Live updates


Artist Norman Cornish’s studio donated to Beamish

Beamish has received the art collection of the last surviving painter from the Spennymoor Settlement, which became known as the “Pitman’s Academy”.

Norman Cornish, a painter who spent three decades working in the mines, died, aged 94, in August 2014. The studio from his Spennymoor home was donated to Beamish just months before his death and includes dozens of unfinished works, as well as his chair, easels, paint pots, brushes and other objects.

Some of the objects, including replicas of his unfinished work, are now on display in the Open Stores in the Museum’s Regional Resource Centre.

We are lucky enough to have been working with Norman’s family over the past year. This has given us a unique perspective into Norman’s life and we are extremely grateful that his family has so kindly donated such wonderful pieces of history to Beamish.

Norman captured everyday life in the North East, from men working in the pits to women gossiping in the back lanes, which we hope to share with people through our own 1950s developments in the future.

We want to tell the fascinating story of how men, such as Norman, and women joined organisations like the Spennymoor Settlement, the Ashington Group and others to represent their lives through media such as painting and writing.

– Kate Reeder, Head of Social History and Collections Management at Beamish


Peterlee artist's portrait of Nelson displayed in Hartlepool

Dr McDonald presents the portrait of Lord Nelson to Emma Dowson at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience

An artist from Peterlee has painted a portrait of navel hero Admiral Lord Nelson. The painting, by Dr Michael McDonald is on display at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

The 40 inch x 30 inch canvas portrays Nelson in his full uniform against the background of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Lumiere cost shops thousands of pounds

Shops and bars on Elvet Bridge in Durham said Lumiere cost them thousands of pounds in trade, despite attracting 175,000 people to the city over four days.

The light festival included a giant 3D elephant projected over the River Wear. However, while it was installed and taken down, roads were closed and shoppers diverted away from the area.

The Oxfam bookshop and boutique were two shops affected. Their manager, Michael Ridsdale, said the two shops lost £2,500 in one week before the light festival had even begun.

Load more updates