Construction has started on the 1950s cinema, toy and electrical shops as part of the Remaking Beamish project, the biggest development in the museum's history. Working alongside SPACE on this project, North East firm, Brims Construction, have made progress on-site. This comes as work nears completion on the 1950s semi-detached houses, police houses and office, bowling pavilion and green, and aged miners' homes, which are due to open this summer.
The museum is recreating the Grand Cinema from Ryhope in Sunderland. Donated by Angela and Gary Hepple, the cinema will incorporate as many elements and features as possible from the original building. The cinema will showcase short and feature-length films, providing visitors with a unique 1950s cinematic experience.
Rhiannon Hiles, Beamish's Chief Executive, said: "We're very excited to be starting work on The Grand Cinema, Romer Parrish toy shop and A Reece Ltd electrical shop and workshop in our wonderful 1950s Town. We can't wait to welcome visitors to experience a trip to the cinema and discover popular toys and the latest in 1950s technology in the shops."
"Our Remaking Beamish exhibits that have already opened are proving very popular with visitors. There is so much to look forward to at the museum, with the completion of our 1950s Town and work on the expansion of our Georgian area, including self-catering cottages and a tavern, which will be starting soon. This is a very exciting time for the museum, and we are extremely grateful to our visitors, staff, volunteers, funders and partners for their support."
Among those who visited Beamish to see work getting underway was Bill Mather, who was born in Ryhope and was a trainee projectionist at The Grand cinema between 1950 and 1955. He said: "I'm really looking forward to the cinema being completed. You're going to have thousands of people who have never seen a cinema of the 50s, who are going to be coming just to see what it's like. They're going to feel as if they are in magic land in my opinion."