A special display chronicling the life of Sir Charles Palmer and his impact on the Jarrow area is just one of the opportunities to explore South Tyneside's rich culture and history as Heritage Open Days begin today (Friday 10 September).
Heritage Open Days provide visitors with a unique chance to discover and enjoy, sometimes hidden and often curious architectural treasures, with free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.
The initiative is running from Friday 10 September to Sunday 19 September.
New for this year's South Tyneside programme is the Sir Charles Mark Palmer display, which features a collection of interesting artefacts and pictures, giving an insight into the lasting industrial and political impact he had on the Jarrow area.
Pieces include the Mayoral Chain he presented to Jarrow Town Council as well as a marble bust sculpture portraying him in classical style. The bust once stood in the Mechanic's Institute (now Jarrow Civic Hall) and is being displayed thanks to the support of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.
The display will be available for viewing on Thursday 16 September, at Jarrow Town Hall, at 10am and 2pm. However, booking is essential. Call The Word on (0191) 427 1818to reserve a place.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with special responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: "Sir Charles Mark Palmer and his shipbuilding company played a key role in the growth of Jarrow, from a village to a large industrial town.
"As well as being a major employer in the area, he also served as the town's Mayor and Member of Parliament during this period and was instrumental in the development of iconic buildings such as the Mechanic's Institute, Palmer's Memorial Hospital and Jarrow Town Hall.
"We are incredibly excited to be able to bring together this collection so that people can take the opportunity to learn more about the life of Charles Palmer and his influence on the town, in the impressive civic building he officially opened in 1904.
"However, the display is only available for one day on Thursday 16 September. We would urge people to get their place booked so they don't miss out.
"The display is just one of many events taking place across South Tyneside which help to capture our rich and diverse heritage, bring local history to life and enable people to take a closer look at some of the fabulous architectural treasures on their doorstep. We hope people enjoy exploring our great Borough."
Other Council-run events include free special guided tours of South Shields and Jarrow town halls, with the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay.
On the tour of the magnificent Grade II Listed South Shields Town Hall visitors will get to see the impressive sweeping staircase and marble corridors, stunning Reception Rooms and the beautiful oak-panelled Council Chamber as well as hear about the building's rich history and workings of democracy past and present.
The tours of South Shields Town Hall are taking place on Thursday 16 September at 1pm and on Friday 17 September at 11am.
Jarrow Town Hall is remembered as the place where the famous Jarrow marchers set off for London in 1936. The tour gives people a rare chance to see the historic Jarrow March memorabilia and visit the Council Chamber with its magnificent stained-glass windows. The tour of Jarrow Town Hall is taking place on Tuesday 14 September, at 2pm.
Call the Civic Office on (0191) 424 7331 to book a place on a town hall tour.
Other highlights include a chance to join Whitburn Local History Group on a look inside the Grade II Listed Whitburn Windmill, which has undergone restoration work over recent years.
There are also special walks exploring the area's rich maritime history and Victorian parks. Historic buildings, such as South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade and local churches are also throwing open their doors and there is a number of online films for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own home.