T&I News 13 2020

T&I News 13 2020

This is the twentieth post since we closed in March, so I thougth I would start with thanking everyone who contributed to the blog during the closure period and helped to ensure that what (I think!) is a popular site within Beamish’s social media portfolio, could be maintained, even broadened in its content.

This Thursday the first visitors at Beamish, post-lockdown, and so a great deal of work and preparation has been underway in advance of this. In terms of transport, we are not, at present, able to operate any of the transport on site, but plans are being developed for the day we are able to do so.

Transport and retail at Beamish

Matthew and Alison, who are developing our online retail offer have shared the link below, which may be of interest to readers – please remember each purchase does support the museum! This is an initial range and there are plenty of ideas to add further products (and a few more books) to the range in the future…


Around the site…

In preparation for reopening, extensive work has been carried out around the museum to prepare it and ready it for a COVID-19 Secure future. Many counters, where transactions are processed, food served or prolonged encoutners between staff and visitors take place have been fitted with glass screens. These bespoke, toughened glass, installation should provide durable and fairly discreet physical barriers and have been specified to include timber bases and brass or polished fittings where appropriate.

The screen, fitted to the kitchen counter of the Welfare Hall, which is an additional catering location within the museum now. Note the apertures for passign food and card machines through. The glass is highly polished and should be a more durable alternative to Perspec or other plastic options.
The screen on the long counter within the chip shop. All of the retail areas plus admisisons have similar installations, and there are also tall mobile screens for positioning between staff members where the desired minimum distance (we are still working to two metres) cannot readily be attained.
The small maintenance team who have returned from furlough have been busy installing hand sanitisers and posters (above and below) across the site and we now have upwards of 50 sanitisers installed, in additon to an almost full compliment of toilet washing facilities as well. We were keen to ensure that we had as many toilets open as possible, to assist visitors who have both travelled to the musuem from any distance and those remaining on site for a length of time.
The Welfare Hall – the sanitisers aren’t pretty and I have some thoughts about their use in the future (see further down this post). However, they are conspicuous and able to both dispense and reassure visitors as to the COVID-19 Secure arrangements that we have in place.
We have managed to open the bus depot for display – not quite sure on the arrangemetns for the weekend but it is likely we will find someone to open and close it each day! Some of the vehicles have been exercised on site, whilst the Wheelchair Accessible Vehcile is still in the workshop where the overhaul that was underway at lockdown on March 20th is now being completed and the lift LOLER tested.
A glimpse inside the depot reminds us how the building (and tram depot) were used as stores for everything on wheels from late March to mid July!
The weather recentyly has accelerated the weed growth around the site, and the returning members of the gardens team have worked miracles in preparing the site for reopening. The railway areas are less of a priority at the moment, and the weeds are enjoying the freedom (and sunshine + showers) to establish themsleves. The photographs of Rowley (above and below) show the challenge we face in this regard – just four months closure and a wet/warm summer so far give the impression of a disused railway that has been out of action for years, rather than just a few months.
I mentioned an idea for discusing the hand sanitisers in the future, once their use is well established and visitors are comfortable finding them and applying the foam or gel. This is the well at Pockerley Old Hall, and I have in mind something similar, with the spout replaced by an aperture for the dispenser. And maybe not the handle. However, something like this, in order to make the sanitisers more period area friendly across the site…

Crosville 716

Down in Spennymoor, the work on the WAV Crosville 716 continues, with some parts being supplied from Beamish and others now sub-contracted. This has included the lift itself, which is now in the process of being fitted. This view was taken to show the installation of the bell – a close up view appearing below. The Brush transfer challenge has now been resolved with this being designed by a modelmaker who creates custom transfers for model railways and some of the cottage manufacturers.
The new alternator linkage, now fitted (there will be quite a bit of demand to operate the lift so this is an upgrade to ensure the bus is able to match demand electrically).
meanwhile, the existign WAV is in the workshop, where it was when lockdown arrived. It has had extensive repairs to the steel framing of the bodywork, new panelling internally and a host of other work – all of which is now being completed and the paint applied (see below).
We have a plan for making the bus COVID-19 Secure, which will greatly reduce the capacity but in time will enable a ring and ride accessible bus service to operate again – an importaont consideration given the distance between exhibits and the Entrance building.