Welcome to Belford and District Hidden History (BDHH), an evolving exhibition which seeks to throw light on the past of Belford and its surrounding area, and on the lives of the men, women and children who lived here.
From 2008, Fiona Renner Thompson mounted a series of summer displays in empty buildings in the High Street. In 2012, the village Community Group succeeded in obtaining grants under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s SOS Villages scheme and from Northumberland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Trustees of Belford Reading Room granted the Group a five year lease of part of this historic building.
The Reading Room was originally provided by the Rev. John Dixon Clark, the then squire, in 1854. His aim was to improve community feeling by bringing landlord, farmer and tradesman into social contact by providing them with access to a plentiful supply of newspapers. To these facilities was added a popular Billiards Room.
During the First World War, it was a well used meeting place for the soldiers billeted in the village. and by the end of the War, needed refurbishment.
When, in 1923, the Belford Hall Estate was auctioned off, the building was sold privately to the Reading Room Committee. Gerard Leather, the owner of Middleton Hall, was particularly keen to improve the facilities for the ex-soldiers, in memory of his three brothers who were killed in the war.
With his encouragement and fund raising, the British Legion redecorated the rooms and repaired the billiard table in 1925. Then, in 1934, when the old A1 through Belford was widened, the old building was demolished to be replaced by the one you see today.
Belford and District Hidden History (BDHH) is registered with the Community Archives and Heritage Group.
Belford & District Hidden History Museum
The Reading Room
See attraction’s website for current prices and opening hours.