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Sunderland Ryhope Engines Museum to reopen for Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations despite being hit by fire - venue will also host steampunk fair

A muched-loved museum is gearing up to reopen for a jam-packed Jubilee weekend – jut weeks after a set back when a small blaze broke out during its last event.

Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 12:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 3:32 pm

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Ryhope Engines Museum reopened for the first time in almost three years at Easter, after the pandemic, seasonal closures and refurbishment work meant it had remained closed for 900 days.

But during the opening weekend, museum volunteers were devastated to discover the fire, which had started because of spontaneous combustion, despite stringent safety procedures being in place.

The problem is well-documented phenomenon which can affect stockpiled coal, and the fire started deep inside the closed coal bunker overnight,

Volunteers ready for jubilee weekend.

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    Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were on the scene quickly to put the fire out.

    But the coal bunker itself was damaged, along with the boiler house door and some electrics.

    Thankfully none of the historic boilers or pipework that make up the heart of the museum were affected.

    Keith Bell, Chairman of Ryhope Engines Museum, said: “We were devastated to find the small fire in the boiler house over Easter, especially with it being our grand reopening following 900 days of closure.

    Repair work at the museum after the fire.

    “However, thanks to the passionate work and dedication from our amazing volunteers, and the longstanding partnership support from Northumbrian Water, we’ve been able to repair a lot of the damage and are looking forward to supporting the Queen’s Jubilee and opening to the public once again.

    “We’re also very excited about our first Steampunk market this weekend too, in partnership with David Smith’s Steampunk Events.

    “Everyone is welcome along - including your four-legged companions, as long as they are friendly and well behaved.”

    The museum, which was built in 1868 and supplied drinking water to Sunderland and the surrounding areas for 100 years, usually only opens to the public around bank holiday weekends.

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

    This bank holiday, Ryhope Engines Museum will be open free of charge for the full four days, from Thursday, June 2 until Sunday, June 5, between 11am and 4pm.

    Visitors will be able watch the hypnotic motion of two 100 horsepower beam engines operating at full speed, find out about the three 'Lancashire' boilers, dating from 1908, join the blacksmith’s forge demonstrations, and much more.

    A Steampunk event will also be held at the museum on Saturday 4 June and Sunday 5 June for the first time, with a range of market stalls, fun activities, and wonderful costumes on display.

    Ryhope Engines Museum is open from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5, 2022, between 11am and 4pm with free parking, which is limited. Improved access is available for visitors with mobility issues and parents with pushchairs.

    Victorian engineering at its best can be seen at the Ryhope Engines Museum.

    Those wanting to really get involved, can arrive just before 11am on each of the opening days and help the volunteers start up the engines for the day.

    There is now an event number for people to call if they wish to get in touch to find out more information, which is 07759 309 990. This number should only be called during steaming events and between the hours of 9am and 4pm.

    The postcode for the site is SR2 0ND and for more information about the museum, please visit www.ryhopeengines.org.uk