Echo commentary on the opening of the new Faith Museum in Bishop Auckland

Bishop Auckland needs faith. A town center with its long main street leading to the train station, it was a Victorian creation, almost like a resort for the miners for miles around – they came to Bishop to satisfy all their needs, both shopping and drinking.

Times have changed almost imperceptibly since then, and so must Bishop, and while there is still a lot of decay, there are more and more exciting projects that are beginning to transform the city.

Faith will be at the heart of an exceptional collection of offerings which we hope will make Bishop a holiday destination for the 21st century: Romans, trains, miners, gardens and parks as well as a fantastic night show in Kynren as well as the Spanish Gallery and now the new museum. We are already seeing private businesses such as tea rooms and restaurants moving into the city alongside the remarkable Auckland project inspired by its founder Jonathan Ruffer and his money.

There are complaints about all this being done to Bishop Auckland, but without this it would be hard to imagine how the city would have found a successful future.

The real dream is that the south of Durham will become so important that visitors will have to stop here overnight to see all that Bishop has to offer and admire the wonders of Bowes at Barnard Castle and the birthplace of the Visiting railways demands the historic glory of Durham. You can no longer simply tick this area off as a view of the cathedral on the way to Edinburgh.

So we must have faith so that we can have confidence in the future. Good luck with it!

Take a first look at the new museum, which took 10 years to create

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