Explore Sunderland’s religious, political, industrial and cultural past during this year’s Heritage Open Days in Tyne and Wear.

To help meet growing public demand to book places on England’s largest free festival of culture and history, Heritage Open Days will take place over ten consecutive days this year between Friday 13 and Sunday 22 September 2019.

There will be events, activities and guided tours of landmark buildings and places significant to Sunderland’s history, cultural and industrial heritage as part of a wider regional programme.

Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “The annual programme of Heritage Open Days is hugely popular with people, allowing them the chance to discover more about some of our hidden historical and architectural gems.

Heritage Open Days

“The programme also includes guided walks through some of Sunderland’s most historic neighbourhoods, exhibitions, film footage looking  back at the opening of Wearmouth Bridge, summers at Seaburn in the 50’s, talks on the city’s 1960s musical heritage and guided tours of St Peter’s church who l helped shape medieval culture.

“There’s also the opportunity to visit the Sikh Temple in Ashbrooke, enjoy a hard hat tour of Holy Trinity Church and visit the Darwin Brewery in Southwick.”

To celebrate 25 years of Heritage Open Days and the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, the theme of People Power is also one of themes explored this year.

Heritage Open Days

Highlights of the Heritage Open Days programme in Sunderland Include:

  • The Radical North; A symposium of presentations to celebrate People Power, including topics such as leading local political figures from Sunderland’s history  John Lilburne, Tommy Hepburn, George Binns and James Williams.
  • Heritage walks including Bowes Railway, Ryhope, Elba Park, Hetton, Roker and a ‘geology walk’ around the city centre.
  • Open days at Darwin Brewery, Quaker Meeting House, Donnison School, Ryhope Pumping Station, Bowes Railway, Washington Old Hall and the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum.
  • Exploring Edwardian Bishopwearmouth with a guided walk through the city centre and Minster Quarter including a behind the scenes tour of the  Sunderland Empire Theatre with special appearance by a famous music hall star.
  • ‘Dare to Dream of Angels’; Sunderland Minster, High Street West Friday 13 Sept 11am – 1pm. Craft workshops to create angels of all types and sizes to decorate the church for the upcoming festival of Michaelmas, with the building also open for visitors to explore.
  • Late additions including St Nicholas church in Queen Alexandra Road which is celebrating its 80th anniversary and a tour of Sunderland Mosque in St Mark’s Road.
  • Visitors can also step back in time at Washington F Pit Museum to explore the region’s coal-mining heritage

Heritage Open Days

Councillor Kelly added: “These are just some of the 40 tours, events and activities taking place across Sunderland to bring local history and culture to life.

“There really is something for everyone, and I’d urge everyone to have a look at the website and see what’s on offer.”

The Heritage Open Days programme of events and activities is coordinated and promoted nationally by the National Trust, with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and run by local councils and community champions with lots of enthusiastic volunteers.

In Tyne & Wear, Heritage Open Days is co-ordinated by the regional local authorities Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland City Council, in association with Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Sunderland Heritage Forum and the Newcastle upon Tyne Association of City Guides.

To find out more please visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk or contact Janet Robinson/Trina Murphy on 0191 561 8413

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