The Beamish Factor

One of the questions we get asked, with some frequency, is “Can the collection not move to Beamish?” I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer this particular question.

Many people will remember that Frank Atkinson, director of the museum when it first opened, said “you offer it to us, we will collect it”, and assume that this means that Beamish would be open to keeping the collection open. Unfortunately, this is not actually the case.

The History Game

It’s important to understand that the remit of Beamish is to cover life in the North East with particular relevance being placed on the years 1825 and 1913. These years have been chosen to offer a snapshot of life that covers a range of years of interest to Beamish. The DLI regiment, on its own, ran from 1881 to 1968 (the history of the Durham’s goes back much further – the 68th Durham Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) goes back to about 1780), putting it outside the years that are of particular relevance for the museum.

As the museum chooses to represent snapshots of these particular years, having a collection that includes conflicts outside these eras would go against the way the museum chooses to display items.

Where to display

Assuming that Beamish did choose to house the display, where would they display it? Let’s make no bones about it, the DLI collection is vast; a proud testament to the bravery and discipline of a regiment that was always deployed “in the thick of it”, never afraid to take a stand. As anyone who has been to Beamish will attest, there’s not much dedicated museum space, rather the museum is the representation of village life, the colliery, etc. So, the first thing that would have to be done is have a new museum put in place – this would have to be a large building and would be a huge expense for Beamish to cope with.

Obviously, our big driver is keeping the collection together and available for all to view,so Beamish couldn’t just choose to show a subset of the items.

Poignant Armistice Day at the museum; with BBC in attendance


Today saw a sombre, close-knit Armistice Day vigil at the DLI Museum in Durham where, amongst those paying their respects to the fallen, where members of the ‘Save the DLI Museum’ campaign committee, and Jonathan Swingler of BBC Look North & Cumbria.

Jonathan kindly contacted us ahead of today’s remembrance and arrived to do a piece with the campaign leader, John Stephenson, after the service.

During the interview with the BBC John discussed the reason’s for the campaign, talked about how the fundraising and group figures, and detailed our thoughts and feelings on the decision of Durham County Council to close the museum and the ‘plans’ in which they have for it.

JOHN&JONATHON A brief report was put out on BBC One at lunchtime today (11/11/2015) and a more detailed one is scheduled to go out this evening at 18:30 (11/11/2015).

Don’t forget you can support the ‘Save the DLI Museum’ campaign by making a donation via the crowdfunding account HERE so we can help keep the memory alive.



Always Remember, Never Forget


Produced last year writer Rachel Cochrane visited the Always Remember, Never Forget World War I exhibition where stories inspired by, for her the ‘Sweetheart Pincushion’ which is encompassed by the poem ‘Butchers Lad Billy,’ and the ‘Pickelhaube German Military Helmet,’ both of which are housed in the exhibition.

On Remembrance Sunday Rachel Cochrane delivered a newsletter which led with the following: “During this period of Remembrance for those in the armed forces who have died in the line of duty for this country, I revisit the podcast of stories and poems inspired by the WW1 collections at the Durham Light Infantry Museum.  This may prove to be a tribute to the Museum itself in the light of sad news that it is to close next year.”

The above podcast (22:43) is very much worth a listen to those with a penchant for their local history and to those who care about the life, history and heritage of the Durham Light Infantry.

The readers on the podcast most certainly give the DLI their own voice and takes you back to what once was, and should always be.

A message from Rachel Cochrane reads: “It’s great that the work will,be appreciated by a wider audience and I hope help the plight of the DLI in the process.  Please let me know further details about the campaign. Good Luck and Best Wishes.”


Don’t forget you can support the ‘Save the DLI Museum’ campaign by making a donation via the crowdfunding account HERE so we can help keep the memory alive.


Print Press Articles

All articles published in the print press pertaining to the suggested closure of the DLI Museum can be found via their respective links.

