The Team

Meet the Buildings Team; our job is to research, design and construct the buildings at Beamish.  Along with the rest of the museum’s staff, volunteers and member from local communities, we help to develop our museum site, in order to produce a historically authentic and immersive experience for our visitors.

Jim Rees: Assistant Director – Development

Jim with Barbie rucksack (2)

Jim has been at Beamish for a total of over twenty years. His job is to research and design all of our   buildings, as well as manage the rest of the team. His proudest achievement whilst at Beamish has been rescuing the remains of Eston Church, after it was demolished, and overseeing its reconstruction back at the museum.

Clara Woolford: Remaking Beamish Project Officer (Period Buildings Co-ordinator)


Clara’s time is  divided between conducting research, designing historic buildings and interiors, and sourcing period materials and collections to ensure the historical accuracy of our buildings. She also assists with the management of our building programme and construction sites. Her background is in architectural  history, and since coming to Beamish four years ago, she has learnt how to thatch a roof, lime point a  wall, and repair a gas light!

Paul Marron: Buildings Team Leader – Masonry


Paul has been working as a brick layer and mason for nearly forty years, specialising in heritage  skills. His    first project at Beamish was to  rebuild Eston Church – everything we’ve built since is has a  least one of his  stone mason’s marks hidden somewhere on it!


Paul Costigan: Specialist Crafts Labourer


Before joining Beamish, Paul (or Cos as he is better known) was a joiner and locksmith. Now  he assists Paul Marron with the construction of our buildings.

Shaun Kay: Buildings Team Leader – Joinery


Shaun has been at Beamish for the last ten years as our expert joiner, undertaking everything from  restoring ancient doors, to making entire shop fronts.


Dan Belcher: Joiner

DSCN1945 Dan started at Beamish three and a half years ago as an apprentice, and is now a  fully qualified joiner. The work he has done for the museum that he is most proud of is helping to make the curved window  bars for the re-created Georgian fanlight at Eston Church.

Cassie Robson – Buildings Team Assistant

Cassie with the stored Airey House panels.

Cassie (or Cassandra if you ask her mam) is one of Beamish’s most brilliant on-site engagers and has worked for the Museum since Sept 2012. She has been seconded part-time to the Buildings Team to help with researching and designing interiors for the Remaking Beamish project. She’s also studying for a Masters in Museum Studies at Newcastle University and has worked with us already as a volunteer, doing one of the most unpleasant tasks we’ve had – cleaning sheep poo off the objects recovered from Spain’s Field!

John Castling: Remaking Beamish Engagement Development OfficerDSCF0209

John works with the Engagement Team but assists the Buildings Team with rooting our buildings in historical research by finding  photographs, plans and documents that might tell us what a historic building looked like  and how it was used. He also used to work as an archaeologist, so whenever the Buildings Team have to excavate a building, John isn’t far away!

Keith Lamb: Building Materials Handle


Keith is the person to ask if you need something shifting and can be seen driving our tele-handler all over the site, moving building materials to where they are needed or sorting through pallets.


Shannon Turner-Riley: Buildings Team Assistant

Shannon began working for the Museum at the start of the year as an Engager within Town and Pit Life after graduating from Durham University with an MA in Heritage Management. She has recently joined our team on secondment as the Buildings Team Assistant and her primary role will be to assist in researching the history of the buildings going into the Remaking Beamish project, along with helping to source the period materials needed to construct them. As a keen horse rider and carriage driver, Shannon is particularly enjoying researching the history of coaching inns as part of the Museum’s plans to build an immersive Georgian coaching inn onsite.

ben-with-doorBen Dixon – Joinery Apprentice

Ben is our joinery apprentice. While attending New College in Durham a day a week, he will be gaining hands-on experience through working with Shaun and Dan in the workshops.

Reg Marron: Site Manager and Quantity Surveyor

DSCN1930 Reg is one of our most experienced members of the team, being both an expert  mason and excellent quantity surveyor. He really does make the important decisions on site. He’s also known at the museum for his amazing football skills.

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