Explore the past of these historic Sunderland sites

If it's heritage you're after, look no further than Sunderland.

Thursday, 25th August 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:59 pm
The acoustic mirror.

The city is rich in buildings which are steeped in history. And the good news is, they are open for the public to find out more.

Chris Cordner reports.

Inside the smithy's.

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This year’s annual series of Heritage Open Days are on the way next month.

Churches, a First World War acoustic mirror, a chance to look back on traditional shipbuilding skills, or view majestic castles, there is something for everyone.

The Heritage Open Days in Tyne and Wear project is a chance to find out more about the area’s history.

Here’s our first look at the line-up of events;

Inside the smithy's.

l When Sunderland came under attack from German Zeppelins, the city responded by building an early warning system.

The First World War Acoustic Mirror can be found at Fulwell, just off Newcastle Road. And it still stands today after being recently restored - 100 years on from the day the city was bombed.

It is one of only six acoustic mirrors built during the First World War that is still standing. Local history volunteers and costumed interpreters will be on hand to answer any questions when it is open from 9.30am to 4pm on Thursday, September 8.

l St Nicholas Church, in Queen Alexandra Road, is a grade II listed church was built in 1939.

It now has a complete set of magnificent stained glass windows. They were all were designed by the late Leonard Evetts and the glass came from Hartley Wood in Sunderland.

To find out more, why not come along from 2pm to 4pm on Friday, September 9, or from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, September 10.

l Another impressive church stands in Hendon.

The Parish Church of St Ignatius The Martyr is in Suffolk Street and people are invited to come and its majestic interior.

It was designed by C Hodgson Fowler and built in the Early English style, completed in 1889.

Notable features include the beautiful stained glass by Burlison and Grylls.

Come along to find out more on Thursday, September 8 from 10am to 4pm; on Friday, September 9, from 12pm to 4pm; Saturday, September 10 from 10am to 5pm; and Sunday, September 11, from 11.30am to 1pm.

l The shipbuilding industry holds a place in many people’s hearts.

Pay a visit to the Sunderland Maritime Heritage centre in Unit 2, Church Street East where traditional skills and techniques are on display in the busy boatyard.

But don’t just stand back and watch. People can have a go at traditional boat building activities such as caulking, copper roving, knots and splicing.

There will also be guided tours of the visitor centre and lots of competitions and activities throughout the days. Tea and coffee is available in the onsite cafe.

Get along between 10am and 4pm from Friday, September 9, to Sunday, September 11.

l Hetton Heritage Walk is on the way on Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, at 10am each.

This interesting walk starts at the Hetton Centre, which is on the old site of Hetton Hall, the residence of the Lyons family.

It continues for more than a mile and takes in heritage locations along the way.

The walk finishes at the refurbished 18th century Hetton Smithy, where there will be demonstrations by the owner blacksmith John Guy. Those who take part should wear suitable clothing and footwear.

People are being urged to pre-book by calling (0191) 5262804, emailing [email protected] or by visiting www.hettonlocalhistory.org.uk.

l People can also find out more about Hetton Smithy on Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, when there’s a chance to put questions to John Guy. The event is not suitable for children under 5,and people should come along from 10am to 2pm.

Watch out for more details on the open days tomorrow.