A popular South Tyneside tourist attraction is set to re-open eight months after it closed due to financial problems.
Jarrow’s former Bede’s World will welcome back visitors in October, under the management and guidance of charity Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle (STAN).
Renamed Jarrow Hall – Anglo Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum, it will have more interactive events to broaden its appeal as a unique family-orientated visitor experience – with added elements to secure its commercial viability. The site's shock closure in February saw people from across the globe signing a petition for it to be saved.
The museum and Anglo Saxon Farm will continue to celebrate Bede’s life and times and will be complemented by engaging and innovative education programmes, diverse and inspirational community events – and even act as a unique events space for weddings, celebrations and conferences.
It will also become home to a creative community of likeminded people who can celebrate the arts through artisan units for hire, rolling artistic exhibitions and creative workshops in which visitors can practice arts and heritage crafts.
Andrew Watts, chief Executive Groundwork STAN, said: “This is a new dawn for this well-known, well-loved and highly important history centre.
“Thanks to the hard work behind the scenes by Groundwork, South Tyneside Council and Northpoint, the insolvency firm dealing with the former Bede’s World charity, all of which have shown a genuine dedication and passion to securing the site’s long-term future, it is able to reopen.
“It is essential that its celebration of the life of the Venerable Bede, through the museum, farm and other educational services, remains a key element of its work, but recent history has shown that it must have wider appeal.
“The site has many amazing features and attractions which will be reflected in a new calendar of activities and events.
“This will include special themed events from Beowulf, myths, legends and vicious Vikings encounters, to folk and food festivals, an exciting educational programme for schools, creative community arts and heritage skills workshops, space for businesses to work from, and a unique events space for weddings, celebrations and conferences.”
He added: “I’m convinced that under Groundwork’s strong and direct management, Jarrow Hall will be the success that so many people want it to be.
“It is a centre of significance and importance to the people of this region, who cherish their history and identity. They want a landmark, celebrating one of the region’s most renowned figures, to prosper.”
Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “This is really positive news for South Tyneside. I am delighted that the council has been able to play such a pivotal role in re-opening and re-developing this well-loved cultural attraction.
“There are exciting plans afoot to reinvigorate and broaden the site’s historical and educational appeal while ensuring that the Anglo Saxon Life, and the Venerable Bede, remains at the heart of Jarrow Hall.
“The new activities and events will make this a truly family oriented experience, ensuring there is something for everyone across all generations.
“This new multi-faceted venue will also be a place for local artisans to showcase their work and can even be the perfect place for a wedding. We believe Jarrow Hall can offer it all.”
The level of interest from businesses across the North East wanting to support the re-opening has been so strong that Groundwork is to showcase Jarrow Hall to them on the evening of Thursday, September 8.
The event will allow businesses to find out more about how they can work with Groundwork to broaden the site’s appeal to visitors, and organisations wishing to attend should register their interest by August 31 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.