John was using some new technology this time in the form of a laptop and digital projector. Having disparagingly closed a warning message that the computer would install updates and restart in 5 minutes as he was booting up, it came as little surprise that it did as promised just as he was showing the first slide, the 1825 railway shed at Beamish. Most speakers would have been a little fazed by this but then most aren't John Grundy, who turned it into a major humorous feature and hoped it hadn't embarrassed the audience!
As Chairman of the Friends of Beamish Museum, John knows the place well and gave us a whistle-stop tour of its 18th and 19th century features. I took some notes but what was the point - it was just a reminder to get back over there and to hang with the expense.
John takes some nice photos and can talk eloquently and excitedly about any subject - sometimes even the one on the current photo. His enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge vast.
I think at one point he even sang part of Tommy Armstrong's song about the Trimdon Grange coal mine explosion. I did find that on YouTube here
29th May 2011 marks the 60th Anniversary of another major disaster, the explosion at Easington Colliery Pit, which is marked by a selection of archive photos on the Beamish web-site. The connection between Tommy and Beamish: he lived for part of his life on the site of the museum when it was a colliery village. John knows all the connections and what Beamish shows us about Northumberland and Durham.
Among several ongoing new projects, the rebuilding of the Saxon Church from Eston next to Pockerley Old Hall on the Beamish Museum site will be an exciting addition.
The north-east is coal, railways, farms, manor houses and much much more. The innovation and heritage of our region is show-cased at Beamish. Fighting its case, this person is a fine part of our heritage too: John Grundy.