Horses, homecoming and hours of fun to be had… trot along to Beamish, The Living Museum of the North for the fantastic Horses at Work event, on 27th and 28th April.
An amazing 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 brilliant 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.
Paul Foster, Historic Events Officer at Beamish, said: “Horses at Work will bring together a unique line-up of 50 horses and horse-drawn vehicles, including two Victorian omnibuses. 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. A speech will be given outside the Masonic Hall to welcome the troops home.
Visitors will be able to find out about the North East War Memorials project in The 1900s Town’s Bank Board Room on Sunday.
In The 1900s Pit Village, visit the 16th Lancers Cavalry Unit, and see a pit pony demonstrating how tubs of coal were hauled, plus other harnessed ponies, outside the pit pony stables.
In Hetton Silver Band Hall, find out about the work of the Brooke charity, set up in 1930 by Dorothy Brooke to help ex-war horses, and still today dedicated to the welfare of working horses and donkeys.
Meet the pack horse at 1820s Pockerley Old Hall, and watch teams of horses carrying out field work and cultivation of the land in the fields beneath Pockerley.
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. 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 is part of the Great North Festival of Transport, which also included the Great North Steam Fair (11th to 14th April).
Horses at Work is included in admission to Beamish and is free for Unlimited Pass holders and Friends of Beamish members. A Beamish Unlimited Pass allows visitors to pay once and come back free for a year.
Beamish Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. For more information, including events, visit www.beamish.org.uk.