Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives

A view along the main entrance path at Woodhorn with the old colliery buildings in the background
baby changing facilities icon Food icon Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Wheelchair access icon

Woodhorn is a vibrant, exciting place to visit all year round with a great programme of activities and exhibitions for the whole family.

Inspired by monster coal cutting machines once used deep underground, the stunning Cutter building and original listed colliery structures house fascinating, hands-on exhibitions and displays. Take an emotional journey through Coal Town and discover a proud mining community; explore the colliery buildings and imagine what it would have been like to work underground; hum along to the brass band at the Miners’ Picnic, see the colourful banners and even design your own. Marvel at the original paintings of the Ashington Group – miners from the 1930s whose story has inspired remarkable play, Pitmen Painters, by Billy Elliot writer, Lee Hall.

Woodhorn is home to Northumberland’s public archive too.

Venue Type:

Museum, Industrial heritage site, Archive

Opening hours

Open: Wednesday through to Sunday (+ Mon & Tues in Northumberland School Hols)
October until March, 10am - 4pm
April until September 10 am until 5pm
(Archives Open 10am - 4pm Wed-Sat.)

Easter 2015: the museum will be open every day from Saturday 28th March - Sunday 19th April. Please note that Brick Planet will not be open Wednesday 25th - Tuesday 31st March but will reopen on Wednesday 1st April.

Admission charges

Free admission
All day parking £3.50

Getting there

Just off A189 Spine Road and C1 National/Coast and Castles Cycle Route east of Ashington.
Nearest public transport Ashington Bus Station - 15 minute walk

Additional info

Access: Most of the buildings at Woodhorn are accessible but as you might expect with the old listed colliery buildings, access to some is restricted. See our main website for a full access statement. Visitors are welcome to borrow one of three wheelchairs or a motorised scooter during their visit, and staff are happy to discuss any special requirements in advance of a visit.

Assistance dogs are welcome at Woodhorn, but family pets are not allowed in the fenced museum area. It would be best to leave your dog at home if possible as Woodhorn's car park does not offer any shade.

The Pitmen Painters were a group of mostly miners from Northumberland who founded the Ashington Art Group in the 1930s and who took as their subject everyday life in their mining community. Woodhorn museum holds the main Ashington Group collection of their work.

Collection details

Archives, Costume and Textiles, Fine Art, Industry, Natural Sciences, Science and Technology, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Pitmen Painters - Northumberland miners who founded the Ashington Art Group
  • Mining history
  • Oliver Kilbourn
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Norman Cornish

The Lost World of Norman Cornish

  • 2 May — 11 October 2015 *on now

Born in 1919, in Spennymoor, County Durham, Norman Stansfield Cornish was 65 when he was persuaded to write his autobiography. He called it 'A Slice of Life' and indeed it was just that although one could say that it was brought into being a little prematurely given that a further three decades of remarkable activity were to follow its publication.

In the prologue to 'A Slice of Life', he describes the Dean and Chapter Colliery where he was to work, as "lying at the foot of a huge pit-heap which reminds one of a volcano, not only because of how it looks, but also because its contents have been spewed out of the depths in similar fashion". Imaginative and poetic perceptions like this one are present throughout his paintings and drawings which, one might reasonably claim, are his true autobiography.

Reflecting on his work he wrote "I made drawings of pub workers in days past because l was fascinated by the men standing at the bar drinking and talking, or sitting playing dominoes. I was attracted by the wonderful shapes that they make in their varied attitudes. I also realised that life would change in some ways. The local collieries have gone, together with the pit road. Many of the old streets, chapels and pubs are no more. A large number of the ordinary but fascinating people who frequent these places are gone. However, in my memory, and l hope in my drawings, they live on. I simply close my eyes and they all spring to life"

A Northumbria University Gallery Touring Exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Parking charge of £3.50 applies

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/coming-soon...-the-lost-world-of-norman-cornish/

Woodhorn

Miners' Gear by Tom Newstead

  • 24 June — 6 September 2015 *on now

This unique collection of work is hand crafted from oak, silver birch and a railway sleeper from Avenue Pit in Seaton Delaval.

