Sunderland's historical gems which are baring their secrets for Heritage Open Days

Some jewels in the crown of Sunderland's heritage are opening their doors to the public.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 6:00 am
Visitors can peek inside the Masonic temple in Queen Street East between September 16-21, 10am to 2pm.

As part of the nationwide Heritage Open Days, this is a chance to look at a number of historically significant sites which are part of Sunderland's Heritage Action Zone.

The zone was set up in 2017 to breathe new life into the area around Sunderland's historic Fawcett Street and Old Sunderland which takes in High Street East and High Street West.

The locations opening up include the Grade I listed 1785 Queen Street East Masonic Hall, the oldest purpose-built Masonic temple in the world which still has virtually all of its original features.

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Hard hat tours of the 1719 Holy Trinity Church, Church Street East, take place on Saturday, September 14, 10.30am to 3pm.

There is a hard hat tour of the Holy Trinity Church in Church Street East, first opened in 1719 for the newly created parish of Sunderland.

Visitors can see the Donnison School Heritage and Education Centre, next to to Holy Trinity and established for 36 poor girls in 1798. It includes a Georgian schoolroom and the 1827 Headmistress House.

At 170 High Street West is Mini-manifestos, inspired by the theme of people power. This is a hands-on session for mini-activists with the opportunity to hear stories of Sunderland’s own Rebel Girls and design your own placards, badges and manifestos.

At the same address is A History of the High Street. This is an illustrated talk on the changing character of Sunderland's high streets, highlighting the city's architectural and historic interest.

Sunderland Maritime Heritage at 2 Church Street East, is offering the chance to see traditional shipbuilding skills and techniques in a busy and active boatyard. Children and adults can try traditional boat building activities such as caulking, copper roving, knots and splicing.

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Sunderland City Council's cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said: "We are very lucky to have some amazing historic buildings in our Heritage Action Zone.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for people to take a closer look at buildings they may be aware of but have never been inside."

Kate Wilson from Historic England in the North East, said: "It’s exciting to see so many historically important buildings in the Heritage Action Zone being opened to the public. Each one of them tells part of the fascinating story of Sunderland’s past."

These events take place at various dates and times between September 13 and 22. All events are free, although some must be booked in advance.

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