Can you help piece together history of Bilton Hall?

One of the school classes from Bilton School
One of the school classes from Bilton School

Young people are hoping to take a step back in time by delving into the history of a South Tyneside community centre.

Bilton Hall first opened its doors as an infant school back in the 1950s for youngsters living on the Low Simonside estate in Jarrow.

Low Simonside Community Centre

Low Simonside Community Centre

Now, those involved with the centre are hoping people with connections with the former school will come forward and share their memories.

The building went on to become Low Simonside Community Association in 1979 when the school’s pupils transferred to Simonside Primary School.

In recent years, the CA changed its name to Bilton Hall Community Trust.

The move was taken after South Tyneside Council handed over management of the building to a group set up to save the venue from closure, due to the local authority no longer being able to fund it.

The young people became involved and have taken ownership of the project and have spoken about what they want to do.

Diane Gray

The history project is being funded by a grant from the Community Foundation and will see young people record the memories of those who attended the school as well as create a time capsule which will be buried within the grounds.

Diane Gray, Director of Community Arts Project North East C.I.C, which is supporting the young people with the project, said: “When the group was based at Bilton Hall, we started into the history of the building, and it’s really gone from there.

“The young people became involved and have taken ownership of the project and have spoken about what they want to do.

“What they are planning on doing is collecting people’s memories which will be put together as a presentation, as well as create a time capsule which will be buried on the site for future generations.”

A school class from yesteryear

A school class from yesteryear

A coffee morning has been organised to take place on Thursday, February 21, at Bilton Hall Community Trust from 11am until 1pm.

The group are hoping people will come along with old photographs of the building to share as well as be open to telling their stories from either their time at the school or the centre.

Centre Manager Joanna Tuck said: “The young people are interested in the history of Bilton Hall and the part it’s playing within the community.

“The project is an opportunity for inter generational working and to find out more about how it went from an infant school to a community centre.”

Bilton Hall became a Trust in 2017, it currently attracts more than 20,000 visits each year from people throughout South Tyneside.