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The Industrial Past of Winlaton

Helping local residents make films about their history

Who is Taking Part

A group of people from the Winlaton area with an interest in local history are making films about the industrial heritage of their area. We have been lucky enough to film at Beamish with volunteers from Rydal Crescent, Whinney Close and Winlaton Community Base in front of and behind the cameras, reliving the stories that people tell about their everyday lives in a mining village.

The project is run by Digital Voice in partnership with Winlaton Community Base, Beamish Museum and Gateshead Libraries, Winlaton History Society and Winlaton Community Centre.


The project has brought together volunteers from the local community to create and share a fascinating record of their heritage, with films and archive photographs. We hope to provide local people with a lasting reminder of their heritage and provide them with the skills to do this themselves, with our support.

Volunteers have learned interviewing, sound, camera and editing skills. Local groups such as the local History Society, church and community groups and individuals are taking part, sharing their facts and anecdotes about the past.

What Happened

Volunteers from Rydal Community Lounge have been busy digitizing photographs to use in the films. They are collecting archive photos and footage from Gateshead libraries and Beamish Museum, and Winlaton History Society have given help, knowledge, advice and access to their collection. Other volunteers will help with uploading films and photos to a website to share the heritage information and pictures with the wider community.

Commenting on the award, Julie Nicholson from Digital Voice said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and it’s fantastic how the project is bringing local people together to explore their heritage.”

MP for the Blaydon constituency, Dave Anderson MP said: "I'm delighted to hear that this project has gained support to get moving on this great piece of work about our history. Winlaton and the surrounding areas played a huge role in the development of the Industrial Revolution but this is not just a story about work, it's a story about the real people who made the wheels of industry move. I wish everyone concerned the very best in their efforts to tell our story to the world"


We are now working hard to edit the films which will be shown at an event at Winlaton Community Centre on Tuesday 13th September 2016, 1-4 p.m. it is a free, open event and we hope as many local people and dignitaries as possible will come. Volunteers are busy preparing an exhibition of archive photos of the area and a leaflet about the project. We are also very pleased to announce there will be music especially written for the project by Roly Veitch and performances by local Rapper sword dancers and performances by schoolchildren from Parkhead Primary School.

Benefits for Participants

The volunteers have had the opportunity to develop I.T. media and communication skills, and some have the added confidence-boost of being in front of the camera. They have organised an exhibition, designed a leaflet and worked together to create an excellent project.


We are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this opportunity.

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we’re delighted to support this project which offers some fantastic opportunities for the local community, as well as the chance to explore Winlaton’s rich industrial heritage and create a lasting legacy of its story.”

Who Else Would Benefit From This Sort of Project

We can offer course to adult learners in any of the media we work in.