SCORES of people took up the opportunity to have a peek into South Tyneside’s past.
For the 12th year running, the borough took part in the annual Heritage Open Days campaign, to give people a look into yesteryear.
Nineteen local businesses and historical spots opened their doors and invited the public to find out what they get up to.
The Mayor Of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson, paid a visit to the former St Hilda’s Colliery in South Shields – which took him back to his roots as a miner.
He also had a look at South Shields Old Town Hall in Market Place.
Coun Gibson said: “Being a former pitman, I appreciate how important heritage is for a community, so the open days are a wonderful opportunity for everyone to celebrate the heritage around us.
“Heritage and tradition are essential parts of being Mayor, which is why I requested the customary Mayoral robes to be reintroduced after almost 40 years.
“I’ve always felt passionately about the abundance of heritage we are lucky to have in South Tyneside.”
Also delving into the dark were groups at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery in Ocean Road.
Staff took the visitors on a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum and went down into the basement.
Angus McDonald, museum assistant, said: “I explained when the museum was first built in 1859/60 it was originally a mechanics’ union hall.
“We then went down into the basement, and they got to see the caretaker’s original fireplace, which was discovered a few years ago, before they had a look in the art stores.
“Everyone seemed really interested. I think the tours are a great way for folk to see things that they wouldn’t normally have the chance to look at.”