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Exploring our heritage10 Sep 2009

Every September Heritage Open Days organised with English Heritage offers free access to thousands of places and events right across the country.

 

The event provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy these sometimes hidden, often curious and always interesting buildings, and the variety of places and ways to discover them are endless.

Philip Kelvin, Chairman of the Civic Trust, says "Heritage Open Days is about people and places; it celebrates community and reflects the importance of the built environment in our lives and to our quality of life. It is organised by local people who dedicate their spare time to opening properties and staging activities and it is their knowledge and enthusiasm that makes Heritage Open Days happen."

The Port of Tyne has been taking part in the open days for many years, opening the Swing Bridge to visitors and allowing people to see the motor room. The bridge was designed and constructed by Sir W.G. Armstrong and Company Limited, and opened to river traffic in 1876. The tours of the Swing Bridge always prove to be popular. George Fenwick - Bridge Engineer says "I really enjoy showing visitors around the bridge and explaining about the history, people are always amazed at the brass and how everything is kept in perfect working order".

Last year Rob McMahon, Port Engineer decided that it would be good to open Tynemouth Lighthouse, as he explains "The Lighthouse on the North Pier was renovated during 2008 and since it was first built has never really been opened to the public, I thought this was good enough as ever to open it to visitors, the first time in over 100 years".

The lighthouse will be opened to the public again on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th September and the tours are already fully booked with many people who have walked the pier on a daily basis but never had the chance to see inside the lighthouse.

The pier watchman, Mel Powles is keen to show people around and those lucky enough to visit can enjoy spectacular views from the top out to sea and over Tynemouth, but a head for heights is recommended.

Visitors to the lighthouse last year included Mrs White from Whitley Bay who said "Lovely to see where my Grandfather and father worked". Phil Dobbs from Bristol said "It was absolutely brilliant".

The Port of Tyne has a strong commitment to the community and hopes that visitors to Heritage Open Days enjoy exploring The Swing Bridge and Tynemouth Lighthouse.

Please note that tours were pre-booked in advance through Tourist Information Centres. Unfortunately all of the tours are fully booked, for further information on next years event please visit http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/.

For further information contact:

Lisa Donohoe Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
Tel: 0191 455 2671 Mobile: 07912 390777 Email: lisa.donohoe@portoftyne.co.uk

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