Four special projects to celebrate South Tyneside's heritage are to share in a bumper Lottery pay-out.
Thanks to the shared Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)'s £670,000 grant, St Hilda’s Colliery Headstock will be saved and given a secure future; Arbeia Fort will be regenerated with help from local communities; the role the area played in protecting the East Coast War Channels during the First World War will be remembered, and forgotten folklore, fairy-tales and proverbs from a diverse range of communities will be collected by young women.
With fewer National Lottery funding awards and applications compared to the rest of the North East, South Tyneside is currently a priority area for funding for HLF and staff are working closely with organisations in the area to develop strong applications and ensure South Tyneside’s heritage stories get the recognition they deserve.
Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: "These four projects demonstrate just how diverse and important South Tyneside’s heritage is – and why we are so keen for more groups to come forward with their ideas.
"And from creative inspiration in iconic Souter Lighthouse to a walk in the park with a heritage twist, these events offer a unique opportunity to see how National Lottery players’ money is helping to tell South Tyneside’s stories and a fantastic chance to get involved in those stories."
Projects awarded National Lottery funding are:
*Restoration of St Hilda’s Colliery Headstock: £548,200 for Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT)
One of the few remaining buildings associated with the mining industry in South Tyneside, St Hilda’s Colliery Headstock is currently empty and at risk of deterioration.
The Grade II Listed building will be restored and given a sustainable future part of the local economy with studio and office space. Original features will be saved including the former lift shaft and cage which will become a mini-museum. Open days, concerts and school visits will ensure the heritage of South Tyneside’s mining community is remembered.
*Arbeia Fort: £71,800 for Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives
Built in 160AD, Arbeia Roman Fort was the supply-base for Hadrian’s Wall at the mouth of the River Tyne and is one of the most extensively excavated sites in the north of the Roman Empire.
Now the fort is set to start a new chapter thanks to the National Lottery grant. As well as improvements to the display of the Roman remains, the project will enable people in South Tyneside and beyond to walk in the shoes of Romans.
A wildflower heritage meadow will be planted to give people an idea of the landscape in which the fort was set and a Roman market festival event will bring the sights and sounds of the era to life. A seafront interpretation hub, audio visual displays and a variety of events for people of all ages will ensure that Arbeia Fort’s fascinating place in the history books is revived for today’s community.
*East Coast War Channels: £9,900 for the National Trust
Stretching from beyond the Tyne to the Thames, the East Coast War Channels protected ships which took vital coal southwards during the First World War.
During this time. German U-boats sank over a thousand boats and ships in the channels – and many shipwrecks still lie on the seabed. Building on existing research into the wrecks, this project will explore the vital – but often forgotten – role of people from South Tyneside who lived, worked and died to protect the channels.
From researching on-shore defences to taking part in creative writing sessions at Souter Lighthouse, people of all ages will be able to get involved in ensuring their community’s contribution is not forgotten.
*Forgotten folklore, fairy tales and proverbs: £39,700 for Compact for Race Equality in South Tyneside (CREST)
Devised and led by the Aspire Group (made up of 25 black, Asian and minority ethnic women aged 15 to 20) this project aims to collect stories, traditions and tales from a diverse range of cultures before they are lost.
Examples of stories include the Lambton Worm and folklore from rural Bangladesh. Working particularly with older generations, the group will develop storytelling and creative writing skills to share the stories and build bridges between different cultures in the South Tyneside community.