The year 2019 sees two celebrations: the centenary of the Forestry Commission and the 25th anniversary of the Heritage Centre, both of which are being marked by seasonal displays.
The Forestry Commission was formed in 1919 to secure a sustainable supply of wood in the aftermath of the Great War when huge quantities of timber were required at home and in the trenches, leaving the United Kingdom the least afforested country in Europe.
Planting at Smales Farm, near Falstone, in 1926 saw the development of Kielder Forest, mainly due to the faith and foresight of an Australian Rhodes Scholar, Roy Lister Robinson, later Baron Robinson of Kielder Forest and Adelaide.
The display in the Heritage Centre includes a tribute to Lord Robinson, chairman of the Forestry Commission from 1932 until his death in 1952, and the men who created Kielder. There are many pictures of Kielder, examples of the equipment used by foresters and a selection of saplings that are still planted by hand.
The Heritage Centre opened at Shellcroft on 10th June 1994 thanks to the Herculean efforts of Dorothy Bell and a dedicated band of local volunteers. Like Roy Robinson, they had unswerving faith in the future and worked tirelessly to create a Centre worthy of the locality.
The Centre moved to new premises in the Station Yard and was formally opened on 25th May 2001 by Jean Glass, widow of Aynsley Glass, one of the founding members and its first chairman. The Heritage Centre underwent further expansion in 2008 to confirm its purpose of keeping the past alive and secure for future generations.
The displays, which run alongside those of the Forestry Commission, include the development of the Heritage Centre over the last 25 years, a video display of over 200 pictures and selected items from temporary exhibitions of the past. These will include Military (2014), Churches (1997), and Embroidery & Needlework (1995), the last being arguably one of the most memorable displays that the Heritage Centre has ever mounted.