Northern Echo 13-10-15

Durham Light Infantry Museum faces closure with plans to make collection available “to wider audience“‘

Newcastle Chronicle 21-10-15

Durham Light Infantry Museum set to close its doors as the latest victims of council cuts

Sunderland Echo 24-10-15

Angry campaigners fight to save Durham’s DLI Museum

Yorkshire Evening Post 24-10-15

Angry campaigners fight to save Durham’s DLI Museum

Durham Times 26-10-15

Protestors angry at decision to close Durham Light Museum plan to mount legal challenge

Northern Echo 28-10-15

DLI Museum closure should not be rushed

Northern Echo 29-10-15

‘”It’s brought into question the democratic process” – councillors challenge the Durham Light Infantry Museum closure

Northern Echo 02-11-15

Victoria Cross Heroes’ families back campaign to save DLI Museum



Constitution document for the Save the DLI Museum Campaign

Aims and objectives;

The aims of this group are; to challenge Durham County Council Cabinet on the closure of the DLI Museum and Art Gallery at Aykley Heads by examining the possibility of continued financially sustainable operation at the site. The group also aims to find a mutually agreeable alternative to the proposals put forward in the Durham County Council Cabinet report dated 21/10/15 by working with any interested parties.


To further these aims the committee shall have the power to

A)     Obtain, collect and receive money or funds by way of contributions, donations, grants and any other lawful method towards the aims of the group.

B)     Conduct any research as deemed necessary by the committee

C)      Work with any external groups or Agencies in pursuance of our aims

D)     Employ any professional experts as deemed necessary by the committee

E)      Carry out any other action within the law necessary to reach the group’s objectives


This group shall be open to any person aged 16 years and over who wishes to work in association to achieve the stated aims of the group. Application to be made via the Facebook page Save the DLI museum and at the discretion of the page administrators and committee members.

Management Committee;

The management committee has initially been formed by co-opting those persons with specialist skills and experience from the main group. The committee will remain in place for a period of 12 months or until the aims of the group are met (whichever is sooner). If the aims are still not met or alternatively resolved after a period of 12 months elections and nominations will be sought from within the group. A committee member may only be removed from post at their own request or upon a vote held by the rest of the committee, a unanimous vote being required to secure removal and this after a gross breach of trust or working contrary to the aims of the group. The committee reserve the right to increase or decrease in size as dictated by the needs of the group or committee at the time. Any vacancies to be filled by selection from the group or appointment of Honorary positions.

The committee shall consist of a Chair, Co-Chair(s), Secretary and Treasurer and not less than 6 other voting members. Terms of office shall be for 12 months or until the aims of the group are met or otherwise resolved, whichever being sooner.

The committee shall meet at least 4 times each year, with not less than 7 days notice.

At least 6 committee members shall be present at each meeting to make decisions. All committee members have power to vote (by show of hands) and a majority vote is needed to carry any decision. In the event of a tied vote the Chair shall have deciding vote.

A proper record of all meetings shall be kept in the form of minutes.

An extraordinary general meeting may be called by the group members. This will require a vote of not less than two thirds of the group membership at that time in calling for the meeting.

A special general meeting may be called by any committee member and requires not less than 7 days notice to the other committee members.


The group finances shall be held in a bank account in the groups name. Any cheques issued by the group shall require at least 2 counter signatories.

The Treasurer shall be responsible for the recording of an accurate financial record which will be examined by an independent accountant after 12 months or at the conclusion of the groups aims and objectives, whichever being sooner.

The committee will make no drawings against the group finances by way of salary, expenses or any other means.

The committee may sanction the appointment of any paid consultants or experts as determined necessary by themselves at that time. All such appointments shall be announced to the group without undue delay.

Amendments to the constitution;

This constitution may be amended if required by a vote of members at an extraordinary general meeting. The meeting shall be called by the committee with members given not less than 14 days notice. Voting to change the constitution shall be by show of hands, with majority deciding.


This group may be dissolved by a resolution passed by a two thirds majority vote at a special general meeting called at the conclusion of the aims and objectives of the group, by transference of the groups aims and objectives to another organisation or due to a lack of interest or finances necessary to continue the operation of the group.


Equality and Diversity policy;

In carrying out its functions the Save the DLI Museum group is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all, and to ensuring that no individual is discriminated against in the planning and delivery of any of our activities.

We therefore aim to ensure that the values of equality, diversity, and respect for all are embedded into everything that we do.

This policy is intended to demonstrate Save the DLI Museum group’s commitment to eliminating discrimination and encouraging and valuing diversity among group members, volunteers, partners, suppliers, users of our services and externally appointed professionals.

We recognise our responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, and are committed to meeting them in full. We believe that a culture that embraces equality and values diversity will help us to ensure that everyone feels involved and included in our plans, programmes and activities.

