Delight as Sunderland's much-loved Ryhope Engines Museum reopens for first time in 900 days

After 900 days of closure due to Covid-19 and works on site, Sunderland’s much-loved Ryhope Engines Museum has once again been welcoming visitors over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

By Neil Fatkin
Saturday, 16th April 2022, 5:08 pm

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The pumping station, now owned by Northumbrian Water, was built in 1868 and supplied drinking water to Sunderland and the surrounding areas for 100 years.

While the pump, which extracted water from 250 metres below the ground, is no longer required, visitors can still see its mechanics in action along with other steam powered engines form the Victorian era.

They can also experience a blacksmith's forge and waterwheel, used to harness the power of flowing water. Across the Easter weekend, the museum is also hosting a classic car rally.

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Keith Bell, 64, Chairman of Ryhope Engines Trust, said: “We’re delighted to see people back to enjoy our wonderful spectacle. Good Friday was the first time we’ve reopened to the public for 900 days and we’ve been really busy.

"We’ve remained closed for various reasons – mainly the Covid pandemic – but as volunteers we’ve spent nearly three years preparing for this moment.”

Keith, who has been a volunteer at the museum since 1971, believes it has a pivotal role to play in preserving the region’s heritage.

Ryhope Engines Museum has opened to visitors for first time since the onset of Covid restrictions.

He added: “Northumbrian Water still supplies water from this site which means it has performed this vital role for 150 years. It’s a very important part of our regional heritage.”

One visitor returning to the museum after a near three-year-absence is former primary school headteacher and now Education Researcher, Mark Frazer.

Mark, 49, said: “I’ve been coming here every Easter since I was a child and it’s great to support such a fantastic building. The volunteers are always so welcoming and as a former teacher these attractions are really important for people to learn about the history of their area.”

Millen Green, seven, visiting Ryhope Engines Museum.

Bikers Aaron Barker, 29, Ian Rushden, 64 and Rick Womersley, 29, decided to take in the museum as part of a drive from their home town of Selby in North Yorkshire.

Ian said: “This pumping engine was built for no other purpose than to provide people in Sunderland with clean drinking water. I think it’s important people don’t forget that.”

Keith confirmed admission to the museum is free “thanks to the generous support of Northumbrian Water”.

Former primary school headteacher Mark Frazer, 49, has been visiting Ryhope Engines Museum since he was a child.
Bikers Aaron Barker, 29, Ian Rushden, 64, and Rick Womersley, 29, decided to visit the museum as part of a ride out from their home town of Selby in North Yorkshire.
Despite living all of his life in Ryhope, Jeff Wright paid his first visit to the re-opened Ryhope Pumping Station on Saturday, with Joyce Snaith.