Let's go retro with Beamish's celebration of the 1950s

Vintage vehicles were on show at last year's Festival of the 50s.
Vintage vehicles were on show at last year's Festival of the 50s.

Four days of fabulous food, fashion, hair dos and parade floats is lined up as one of the region's top attractions celebrates the 1950s.

Beamish’s Festival of 50s will run from Thursday to Sunday, with live music, costumes to try on and delicious 50s-inspired food and drink to enjoy.

Hoola hooping was among the activities put on by Beamish at last summer's celebrations.

Hoola hooping was among the activities put on by Beamish at last summer's celebrations.

The museum will soon start work on building a 1950s town as part of the £18million Remaking Beamish project, which has been awarded £10.9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Geraldine Straker, who is helping to lead the project through community participation, said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s Festival of 50s, which looks at change and development in different areas across the decade.

“We’ll be highlighting the changes that occurred in fashion, technology, food, health and welfare, whilst enjoying live music and dancing, getting dressed up and just having a great day out.

“The HLF grant marks an incredibly exciting time in Beamish’s history and the Festival of 50s is a great opportunity to look forward to the Remaking Beamish project.”

Visitors can learn some moves at a tea dance.

Visitors can learn some moves at a tea dance.

On all four days of the festival, visitors will be able to dance along to band Hop, Skiffle and Jump and see the change in fashion, looking at everyday dress and design throughout the decade.

There’ll be a toy shop, bowls - sponsored by Co-operative Funeral Care - a telephone exchange and visitors can mark the 1953 Coronation by helping to decorate a float.

Durham Amateur Football Trust will take along some fantastic football memorabilia and talking to visitors about amateur football.

A team will then be crowned Beamish Champions 2017 in the football tournament on Sunday.

Live music will be performed for guests.

Live music will be performed for guests.

There will also be the chance to spend time in a typical police station office with the North East Police History Society.

Visitors can sample the delights of macaroni cheese, oxtail soup and crisps, and milkshakes.

It will also open an NHS baby clinic so people can find out about the important introduction of NHS immunisations during the 50s for conditions such as TB and polio.

Guests can find out where young men were posted during National Service, learn about their different roles and what was happening internationally.

News stories and articles about memorable occasions from the decade will be available to view and people can share any memories the decade.

The North East Film Archive will take viewers on a journey through time revealing the stunning North East coastline captured on film during the 1950s in the Masonic Hall in The Town.

On Thursday and Friday, people can enjoy the more traditional dances from the decade at a tea dance.

During the weekend, people can treat themselves to a fantastic hairdo - with a small charge to apply - and head along in your finery from the era and enter the Mr and Mrs Beamish

contest or the Master and Miss Beamish competition for under 16s.

There will also be live music from The Troubleshooters on Saturday, The Baldy Holly Band will perform on Sunday, and the Beamish Choir will be singing hits over the weekend.

Pop across to Wanda, a 50s caravan, to try on clothing from the times, with a chance to pick up your props for holiday photograph for a small charge.

The Festival of 50s is included in admission to Beamish and is free to Unlimited Pass holders, as with all daytime events.

Beamish is also hosting two cinema evenings as part of the event.

The museum is showing Peter Sellers’ first film, Penny Points to Paradise, on Friday, and the first Ealing comedy shot in colour, and The Titfield Thunderbolt on Saturday at the ticketed events held in the Masonic Hall in the town.

For more information visit www.beamish.org.uk for more information on cinema evenings and to buy tickets, subject to availability.

Tickets for the films cost £10 and include a bag of Beamish sweets and a bottle of aerated water from the chemist’s in The 1900s Town.

Beamish's plans to build a 1950s Town and upland farm, a Georgian coaching inn and other developments as part of the Remaking Beamish project.

The town is set to include houses, shops, police office and houses, cafe, cinema and recreation area.

Aged miners’ homes will be a centre for people living with dementia and their families and carers.

A trolleybus system and restored buses will transport visitors is also included in the scheme.