We aim to create an environment which respects and welcomes everyone, and in which no form of bullying, harassment, disrespectful or discriminatory behaviour is tolerated by anyone towards anyone.  This particularly applies in relation to the ‘protected characteristics’ named in the Equality Act 2010:     Age, disability, gender reassignment, income, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Save the DLI Museum group understands that for equality to be achieved this policy needs to be made understandable to, and embraced by staff, volunteers, suppliers, partners and externally appointed professionals.

All group members, volunteers, suppliers, partners and externally appointed professionals have a responsibility to ensure that their own language and actions are consistent with the spirit as well as the contents of this policy.

Overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies with Save the DLI Museum group’s committee and admin panel.

Save the DLI Museum group recognises that an Equality and Diversity Policy alone is not enough to ensure that equality and diversity are central to everything that we do.

We will seek to create an environment in which diversity and the contributions of all group members, volunteers, suppliers, partners and externally appointed professionals are recognised and valued in all that we do. In this way we hope to provide an example of good equality practice and promote community cohesion within the group.

In introducing this policy we recognise that many people are unfamiliar with the ways in which discrimination and disadvantage affect people’s health, well-being and quality of life. We will therefore support people to develop equalities awareness and understanding.

To ensure that we are meeting the aims and the spirit of this policy we will:

a)      Discuss and review how well we are implementing this policy, and (adjust our practices/develop an action plan) where necessary b) assess any significant new or revised policies and procedures for their impact on equality c) Embed equality and diversity into our development plans.

It is important to us that suppliers, contractors and any other individual or organisation working on behalf of Save the DLI Museum group are aware of and agree to comply with our equality and diversity policy while that work is underway. 

In addition we are committed to: using accessible venues for events and meetings; using plain English, and offering accessible communications, for example, emails, letters, reports and publicity materials as far as it is within our means to do so.

We recognise that it is important for us to regularly review this policy to ensure that it reflects up to date equality legislation and best practice.

A review of our Equality and Diversity Policy will be carried out on a yearly basis as a minimum and any necessary actions taken.

Equality Act 2010 – Explanation of the Protected Characteristics

Age:  An age group includes people of the same age and people of a particular range of ages. Where people fall in the same age group they share the protected characteristic of age. An age group would include “over fifties” or twenty-one year olds. A person aged twenty one does not share the same characteristic of age with “people in their forties”. However, a person aged twenty-one and people in their forties can share the characteristic of being in the “under fifty” age range.

Disability:   A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment as a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This section replaces similar provisions in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and provisions in secondary legislation made under that Act.

Gender reassignment:  A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.

Marriage and civil partnership:  A person has the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership if the person is married or is a civil partner. · A person who is engaged to be married is not married and therefore does not have this protected characteristic. A divorcee or a person whose civil partnership has been dissolved is not married or in a civil partnership and therefore does not have this protected characteristic.

Race:   Race is defined as a. Colour:  includes being black or white. b. Nationality:  includes being a British, Australian or Swiss citizen. c. Ethnic or national origins: include being from a Roma background or of Chinese heritage. A racial group could be “black Britons” which would encompass those people who are both black and who are British citizens. This section replaces similar provisions in the Race Relations Act 1976. However, the power to add caste to the definition of race is a new provision.

Religion or belief:  Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.   A religion must have a clear structure and belief system. Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered to be a religion or belief, such as Protestants and Catholics within Christianity. · A belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief.  A “philosophical belief” must o Be genuinely held;  o Be a belief and not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available; o Be a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour;  o Attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance;  o Be worthy of respect in a democratic society, compatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.  Any cult involved in illegal activities is not covered. Beliefs such as humanism and atheism would be covered. This section replaces similar provisions in the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 and the Equality Act 2006.

Sex:  a. a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a man or to a woman; b. a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons of the same sex.

Sexual orientation:  is a person’s sexual orientation towards: people of the same sex as him or her (in other words the person is a gay man or a lesbian) people of the opposite sex from him or her (the person is heterosexual) people of both sexes (the person is bisexual). The definition is designed to replicate the effect of similar provisions in the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Equality Act 2006.  

Source: Equality Act 2010 and Explanatory Notes to the Equality Act 2010


This constitution was adopted at an AGM held at Sherburn Village WMC on 4th November 2015