Memories take pride of place at new Hebburn hub

Kathryn Hodgkinson.
Kathryn Hodgkinson.

Glimpses of Hebburn, past and present, are on display in the town’s new multi-million pound community facility.

A public art exhibition depicting local people’s memories and stories about the area has been installed at Hebburn Central.

Artist Kathryn Hodgkinson has created Built with Pride – The People’s Archive, using residents’ photos and words as inspiration.

She was commissioned by South Tyneside Council to produce the 18 installations each of which features a ‘collage’ of images and text to reflect Hebburn’s heritage, spanning 150 years.

Kathryn said: “The collages are all based around certain themes, such as allotments, childhood, pit ponies, shipbuilding and athletics.

“Some are very specific – for example one is called Eight Kids And One Father which is based on newspaper reports and photos taken from the library archive about a mother who had died, leaving her young family behind.

“The content is a mix of contemporary and archival, taken from snippets of memories, photos and descriptions. I’m hoping it will really engage people’s curiosity.”

Kathryn gathered material for the exhibition by holding open sessions with residents and meeting schools, community groups and Jarrow and Hebburn Local History Society.

The boxes, which are composed from screen printed glass, etched words and light, are on display in the library of the new £13million building which was officially opened this week by the Mayor, Coun Richard Porthouse and Paralympic gold-medal winning swimmer Josef Craig. Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “Hebburn Central is a real community facility at the heart of the town.

“These works of art really capture the spirit of the town and its people, both past and present.

“It is wonderful that local people have had a real input into this exhibition, which will be a permanent fixture in the library.”

The two-storey building includes a six-lane swimming pool, a learner pool with bubble pools, sauna and steam room, fitness suite, sports hall, dance studio, soft play area, library, learning centre and cafe, as well as meeting rooms, a customer service centre and an outdoor multi-use games area.