Heritage Treasures Open their Doors
History enthusiasts are being given a rare opportunity to explore South Tyneside's rich culture and fascinating architecture with the return of Heritage Open Days this September.
Heritage Open Days is a national initiative that provides visitors with a unique chance to discover and enjoy, sometimes hidden architectural treasures, with free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.
This year's initiative is running from Friday 9 September to Sunday 18 September.
With a programme of activities and events, tours and walks across South Tyneside, there is something for all ages and abilities.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Culture, Leisure and the Visitor Economy, said: "Heritage Open Days celebrates the rich history on our doorsteps and offers people a brilliant opportunity to discover more and explore places which are often closed to the public or usually charge a fee.
"I am delighted to see a range of venues taking part this year. Whether visitors are interested in history, architecture or culture, this is a great opportunity to be inspired to get to know more about the heritage of South Tyneside while enjoying some unique experiences with all the family."
Visitors can join the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay, on special tours of South Shields Town Hall with its stunning oak-panelled chambers and marble corridors on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 September. Tours take place at 11am and 2pm.
A tour of Jarrow Town Hall, remembered as the place where the famous Jarrow marchers set off for London in 1936 also takes place on Wednesday 14 September, from 2pm to 3pm.
To reserve a place on either of the Town Hall Tours, call the Civic Office on (0191) 424 7331or email email@example.com
Jarrow Hall, Anglo Saxon farm, village and Bede Museum, is offering interactive tours on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September.
Visitors will get the opportunity to learn about Early Medieval Scriptoriums and take a closer look at some of the manuscripts they produced such as the Codex Amiatinus and the Lindisfarne Gospels. However, the tours must be booked in advance at / https://www.tickettailor.com/events/groundworksouthandnorthtyneside
South Shields Museum & Art Gallery is hosting two drop-in sessions where people can look at a selection of unique archives, documents and plans that tell the story of the town's shipbuilding history. Staff from the Tyne & Wear Archives will be on hand to answer questions. The sessions are taking place on Friday 16 September, at 10am and 1pm. Reserve a space at www.southshieldsmuseum.org.uk
South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade is opening its doors again on the weekends giving access to its historic Watch House and an insight into the heritage of the service which has served the area for more than 150 years. The watch house will be open 10am to 4pm on Saturday 10, Sunday 11, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September. No booking required.
On Wednesday 14 September, South Shields Sea Cadets in Wapping Street is also inviting people to view the historic figurehead off the former RNVR Tyne training ship, HMS Satellite, as well as various artefacts displaying the history of the 150-year-old ship. No booking required.
Souter Lighthouse, National Trust property, will also be taking part in Heritage Open Days on Saturday 17 - Sunday 18 September, giving people an insight into the Engine Room that powered the station and foghorn. People can also visit the cottage to see how lighthouse keepers lived. Opening times are 11am to 5pm. No booking required.
Some church buildings are also taking part this year. People can hear Jean Stokes talk about some of the interesting things she discovered in the course of her latest book on Trow Point and learn about the Clark-Maxim disappearing platform. The churchyard records will also be available for viewing.
The talks at St Peter's Church in Harton Village take place on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September, 10am and 2pm. No booking required.
On Saturday 10 September, visitors to the Grade I Listed St Nicholas' Church in West Boldon. The building mainly dates from the 13th century but has a great deal of visible Saxon stonework. Other features include memorial tablets and recently restored sundial. The church will be open 10am to 4pm.
The Friends of Westoe Cemetery are also hosting a walk through the site to learn about some of the innovators from years gone by. The walks are taking place at 10.30am and 5pm, on Friday 9 September and Wednesday 14 September. No booking required. Meet at the entrance.
For full listings, specific opening times or booking information for events in South Tyneside, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/hod
The events are part of national Heritage Open Days - England's largest festival or architecture, history and culture. For events further afield, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk