Beamish Museum will host an equine extravaganza to celebrate all things horses

Visitors are being encouraged to trot along to Beamish Museum at the weekend for a Horses of Work event.

By Sue Kirby
Wednesday, 24 April, 2019, 15:48
Beamish Museum will be dedicating the weekend to horses.

The museum will be hosting the event at the weekend where 50 horses will be in action around the museum, including pit ponies, elegant carriage horses and heavy horses, ranging from Irish Draughts and Friesians to Shires and Clydesdales.

There will be a parade each day, as well as opportunities to take a trip on a variety of horse-drawn vehicles, including two late 1800s London omnibuses, watch displays, meet the pit ponies and take part in fun, family activities.

A number of horse-drawn carriages will be seen at the open air museum.

Paul Foster, Historic Events Officer at Beamish, said: “Horses at Work will bring together a unique line-up. We’re looking forward to a really exciting weekend, with lots to see and do."

This year, Horses at Work takes on a homecoming theme, showing the country returning to peacetime after the end of the First World War.

During the event, there’ll be the chance to see the Durham Pals returning home at Rowley Station with a celebratory homecoming parade.

Led by the Borneo Band and including an Armstrong Whitworth replica car, soldiers and several horse-drawn vehicles, the parade will travel from Rowley Station to The 1900s Town at 1pm each day.

Traditional ploughing of the fields.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Visitors will be able to find out about the North East War Memorials project, visit the 16th Lancers Cavalry Unit, see a pit pony demonstrating how tubs of coal were hauled, find out about the work of the Brooke charity, set up to help ex-war horses and still active today, meet the pack horse and watch teams of horses carrying out field work and cultivation of the land.

Chris Thompson, Keeper of Animals and Land Engagement at Beamish, said: “During the First World War, horses helped keep the country going on the Home Front, as demonstrated during our Horses at War 2018 event.

"When the war ended, men needed to slot back into society, and horses had to do the same, this is the story we’ll be telling this year during Horses at Work.

"In the band hall, the Brooke charity, which was founded at the end of the war, will be telling the story of rescued cavalry horses and other military equines.

Horses at Work will have a homecoming theme - marking the end of the Second World War.

"The pit pony demonstrations will show the changing role of women as men returned from the war and back into their former jobs, which had been covered by women.

“Visitors will also be able to take a ride on period horse-drawn transport, watch fascinating displays and see what towns and cities looked like when most of the movement of goods and people was done by horses.”

Horses at Work, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, is part of the Great North Festival of Transport, which also included the Great North Steam Fair earlier this month.