morpeth lions club
Each year, the club has an Educational Day which involves a mini-bus journey to a few locations.
In the past, the education centred almost exclusively on breweries or distilleries, but that element has decreased in importance as other types of venues are added to the day.
This year’s trip of Lions and friends took place on a beautiful sunny day and started with a visit to Richmond in North Yorkshire. First port of call was Richmond Station.
The station was opened in 1847 and it was an important terminus with the station, goods and engine sheds, the station master’s house and many cottages for the workers.
It was designed to blend in with the town. During its life as a railway station, it had a leading role in the movement of troops from nearby Catterick Garrison. The station was proposed for closure in 1963, but it managed to keep going until 1969.
After closure, a farm and garden centre was established there until it closed in 2001.
In 2003, a community-based project was proposed and this opened in 2007.
The result is a tasteful conversion of the Grade II* listed building housing a cinema, restaurant and cafe bar, art gallery, heritage centre, offices and units making and selling ice cream, chocolates, cheese, bread and pasta and beer.
After looking round the station, the Lions had an appointment in the micro brewery. This is run by the Richmond Brewery Company, which is limited to a six-barrel capacity.
Those who went on the trip learned about and sampled its three main beers – varying in strengths, flavour and colour.
The brewery prides itself on all its ingredients being British and most of these coming from Yorkshire. There are around 12 micro breweries within this area of North Yorkshire and although they are competitors, they often work together in purchasing supplies and at the many beer festivals.
Following a short tour of Richmond and lunch, the Lions headed back north to the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle. Due to traffic congestion, they were just too late to see the impressive Silver Swan, an 18th century automaton, in action.
Nevertheless, there was plenty else to see both in the house and the surrounding gardens.
There are currently two special exhibitions within the museum. One is called Hockney, Printmaker, which marks the 60th anniversary of David Hockney’s prolific career as a printmaker.
The exhibition which really interested the Lions was Shafts of Light, which is made up of various paintings that illustrate the working environments of coal miners in the North East over the years.
Part of this is devoted to the Ashington miners (the Pitmen painters) and there were many familiar scenes such as Woodhorn Colliery.
By then, the Lions’ brains had received sufficient information and after refreshment stops in Barnard Castle and Chester-le-Street, it was home to Morpeth.