" I was born the first son of a coal miner from a fishing village called Seaton Sluice in Northumberland and left school at the age of fifteen to become an apprentice boat builder at Lambies. I worked with a tradesman who taught me his craft and who, to this day, I would describe as 'truly remarkable'. After concluding my apprenticeship, l joined the merchant navy for 11 years as an assistant carpenter. This enabled me to travel the world. This was an invaluable experience for me, in the exposition of my craft. Each new continent, land and city brought with it a new perspective within which l saw different art forms which l could later work with and manipulate into a style that l now uniquely stamp as my own."

This display can be found in the display case near the entrance to the Archives Searchroom.

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/miners-gear-by-tom-newstead/

The Share

The Share

  • 27 June — 11 October 2015 *on now

The Share- A portrait of Guide Post CIU and the cultural life of a community. The Share celebrates the community of Guide Post Social Club.

This new exhibition has been produced over the last year as club members have worked with two artists in residence, photographer Mik Critchlow and ceramicist Emilie Taylor, to create work together based on the people, history and heritage of this incredible venue.

'Guide Post Elvis making his entrance to The Club Lounge' 2014 credit: Mik Critchlow

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Parking Charge of £3.50 applies.

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/the-share/

Susan Stenger, detail from Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland, 2014

AV Festival presents: Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland

  • 27 June — 26 July 2015 *on now

Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland is a multi-channel sound installation based on a cross-section diagram of coastal geological formations from the River Tyne to the Scottish border, drawn by local mining engineer Nicholas Wood in 1838.

Using the diagram as a graphic score, Stenger transforms the geologic into the sonic in a 59-minute work that travels from the coal seams of Tyneside to the porphyritic rocks north of the Tweed, layering instrumental sounds, melodic patterns and signature rhythms from traditional Northumbrian music and dance.

Responding to history, culture and place names as well as the drawing’s structures, she combines surface detail of fiddle and Northumbrian pipe patterns with brass band harmonies, voice, Border and Highland pipes to create a unique portrait of place.

The exhibition is presented in the Workshop Gallery and features the 12.5-metre strata diagram that Wood drew to illustrate the location of coal measures on the Northumberland Coast. In addition, the exhibition also includes an archive display of Wood’s other geological work in relation to the coal measures of Northumberland.

A fully illustrated publication including an essay by nature writer Robert Macfarlane and a CD stereo mix of the installation is available from Woodhorn and online for the special exhibition price of £15 and £20 thereafter.

Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland was commissioned by AV Festival in 2014.
Throughout 2015 AV Festival is touring the work in Northumberland to Berwick-upon-Tweed, Woodhorn Museum and Holy Island. www.avfestival.co.uk

For more information about the tour and to join the AV Festival’s mailing list visit www.soundstrata.co.uk

Admission

Parking charge of £3.50 applies

Fish and Chips

The Ashington District Star

  • 24 October 2015 — 21 February 2016

Inspired by the Ashington Group Painters photographic artist Julian Germain has embarked on a two year collaboration with local people to produce a new newspaper; The Ashington District Star. The exhibition incorporates the original paintings and maps the editorial process involved in developing a new collection of created and collected photographs about contemporary Ashington and the surrounding area.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Discover more about Woodhorn

Family Colliery Tours

  • 4 — 5 July 2015
  • 11 — 12 July 2015
  • 18 — 19 July 2015
  • 25 — 26 July 2015
  • 1 — 2 August 2015
  • 8 — 9 August 2015
  • 15 — 16 August 2015
  • 22 — 23 August 2015
  • 29 — 30 August 2015
  • 5 — 6 September 2015
  • 12 — 13 September 2015
  • 19 — 20 September 2015
  • 26 — 27 September 2015
  • 3 — 4 October 2015
  • 10 — 11 October 2015
  • 17 — 18 October 2015
  • 24 — 25 October 2015
  • 31 October — 1 November 2015
  • 7 — 8 November 2015
  • 14 — 15 November 2015
  • 21 — 22 November 2015
  • 28 — 29 November 2015

We are offering Family Colliery Tours every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, starting from the Welcome Desk. This is a chance to find out more about the fascinating history of the colliery buildings. This tour is suitable for both adults and children alike.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

Please book in advance by calling 01670 528 080 or at the welcome desk. Adults £2.95, Children £1.95, family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) £9.00. No unaccompanied children please

Vintage Car Rally

Vintage Car Rally

  • 12 July 2015 11am-3pm

Enjoy a grand day out at Woodhorn's Vintage Car Rally.
The North East Club for Pre War Automobiles will be on site with their amazing array of over 50 classic cars. Enjoy viewing the cars, taking your picture with them and meeting the owners!

