Some recent positive news from one of our newer names in the tramcar preservation movement comes from the North East Land Sea & Air Museum (NELSAM) which has recently been awarded accredited museum status by the Arts Council England. This is a huge honour for this attraction and bodes well for its future development, following the merging of some local groups to create a quality transport museum near Sunderland.
NELSAM is of course home to the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust’s collection of historic trams which include Blackpool ‘Hovertram’ 735 and the last traditional full-size passenger tram built in the UK, Blackpool Centenary car 647. Accreditation is a great honour for any museum and could potentially open up many exciting new opportunities to NELSAM and the Trust, benefitting its vehicles and visitors. The newfound status will be encouraging to any funding bodies who may be approached in regard of future grant applications. It will also give the museum greater strength in the wider museum community, and could open doors leading towards the possibility of tram loans occurring in the future. It is no secret that NEETT are extremely keen to work alongside other preservation groups and hopefully this development is another step towards this happening.
Meanwhile at the North East museum site, recent cosmetic work has largely focussed on the interior of Trailer 684 in preparation for the third annual ‘Tram & Transport Sunday’ next month, when it is hoped that the tram depot will be opened up to visitors so that the contents can be viewed. Ultimately the building should be made properly accessible so that it can be opened more often, but in the meantime events like this should offer the chance to see the NEETT collection and just how far the museum has progressed in the last couple of years.