As construction begins on four replicas of houses once lived in by aged miners’ at Beamish museum, dedication stones have been unveiled in the building walls.

Due to be complete in 2023, the four replica homes are hoped to provide a space for people living with dementia and other long-term health conditions. Aged miners’ homes were some of the earliest forms of social housing to help elderly members of mining communities.

The replication of the bungalows from Marsden Road, in South Shields, are being built in the museum’s 1950s Town, as part of its £10.9m Remaking Beamish project.

The museum is working with the owners of the original houses, Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA), and residents and community groups to gather stories and memories of 1950s life.

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The dedication stones were unveiled by aged miners’ home residents and representatives of DAMHA, Durham Miners’ Association and South Tyneside Council.

Two of the four aged miners’ homes will show visitors what life was like for retired miners in the 1950s.

The other half of the terrace will provide a space for the work of Beamish’s Health and Wellbeing Team.

The team runs a range of groups and sessions, including for people living with dementia, those experiencing mental health issues, social isolation or long-term health issues.

Activities run by the team include men’s groups, dementia-friendly music sessions, walking groups and creative sessions inspired by the museum’s collections.

Michelle Kindleysides, Beamish’s Head of Health and Wellbeing, said: “The aged miners’ homes will mean we can support more people and do so many more activities, with more groups and people with a wider range of health needs.

“It’s fantastic to be unveiling the dedication stones for the aged miners’ homes. I feel privileged to be part of this – a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting the project.”

People who take part in Beamish’s Health and Wellbeing Team activities, currently based at Orchard Cottage at The 1940s Farm, have been helping to develop how the homes will look.

Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of DAMHA, said: “The laying of the dedication stones marks a major milestone and we are now all looking forward to visiting the homes with our residents when they are complete.”

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Images: Unveiling of dedication stones at Beamish Museum’s aged miners’ homes, which are being built as part of The 1950s Town