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Heritage Open Days Returns to South Tyneside

Residents are invited to uncover the fascinating history of South Tyneside this September with the return of Heritage Open Days.

Heritage Open Days is England's largest annual festival of architecture and history which offers visitors a chance to discover hidden architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities which bring local history and culture to life.

Participating venues across the country that are usually closed to the public or charge an admission fee will be opening their doors to visitors free of charge.

The event, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will run for ten consecutive days from Friday 13 September to Sunday 22 September.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Lead Member for Culture and Leisure, said: "South Tyneside is steeped in fascinating history and the Heritage Open Days festival is a brilliant way for members of the community to discover the hidden treasures of our borough.

"Last year's event was a great success and saw 36,583 visits made to the 204 participating properties across the Tyne and Wear region.

"I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to explore South Tyneside and discover all about the history that's right on your doorstep."

There is a jam packed programme full of exciting activities and events on offer across South Tyneside this year with over 20 venues participating including a good mix of churches, attractions and guided tours.

Visitors have the opportunity to meet one of the artists behind the hugely popular Word Bank of Lost Dialects exhibition at The Word during the event. Robert Good will discuss the project and share his thoughts on the curious and interesting words donated.

The Customs House, a beautiful venue that provides the community with a wide range of cultural events and activities, will also be offering guided tours allowing visitors to learn all about the rich history of this incredible building.

You can also discover why Souter Lighthouse was 'a Marvel of its age' and learn about the life of a Lighthouse Keeper and his family by taking a trip to the historical landmark during the festival.

Head along to St Hilda's Pit Head and see the amazing restoration work that has been undertaken to rescue it from lying empty and unsafe. There will also be regular screenings throughout the day of the new documentary telling the story of The Womens Banner Group (WBG).

A number of church buildings will also be taking part including St Nicholas' Church, St Paul's Church, St Peter's Church and St Mark & St Cuthbert's Church. This is a great opportunity to explore the churches, admire their architectural design and hear all about their fascinating history.

Other attractions include a Marine Park Heritage Walk, a gallery talk at Arbeia Roman Fort, a tour of Mission to Seafarers at Mill Dam, a tour of Jarrow Town Hall and much more.

The dates and times of events taking place across South Tyneside will differ from venue to venue.

For full listings, specific opening times or booking information for events in South Tyneside, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/hod. Copies of the Heritage Open Days booklet are also available at local libraries, participating venues and the Visitor Information Centre at The Word, South Shields.

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