Could your home become part of history?

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MANY of us make jokes about having had something so long ‘it belongs in Beamish’.

 But your whole house?

It’s not a joke. Next month staff from the museum will be in South Tyneside, asking people to nominate their homes for replication at the award-winning North East attraction.

As part of the opening celebrations of the planned new 1950s town, you’ll even get the chance to enjoy a short stay in the completed copy at the museum.

Richard Evans, Beamish’s Director, said: “We’re extremely excited to be offering people this unique chance for their home to become part of history.

!Our 1950s town will tell the stories of the North East’s communities during an important decade of change. What better way to do this than by recreating the real homes of real people, to be shared with more than half-a-million visitors a year?”

Help is being sought to decide which style of semi-detached house should be re-created.

Anyone who lived – or still lives – in a semi, built between 1950 and 1959 and originally constructed as social housing (even if it hasn’t remained as such), can put their home forward.

Neighbours are being encouraged to nominate their homes together.

The house which will be included in the final plan is set to be picked by public vote between March 27 and 30.

Geraldine Straker, community engagement co-ordinator at the museum, said: “We would like as many nominations as possible from across the North East. It’ll be so exciting to see the final shortlist and which houses the public choose to be included in the project.”

Post-war Britain was a time of great change. The construction of new social housing estates in the 1950s was a big part of this change as town planners tried to build better homes for ordinary people.

If your house is chosen for inclusion in the project, Beamish would like to work with you to explore the history of your home and the impact of the 1950s within your community.

South Shields was, in some ways, a leader in post-war housing development. Housing officials visited from abroad to study the estate layouts and house designs that the old Corporation was adopting.

The Second World War had left the towns that now comprise South Tyneside with a legacy of old inadequate Victorian housing and families made homeless by bombing.

Municipal housing began in South Shields in 1921, with the laying out of the Cleadon Park estate.

The last estate completed before the war comprised more than 600 houses at what was known as Little Horsley Hill.

By the end of the 1940s, a further estate at Marsden had almost been completed. By the beginning of the 1950s, the Corporation was looking towards the east side of the borough for redevelopment, to what would become the new estate of Simonside.

It was an impressive achievement, From having no social housing at the end of the First World War, the town had gone to having more than 6,500 council houses within 30 years.

They were at the heart of a fundamental commitment to improving lives.

When the borough celebrated the centenary of its incorporation in 1950, it was able to note: “These modern estates make provision for shops, cinemas, hotels, recreation, health clinics, community centres, children’s playgrounds and allotments.

“The overall layout is a great improvement on pre-war planning, density being less, with deeper building lines and semi-detached premises. Small service roads have been introduced and, all told, great progress in living amenities achieved.”

Further estates, at Whiteleas, Biddick Hall and Brockley Whins would follow.

The new 1950s town at Beamish is part of a project to re-make the award-winning museum. Other plans include an upland farm, and a Georgian coaching inn.

The museum has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £10.75m grant.

The 1950s town is set to include, in addition to houses, a parade of shops, a police house, a cafe, cinema and recreation area. Aged miners’ homes will be a centre for people living with dementia and their families and carers.

A 1950s trolley bus system and restored buses will transport visitors.

*If you’d like to nominate a 1950s semi, complete the online form at www.beamish.org.uk. Alternatively, you can send the museum a one-minute video clip, via a YouTube or Facebook link, explaining why you would like your house to be replicated. Closing date for entries is 9am on March 5.

Beamish staff will also be visiting communities across the North East between January and March to share information about the project and encourage people to make nominations. Venues include:

l South Tyneside – King Street, South Shields, Saturday, February 14.

l Sunderland – Bridges shopping centre, Saturday, January 24.

l North Tyneside – Tynemouth Market, Sunday, February 22.