Living in another part of the country felt strange. I
somehow felt detached from the people and place
where I lived and worked. They called me a Geordie
there and I loved that. It was a strong part of my
identity. I had a great time and was happy there but
it was never home. I wondered if I'd always feel like
that or whether one day I'd return to the place that I
My family were well known in the village where I grew
up in Durham. We were very much part of village life.
I think that's how I developed such a strong sense of
belonging. I knew everyone and everyone knew me.
One of my first jobs was at Beamish Museum,
working in the cafe. I used to look out onto the
cobbled street and see the demonstrators . I thought
they must be such extroverts to do that kind of job,
but some years later I found myself in the same
street, in costume. It was a great job. I was no
extrovert but I loved chatting to visitors about the
history of the north east. The locals loved to talk
about their memories and I learned a lot about my
own heritage from them. I felt really proud to tell
visitors to the area about the region. This was when I
realised I wanted to pursue a career in museums.
We had been living away from the north east for
several years when our first child was born and the
pull of being back home became stronger. We
wanted our son to grow up as a little Geordie,
surrounded by the people and places that are so
important to his parents.
Once we moved back it felt immediately settled. I work
for Tyne and Wear Museums now and as a curator I
have the opportunity to look after and preserve the
museum collection - part of the heritage of the north
east. This is my chance to give something back to
this region which is so important to me.