Shiver Your Timbers - at a New Online Exhibition

Posted by: Press team on 10 February 2021 15:54

Swashbuckling tales of pirates and buried treasure can now be enjoyed by families at a new, virtual exhibition.

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, at South Shields, has made its hugely popular Shiver Me Timbers: Pirates on Page, Stage and Screen exhibition accessible online.

And the aim is to ensure children of all ages can experience the drama of the high seas at home this half term.

The exhibition originally ran at The Word in 2017/18 and, through the new website, sponsored by Arts Council England and Muse Developments, online visitors can be transported back through the centuries, meeting some of literature's most famous pirates.

The adventure begins in 1719, when English novelist Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe and journeys through to the 20th century, featuring fictional literary pirates such as Sea Hawk and Captain Blood, along with Peter Pan and even theatrical favourites the Pirates of Penzance.

Contemporary pirate stories such as The Piratica Series and the hugely popular film franchise Pirates of the Caribbean are also featured as is the star of 1970s children's tv show, Captain Pugwash.

Along with episodes of the show there is the chance to view a film of Isabel Ryan talking about her father, the show's creator, John Ryan's, legacy during a visit she made to The Word.

Online visitors can discover how fictional characters such as Captain Jack Sparrow and Peter Pan were brought to life on screen and step into the world of real piracy by reading about two well-known female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

A short film explains all about life on board a ship and an online 'activities' area provides a variety of creative tasks, from creating a pirate map, drawing yourself as a captain of a pirate ship, a wordsearch and more.

There is also a selection of online games, including Pirate Treasure Pop, so users can challenge their friends and family to a game.

A gallery of images of the original exhibition, designed and built by leading North East design agency, Sheridan Design, which also built the website, can also be viewed.

Cllr Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with lead responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "We are delighted that one of The Word's most popular exhibitions is now available online.

"We were very conscious that we had to find a way to reach all the children and families who would normally be enjoying our exhibitions.

"Particularly with half term coming up, we wanted to recreate some of the magic and adventure of our previous exhibitions.

"Creating a website that brings the content and activities of our Shiver Me Timbers exhibition online seemed a great way to do that."

Although the exhibition spaces at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word are currently closed, The Word Library is offering a limited service for users to pre-order books over the phone for collection and reserve access to public computers on an appointment-only basis by calling 0191 427 1818.

To access the website visit Further information can also be found at and

Last modified: 30 September 2021 15:55