Generations of residents can learn about their County Durham community’s history after a
heritage archive opened to the public.
Bowburn Local History Society’s Heritage Room, in Bowburn Community Centre, never
fully reopened after closing at the start of the Covid pandemic.
But volunteers continued to catalogue its collection of books, maps, photographs, and
memorabilia and funding, including a £1,000 community grant from housing association
believe housing, was secured to update the facilities and buy a new computer so
photographs and records could be digitised.
The archive is now easier to search, and the Heritage Room is open at least once a week
to visitors. The resources also support the Society’s events programme which includes
talks by guest speakers.
Anne-Marie Parkin, a Community Investment Coordinator at believe housing, officially
relaunched the room.
She said: “It is wonderful to see this facility improved and reopened so local people of all
ages, and visitors, can understand and celebrate the area’s history.
“Hopefully lots of residents, including believe housing customers, make use of it and
develop new skills and meet likeminded people to boost their opportunities and overall
The collection paints a picture of how the Bowburn area has grown and changed over
centuries. It commemorates its heritage of coal mining – which was the biggest local
employer for 200 years – as well as farming, factories, people, and important transport
routes nearby such as the Romans’ Cades Road and A1(M).
Mike Syer, Chair of Bowburn Local History Society, said: “The collection has been built up
over the years using donations from residents and former residents.
“Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, including many from Durham University, and the
funding we secured, visitors can now be guided quickly to what they’re interested in.
“We hope to attract more people to find out about our local history in the room and at our
The Heritage Room opens on Wednesdays, from noon to 2pm. To visit at other times or
for more information call Mike Syer on 0191 3771491 or Malcom Bell on 0191 3771391.