THE magic of what once was a regular sight in North East towns and villages is being brought back to life in an exciting new exhibition opening next week ( 2 July).

The History of Parades and Carnivals in the North East exhibition will tell the tale of an almost forgotten era when it opens its doors at South Shields Museum.

Organised by South Shields production company, Creative Seed and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, it will examine the history and social impact of the parades and marches which were once held regularly across the region.

These included everything from village carnivals in the small communities to the large miners’ galas which would see whole towns turn out into the streets to enjoy the party.

Creative Seed has spent several months researching and compiling memories of this almost-forgotten era, and the exhibition features a collection of photos and video footage of these parades, some of which date back to decades

“It’s been a very exciting journey for us, and we’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and hear some fantastic stories,” said Garner Harris, director at Creative Seed.

“Although many younger people today won’t really know, the village parades and carnivals were big events once upon a time, and it was something which would bring the whole community together.

“It wasn’t unusual to see big parades by villagers and handmade floats, while local young peoples’ jazz bands would also march. In the mining areas you could expect to see the local brass bands taking part and people carrying the big banners It was a wonderful thing which has, sadly, almost been forgotten.

“Our exhibition has been created to remind people of this big part of our history, and we’re confident that it will evoke lots of memories for people old enough to remember the era, along with helping teach the younger generation a little about the past.”