A museum has paid tribute to a much-loved equine colleague, Shire horse Lion.

The gentle giant was 22 years old and worked at Beamish Museum in Stanley, County Durham, for many years.

Lion belonged to Jim Elliott, who took on the role of Museum Stockman in 2003 and brought both Lion and fellow Shire, Prince, with him.

“Lion was a large, powerful horse, true to the old-fashioned Shire horse stamp, with a very amenable character and solid-as-a-rock demeanour,” said a spokesman for Beamish Museum.

“He could be trusted with the novice but was wise and experienced enough to complement the more experienced hand.”

In the ribbons

Credit: Beamish Museum

Lion was one half of Jim’s multi prize-winning plough team for many years. The team won many high-profile competitions, including the British National Ploughing Championships in 2015.

The heavy horse also triumphed in several agricultural turnout classes at local and county shows, and even had roles in movies and television programmes like Downton Abbey and Victorian Farm.

“Lion could turn his hoof to most things, from ploughing and farm work to pulling omnibuses, charabancs, road sweepers and delivering goods on site,” added the spokesman.

“All being done with incredible ease, he also gave a lot of people a lot of pleasure, whether doing traditional experiences or greeting visitors.

“Lion was a firm favourite with visitors, staff and volunteers alike, and will be hugely missed.”

Beamish Museum was founded by Dr Frank Atkinson. He had visited Scandinavian folk museums in the early 1950s and was inspired to create an open air museum for the North East.

The now multi award-winning ‘Living Museum of the North’ tells the story of the people of North East England in the 1820s, 1910s, 1940s and 1950s.

Lead image – Credit: Beamish Museum

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