Historic South Shields site set to open to public after Lottery-funded revamp

Visitors are being invited to take a look around a newly-restored historic landmark in South Tyneside.

St Hilda's Colliery open day. Harton and Westoe Banner Group's Ronnie Patterson
St Hilda's Colliery open day. Harton and Westoe Banner Group's Ronnie Patterson

St Hilda’s Pit Head will open to the public on Thursday to put on show the work that has gone on inside the venue.

The open day will also see the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to St Hilda’s Colliery Band who went on to win the World Band Championships five times in 1912, 1920, 1921, 1924 and 1926.

It is feat which has never been equalled.

John Taylor nominated the band for the Blue Plaque and will be present for its unveiling.

He said: “My own grandfather and father played in the Hilda Colliery Band and I am proud to actually own one of those world championship medals.

“There are many descendants of the band members still resident in the Borough and I know they would value such a tribute to their family members.”

The open day will also celebrate a key milestone of the National Lottery supported restoration of St Hilda’s Pit Head - the completion of the first phase of the project, which has been made possible by Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, with funding from South Tyneside Council, the National Lottery through a £548,200 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and others.

Coun Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “It is wonderful to see St Hilda’s Pit Head given a new lease of life and transformed into what is now a vibrant new centre for the local community to enjoy.”

The day starts at 11am and features a pit pony, pop choir, ukulele and art workshops.