Explore South Tyneside’s heritage for free

Jarrow Town Hall
Jarrow Town Hall

History enthusiasts can explore the rich architecture and culture of South Tyneside.

The annual Heritage Open Days (HODs) will be returning from Thursday, September 10 to 13.

The event provides people with a unique opportunity to discover and enjoy, sometimes hidden and often curious, interesting architectural treasures, with free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.

This year South Tyneside has a great variety of fascinating buildings, events, activities, tours and walks taking place across nearly 30 local venues as part of the four-day celebration.

Coun Alan Kerr, lead member for culture and leisure at South Tyneside Council, said: “Heritage Open Days offers people a once in a year chance to explore South Tyneside’s wonderful architectural treasures and enjoy a wide range of free events and activities that bring local history to life.

“We have a great wealth of fascinating buildings, places and attractions that capture our rich and diverse heritage, and I am delighted to see that so many of them are taking part this year. There is a wide variety of events being held and I’m sure it will be a busy weekend for the borough.

“Whether people are into history, architecture, culture or just want to know more about the area, Heritage Open Days offers a rare opportunity to go and have a closer look at some of the fantastic heritage we have here in South Tyneside.”

New to this year’s programme of events is the Eco Centre in Hebburn, which is one of Europe’s most environmentally-friendly buildings, and the new Hebburn Central facility, where residents can explore the rich industrial heritage of the town.

Dicksons family butchers is also offering people a chance to have a tour of their factory at Middlefields Industrial Estate, while local artist Graham Hodgson will be giving people a rare opportunity to see him at work on a large scale painting using oil on canvas at Hawthorn Arts in Westoe Road, South Shields.

Those interested in local history can enjoy a tour of Jarrow Town Hall, take a Victorian Heritage Walk around the North and South Marine Parks or see a series of heritage films at Central Library in South Shields.

A number of church buildings are also taking part include the significant St Paul’s Church and Monastic Site in Jarrow, Jarrow Grange Christ Church, St Nicholas Church in West Boldon and All Saints’ Church in Cleadon. Others include St Mark & St Cuthbert’s Church in South Shields, St Hilda’s Church in South Shields Market Place and St Peter’s Church where people can learn about the history of Harton Village.

Other attractions include the borough’s sustainable business premises, One Trinity Green as well as South Shields Museum, Westovian Theatre, South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade Watch House, The Mission to Seafarers, North East Maritime Trust, Arbeia Roman Fort, The Customs House, Jarrow Salvation Army and Bede’s World.

This year’s event marks the 14th anniversary of HODs in Tyne and Wear and is being sponsored by Port of Tyne and supported by the five district councils, Barber Foundation and Primary Times Magazine. There are more than 190 buildings and activities involved.

Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne chief executive officer, said: “We are once again proud to be supporting the annual cultural trail across Tyne and Wear. It is very special to be involved with hundreds of heritage events and site openings allowing the public to get into both the unusual and familiar places for free.”

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 and the Visitor Information Centre at Haven Point, South Shields.