First pictures from inside The Word as date is set for opening

South Tyneside's newest public building is due to open its doors to the public in October.

Tuesday, 12th July 2016, 2:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th July 2016, 3:12 pm
Work nears completion inside The Word

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, will open on Saturday October 22 with a series of exhibitions and activities.

The external structure and facade of the building, in South Shields Market Place, has been completed by main contractor Bowmer and Kirkland and the finishing touches are being put in place to the interior - including a contemporary chandelier in the central atrium and a feature staircase.

The Word

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Lighting, carpets and library shelving have all been fitted.

The Word is the centrepiece of the first phase of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan for South Tyneside.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council. said: “We are excited to be able to announce the opening date of The Word.

“This is a real milestone in the transformation of South Shields. Work is ongoing to bring forward the new transport interchange and improve our retail and leisure offer, all of which will create a vibrant, sustainable town centre which will give the private sector the confidence to invest.

The Word

“The Word will have both regional and national significance and will reinforce the borough’s position as a major cultural destination.

“We are looking forward to being able to welcome visitors from near and far."

The cultural centre, which incorporates library and digital media space, will boast a range of facilities including exhibition space, a computer gaming area, a FabLab with 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area,a, cafe, rooftop restaurant and terrace with views over the river.

David Wells, regional director at developer Muse Developments, added, “Behind this iconic building, which represents the aspirations of the people of South Shields to regenerate their town centre, is an incredible amount of hard work by all parties concerned and, as partners with South Tyneside Council, we’re very excited to see the first phase of the regeneration programme open to the public.”

Details of the opening day programme will be revealed closer to the time.