica machine has had a thorough overhaul removing the wear previously found in the bearings and linkages which abound on this cycle.  The result of all this work has been a transformation in the ride-ability of the Pentacycle, which is excellent news as it is a very popular sight with the Museum visitors.  The design proved just right for a special mission when Beamish was asked by Durham County Council to help at the switching on ceremony for Chester le Street Christmas lights.   The baskets of the Pentacycle were filled with presents and, suitably garlanded for the occasion, it provided the man in the red suit with an alternative to his usual sleigh and reindeers.

Santa on Pentacycle

Hermaphrodite Sleigh - This is an object which the Friends’ team worked on some time ago.  The hermaphrodite sleigh, so named because originally it could be used with wheels on hard ground and converted for use on snow sitting on a set of runners, was given some conservation work several years ago.  At the same time a frame with a set of small wheels was made which attaches to the runners to make use on dry land possible.  The original wheels were not with the sleigh when it came to the museum collection and possibly explains its survival in to preservation.  The seasonal weather of recent weeks enabled the Rural Life time to give the sleigh a limited work out on the snow and it looked very fine indeed.   

Hermaphrodite Sleigh


Horse Drawn Harrows – Having completed the woodwork, the team has been working on the remaining metalwork needed to complete this project which will soon grace the Georgian landscape around Pockerley.  We are all keen to see how this will work in the deep soils of this fertile valley as the harrows don’t appear to have means of limiting the depth.  They are not fitted with a depth wheel and may have been used on stony land where the penetration was physically limited by the terrain.  It will make for interesting trials!

Men Down – No you haven’t entered the American military world, the men in this case are the two wooden characters normally to be found on the side of the railway cutting between Rowley Station and the Town.   The Hall’s Distemper sign unfortunately succumbed to the high winds just after Christmas.  The sign was a reproduction and the team is working on a replacement.  We hope the men will be back with their board and paint in the near future.

Dene and Sidecar – The Mills and Fulford sidecar rebuild is progressing steadily with much woodwork taking place at the moment to renew the rotten areas of the bodywork before painting and upholstery take place.  The Sidecar is fitted with an Eastings screen and I thought these two illustrations might be of interest.  They are both from “The Motor Cycle” magazine September 1924.  One shows an advert for Eastings’ Screens and the other a Mills and Fulford sidecar with two gentlemen in a potentially expensive discussion with an officer of the law.  They may have been asking directions!

Eastings ScreenMills and Fulford sidecar

Estates Work – We are carrying out some coppicing and clearing work in the wooded areas alongside the tramway between the Visitor Centre and Foulbridge, so please say hello to him as you pass.  Who knows, he might even persuade you to join him in this activity which was once such an important part of the rural economy.

Maintenance – This round the year activity continues and sometimes we engage in an age old hobby as seen here where three people offer advice and encouragement to the one working member of the team!

Motorcycle Maintenance


Restoration Archive Pages.



photograph: Set Pots.

Photograph: A job well done. Using a stencil to paint the name and logo on a set pot.
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.

Select a Project.

Why are Online Project Reports So Valuable?

All reports used here may have been printed in previous versions of the Friends' Newsletter. Taking advantage of the Internet it is hoped to add value to these by enabling us to:

  • Compile a simple chronologically record of work online for each project.

  • Add historical notes and Internet links.

  • Create feedback of valuable information and comments about specific projects from visitors to the website.

This is a wonderful way of showing the full extent of the restoration work carried out by the Friends at the Museum. This should be of interest to many of our visitors whether members of not.

The Friends have many restoration projects in hand and are always looking for volunteers who come from all walks of life and experience. Traditional techniques are encouraged in all the work and volunteers benefit by getting away from the stress of modern day life and enjoying the spirit and fellowship of the skilled craftsmen of the past.

End of page.


Text Equivalent of the Photograph on This Page.

Screen Reader version for people who cannot see the image for what ever reason.

Photograph: Painting the Set Pots.

The photograph shows a man sat of the floor of a workshop. He is wearing blue overalls and a large light brown cap that hides his face as he looks downwards. There are three large set pots on the floor which has brown wooden floorboards. A 'set pot' or 'copper' is a hemispheric steel bowl about two to three feet across, which would be set into a concrete bench with a small fireplace underneath. Once upon a time most households would have one in the scullery or washhouse for heating water and to boil the sheets in the weekly wash.

The man is painting onto one of the set pots using a yellow stencil. Another set pot lies at the forefront of the picture. There are indistinguishable words and a logo painted in white on this set pot. A third lies partly hidden behind the man on the right. The background is of an old workshop with many shapes of machines and pieces of timber without much detail. TEXT.

Main Text Block


Join the Friends.

More than just free visits when the Museum is open. See the extra benefits to you and your family. Printable application form available.

Join NOW!

Become a Friend of Beamish. No matter where you live. You don't have to live locally to join The Friends.

Lend a Hand, Learn a Skill.

If you are interested in volunteering at Beamish.
Lend a hand.

Site Navigation:

World Copyright © 2004-2020 Friends of Beamish All Rights Reserved.