Beamish The Living Museum of the North

The ‘Remaking Beamish’ project has seen the opening of its first attraction, Joe the Quilter’s cottage, at Beamish, The Living Museum of the North in County Durham, ready for school visits.

The cottage, the first building in the museum’s £18 million project, is a recreation of the ‘lost’ home of renowned Georgian quilter Joseph Hedley, who was murdered in 1826.

What can schools see at the cottage?

The cottage features stones from Joe’s original home, after the remains of the building in Warden, near Hexham, Northumberland, were uncovered during an archaeological dig by Beamish staff and community members. These will include the flagstones where Joe stood 200 years ago.

The exhibit will tell the story of quilting and the growth of cottage industries in the early 1800s.

A drawing on a postcard that was produced after Joe’s murder gave valuable details about how his home, which was later demolished in 1872, looked. A crack in the front wall of the original cottage, clearly visible in the 1820s drawing, has even been reproduced.

The Remaking Beamish project is said to be the biggest development in the museum’s 48-year history and will also include a 1950s Town, 1950s Farm and Georgian coaching inn, where visitors can stay overnight. The project is expected to be complete in 2021.

School visits to Beamish 

Students visiting Beamish can take a tram ride through the town to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of 1820s Pockerley, The 1900s Town, The 1900s Pit Village and The 1940s Farm.

Students can expect to meet many costumed guides who will explain the goings on around the town.

A range of workshops and activities are available for school groups, from Key Stage 1 to 4 from Childhood Through Time, to Georgian Medicine, to Photography in the Town.

For more information, visit