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

All-day parking Charge of £3.50

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/vintage-car-rally/

Invasion 6

Invasion 6

  • 19 July 2015 10am-4pm

Come along to Woodhorn's 6th Invasion when we welcome visitors from across space and time!

Meet a host of science fiction characters ranging from Daleks to Doctors, Jedis to Jawas and many more! The day is jam packed with activity (further details to follow so watch this space!).

Also visit our Sci-Fair where you can pick up collectables and sci-fi merchandise, take part in the treasure trail and have your picture taken with the characters.

The Daleks are copyright 1963 BBC Worldwide & Terry Nation Estates. 'Northern Charity Daleks' is a non profit making group, no infringement of copyright is implied or intended. They are in no way affiliated with, or endorsed by either BBC Worldwide or Terry Nation Estates.

Assistance dogs are welcome at Woodhorn, but family pets are not permitted within the fenced museum area. We advise that you leave pets at home.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Admission

All-day parking charge of £3.50 applies.

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/intergalactic-invaders-day/

Mat making demonstrations at Woodhorn

Wansbeck Matters

  • 9 July 2015 12-2pm
  • 16 July 2015 12-2pm
  • 23 July 2015 12-2pm
  • 30 July 2015 12-2pm
  • 6 August 2015 12-2pm
  • 13 August 2015 12-2pm
  • 20 August 2015 12-2pm
  • 27 August 2015 12-2pm
  • 3 September 2015 12-2pm
  • 10 September 2015 12-2pm
  • 17 September 2015 12-2pm
  • 24 September 2015 12-2pm
  • 1 October 2015 12-2pm
  • 8 October 2015 12-2pm
  • 15 October 2015 12-2pm
  • 22 October 2015 12-2pm
  • 29 October 2015 12-2pm
  • 5 November 2015 12-2pm
  • 12 November 2015 12-2pm
  • 19 November 2015 12-2pm
  • 26 November 2015 12-2pm

Come and watch the traditional art of Hooky and Proggy mat making demonstrated by the Wansbeck Matters. Demonstrations take place in the 1936 Coal Town display area in the Cutter building between 12pm - 2pm every Thursday.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Winding House Demonstrations

Winding House Demonstrations

  • 4 — 5 July 2015
  • 11 — 12 July 2015
  • 18 — 19 July 2015
  • 25 — 26 July 2015
  • 1 — 2 August 2015
  • 8 — 9 August 2015
  • 15 — 16 August 2015
  • 22 — 23 August 2015
  • 29 — 30 August 2015
  • 5 — 6 September 2015
  • 12 — 13 September 2015
  • 19 — 20 September 2015
  • 26 — 27 September 2015
  • 3 — 4 October 2015
  • 10 — 11 October 2015
  • 17 — 18 October 2015
  • 24 — 25 October 2015
  • 31 October — 1 November 2015
  • 7 — 8 November 2015
  • 14 — 15 November 2015
  • 21 — 22 November 2015
  • 28 — 29 November 2015

Free demonstrations of the winding gear take place every Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am and 3pm. There is a maximum number of 10 visitors for each demo, so book at the welcome desk to avoid dispointment.

The Winding House is an historic building that is not fully accessible. Access to the winding gear demonstration involves climbing steep stairs. Children must be supervised at all times. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

Suitable for

  • Any age
TFIF

Thank Folk It's Friday

  • 31 July 2015 2-3pm
  • 28 August 2015 2-3pm
  • 25 September 2015 2-3pm
  • 30 October 2015 2-3pm
  • 27 November 2015 2-3pm

Thank Folk it's Friday is a free programme of Folk music held in the Woodhorn Cafe on the final Friday of each month from 2pm.

