The Georgians' marvelous medicines explored as Beamish looks at the weird and wonderful remedies of the past

A History of Health at Beamish
A History of Health at Beamish

From the herbal remedies of old to how babies were cared for in the 1950s, Beamish is exploring medical care of the past in a special health-themed week for half term.

The dangers of being ill through the ages, the Georgian's marvelous medicines and war time first aid training are all featured in 'A History of Health', which runs from Saturday October 20 to Sunday October 28.

A History of Health at Beamish

A History of Health at Beamish

Visitors can take a trip to the 1820s Landscape to discover the perils of Georgian medicine.

Marvel at the pills and potions on offer in the chemist’s, and don’t forget to take a trip to the dentist’s to find out about the dangers of Edwardian dentistry, you can even try your hand at making tooth powders.

The museum's newest exhibit, Joe the Quilter’s cottage, will look at which medicines would have been available to him, and visitors can learn about different herbs and remedies at Pockerley Old Hall.

Discover the story of baby clinics and infant welfare in No. 6 Ravensworth Terrace in The 1900s Town.

A History of Health at Beamish

A History of Health at Beamish

Have a go at tying a terry towelling nappy, guess the weight of the baby and find out whether sugar really did help the medicine go down in our 1950s clinic - which is open every day from Sunday, 21.

Natasha Anson, Remaking Beamish project officer for community participation, said: “We’re really excited to be celebrating the history of health over October half term, especially as this year is such an important anniversary for the NHS.

“Visitors can learn about treatments through time across our period areas, from the Quack Doctor up at Pockerley and tooth powders in The 1900s Town, to the birth of the NHS and the importance of infant welfare in our 1950s baby clinic.

“We’re also celebrating the important work the NHS does today with community groups in our Bank Board Room, and our Health and Wellbeing Team at The 1940s Farm. It’s sure to be fun for all the family.”

Visitors can also see the work being done by community groups to highlight different health issues facing us today. Find out about NHS70, a Heritage Lottery Funded project, and share your memories of the NHS.

Discover wartime first aid training at The 1940s Farm, have a go at wound dressing and learn about traditional life-saving techniques. Visit the field nursing station and discover if you have what it takes to work on a Second World War battlefield (taking place every day bar the Saturdays).

Learn about our health and wellbeing work in the Land Girls’ cottage, looking at links with the NHS and the museum’s current work with people living with dementia from Monday to Friday.

On Monday visitors can learn how to play whist in Hetton Band Hall in The 1900s Pit Village and enjoy a competitive game at 1.30pm – there’ll be prizes up for grabs! Meet the unofficial midwife in No. 4 Francis Street, hear about her role before the Midwives Act was introduced in 1902.

At The 1940s Farm you can also hear about the new Herbert Protocol, a national scheme encouraging carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

Don’t forget to visit the Open Stores at the Regional Resource Centre to view a fascinating new display of medical objects!

As part of October Half Term activities, Beamish is also hosting a Home Movie Day on Saturday, 20th October.

Home movies

The museum is teaming up with the North East Film Archive to show fascinating amateur film footage from around our region, as part of the Home Movie Day worldwide celebration.

The North East Film Archive preserves and looks after a vast treasure trove of films, celebrating the past 100 years of the region’s history.

Beamish visitors will be able to see amateur footage from the 1950s, including films such as Downstream Through Durham, in the 1950s front room in The Town’s Ravensworth Terrace (No.6). There will also be the chance to share memories from the decade.

Beamish is building a 1950s Town and 1950s Farm as part of the £18million Remaking Beamish project, which includes a cinema that will be moved from Sunderland. Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players, the project has been awarded £10.9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The North East Film Archive has launched its Search & Rescue campaign, asking people to dig out forgotten film and videotape that records life in the region and to deposit them with the archive so they can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The campaign is part of the North East on Film project, also supported by the HLF, which aims to find, preserve, digitise and share the region’s moving image heritage.

Visitors to Beamish during Home Movie Day will be able to find out more about the Remaking Beamish and Search & Rescue projects.

Donations of films cannot be made during this day however you will be able to find out more about the projects at the event.

A History of Health and Home Movie Day are included in admission to Beamish and are free for Unlimited Pass holders and Friends of Beamish members.