Port of Tyne prepares for Heritage Open Days 201107 Sep 2011
The Port of Tyne is expecting an influx of visitors to both attractions, with Tynemouth Lighthouse tours already fully booked, and only a few places remaining for the Swing Bridge.
Running since 1994, Heritage Open Days offer the public the rare opportunity to explore parts of their local history, architecture and culture they would not normally have the chance to access, and all entirely free of charge.
Both locations have played a significant part in Tyne and Wear's rich history, and the Port of Tyne is keen to open them as part of its ongoing commitment to the community.
Built as we know it today between the years 1873 - 1876, Newcastle's Swing Bridge is in fact the fourth bridge to operate on the same site of the Tyne, the first of which was built in 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian, while Tynemouth Lighthouse was completed in 1896 and is still operational today.
The Port of Tyne has been involved in the open days for many years, annually opening the Swing Bridge and allowing visitors into its motor, pump and engine rooms as part of an exciting and free tour led by George Fenwick, Swing Bridge engineer.
Only more recently has Tynemouth Lighthouse been part of the open day programme, opening its doors to the public in 2008 following a renovation; the first time the general public have been able to set foot in the building for one hundred years. Visitors can enjoy spectacular views from the top of the lighthouse out to sea and over Tynemouth, and experience an informative tour led by Tynemouth lighthouse's pier watchman Mel Powles.
Judging by comments from previous years, this year's visitors have a great day in store. Comments from previous Swing Bridge tours include "excellent," "brilliant," and, "looking forward to next year already," while the Wilkinson's from Tynemouth commented of their trip to Tynemouth Lighthouse, "We've waited a lifetime (76 years) for this! Mel was an excellent guide, and the tour was worth waiting for!"
This year's tours run between 8th and 11th September. Those interested in booking tours must do so in advance through North Tyneside and Newcastle's separate tourist information centres.