TFIF line up for 2015 includes...
26th Jun- Andrew Lobb
31st Jul- Valerie Fairless
28th Aug- Ann Wilkinson
25th Sep- Beeswing
30th Oct- Fools Gold
27th Nov- Chris Kelly

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/thank-folk-its-friday/

Statue of Nicholas Wood at the Mining Institute, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Nicholas Wood Lecture

  • 15 July 2015 2-3pm

Join historian Bill Lancaster to explore the life of talented nineteenth-century mining engineer Nicholas Wood, who revolutionised deep mining and transportation. The talk is organised to coincide with the exhibition Sound Strata of Coastal Northumberland which features Wood’s 12.5-metre strata diagram that illustrates the location of coal measures on the Northumberland coast. In addition, the exhibition also includes an archive display of Wood’s other geological work in relation to the coal measures of Northumberland.

Throughout the nineteenth century, a circle of men from Tyneside, Wearside and the Great Northern Coalfield, such as George and Robert Stephenson (friends and colleagues of Nicholas Wood), helped create the modern industrial world. Bill Lancaster will talk about this group of innovators, who in 1852 founded The Mining Institute in Newcastle with Nicholas Wood as its first president.

Nicholas Wood was born in 1795, at the farm of Daniel, lying between Bradley Hall and Wylam, of which his father was a tenant. In 1811, through the influence of his father’s landlord Sir Thomas Liddell, he was sent to Killingworth Colliery to learn the profession of a coal-viewer. At Killingworth, Wood met George Stephenson and made the working drawing from which the first Stephenson safety lamp was made and tested in a dangerous blower in Killingworth Pit. By the 1830s, Wood had acquired a considerable reputation as a colliery and railway engineer, and was rapidly extending his influence in the coal trade. By 1844 he was managing the important collieries at Hetton, had become the sole owner of Black Boy, Coundon, Westerton and Leasingthorne collieries, and part owner of Harton, Hilda and Jarrow collieries. In response to the Mines Inspection Act of 1852, local colliery owners and mining engineers formed The Mining Institute, of which Nicholas Wood was elected the founding president.

Bill Lancaster was the founder and editor of Northern Review, a Journal of Regional and Cultural Affairs, and the director of the Centre for Northern Studies from 1997 – 2007. Until 2008 he taught at Northumbria University and was director there of the Centre for North East History. He was awarded a BA in History and Sociology, a MA in Comparative Social History and a PhD in History from Warwick University. He was elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1991.

Free, advance booking recommended, phone: Woodhorn Museum on 01670 624 455

Admission

Parking Charge of £3.50 applies

Inside the Winding House

Summer Winding House Demonstrations

  • 18 July — 1 September 2015

Visitors will be able to enter the last Victorian engine house in Northumberland and see some of the workings in action every day during the school summer holidays (Saturday 18th July to Tuesday 1st September).

Tours will be available at 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

The Winding House is an historic building that is not fully accessible. Access to the winding gear demonstration involves climbing steep stairs. Children must be supervised at all times. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free but parking charge of £3.50 applies for the whole site

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/summer-winding-house-demonstrations-1/

Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey Display

  • 31 August 2015 11am-3pm
  • 28 October 2015 11am-3pm

See beautiful birds of prey on display from 11am to 3pm and catch one of the spectacular flying displays by the team at Ridgeside Falconry with flying demonstrations at 12pm and 2pm.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

All-day parking charge of £3.50 applies.

Website

http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/birds-of-prey-display/

Periscope rifle Gallipoli

History Fair

  • 25 October 2015

Celebrate the rich and diverse heritage of the region at the Northumberland History Fair. Come along to learn more about local history and to meet some of the organisations who preserve it.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

All day parking charge of £3.50 applies.

Christmas Craft Fair and Winter Weekend 2015

  • 5 — 6 December 2015 10am-4pm

More details to come

Getting there

Just off A189 Spine Road and C1 National/Coast and Castles Cycle Route east of Ashington.
Nearest public transport Ashington Bus Station - 15 minute walk

Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives
QE II Country Park
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9YF
England

Website

www.experiencewoodhorn.com

E-mail

generalenquiries@woodhorn.org.uk

Telephone

01670 624455

Fax

01670 626121

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
advertisement