Jen Allan Photography

Colliery Village

The colliery Village at Beamish is built around a re-creation of a typical pit as it would have been in the early 1900s.


A row of pit cottages, an engine shed, a tall stone engine house, together with a Board School and a Methodist chapel have been carefully dismantled and rebuilt. All have been saved from various parts of the North East.

The pit cottages from Hetton-le-Hole were built in the 1860s for pitmen and their families. Houses and coal were provided free of charge in exchange for labour.


The backyards incorporated 'netties' or earth closets, which were emptied weekly by nightsoil men. A standpipe, one for every six houses, provided water which had to be fetched for each house by bucket.


Number 1 is the colliery office where the pitmen would collect their fortnightly wages. Number 2 is occupied by a strict Methodist, strongly teetotal, and next door at number 3 lives a Roman Catholic family. Number 4 is altogether sparser, occupied by a miner's widow and her sons, the breadwinners of the family.


I have a selection of cottage interior/exterior images, but do not have a record of which ones they are - I feel another visit coming on next year!


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Beamish Board School once stood in nearby West Stanley. It was first opened in 1891, and when it was closed nearly a century later three classrooms were rebuilt at Beamish.


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Pit Hill Methodist Chapel was built in 1854 to serve the local mining community.


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In the Colliery Yard is the entrance to the Mahogany Drift Mine, first opened in the 1850s and worked intermittently during the 19th century. Unfortunately I only have a couple of images from a distance - another reason to go back next year! There is so much to see  - it is a place where you could spend a week before you saw all it has to offer.


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