Beamish Open Air Museum

1128 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2018

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Product country

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

The two original farm workers cottages are across the road from the Home Farm. These would originally have been tied cottages housing farm workers and their families. As part of the 1940s farm, Garden Cottage is used to billet members of the Women’s Land Army. Orchard Cottage next to it would have housed a family of evacuees.

The two cottages date from the C19th and have slate roofs. Next to Garden Cottage is a small allotment growing vegetables and the front garden of Orchard Cottage is also used for vegetables. This was part of the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign when every available plot of land was used to provide food.

The cottages are similar in design with a large front room and small back scullery reached down a short flight of steps. The bedrooms were accessed a flight of stairs through a door off the main living room.

Garden Cottage is more basically furnished and still has its cast iron open range providing heat, hot water and for cooking, along with the original stone slab floor. Chairs are arranged round the range and there is a small side boards and table set against the wall.

The back kitchen or scullery is reached down a short flight of steps, and has a door leading to the outside. It still has a large corner boiler for washing clothes. The water was heated by a small coal fire underneath. Against the wall is a kitchen cupboard. There is also a basic bathroom.

The single bedroom, tucked away beneath the eaves, is very basically furnished with two single beds, wardrobes, dressing table and chest of drawers. This reflects the few possessions Land Girls were able to take with them.

Orchard Cottage is much better furnished, and more modern, boasting an enamel range rather than the cast iron range found next door. This still has an open coal fire. The stone slab floor is covered with linoleum and there is a display cabinet and piano. The back kitchen has a coke stove to supply hot water as well as a large sink.
In the orchard next to Orchard Cottage is an Anderson shelter, which has vegetables growing over the roof.

During the war, commercial pig production fell because land was needed to grow crops, but there was a big increase in pig clubs, where several families would get together to feed and raise an animal. In the field opposite the cottages is a very large sow, who would have been fed on household scraps.

This is one of a series of “reviews”: I have written about Beamish

A full account with all my pictures can be read “here.”:


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