The annual, national programme which gives people the chance of a glimpse behind the scenes of historic buildings, businesses and organisations was launched in 1994, and is the country’s largest free celebration of architecture, history and culture.

The Tyne and Wear programme co-ordinated by local authorities and organisations from across the region and in partnership with local history volunteers began fifteen years ago, and has grown in popularity to become one of the largest in the UK. This year there are almost 200 venues taking part across Tyne and Wear.

On a national level, the event is managed by the National Trust and the People’s Postcode Lottery.

In Tyne & Wear, the event is co-ordinated by the Councils of Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland, in association with Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, NE1, RIBA North East, Sunderland Heritage Forum and the Newcastle upon Tyne Association of City Guides. This is the third year the event has been sponsored by the Port of Tyne.

Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Tyne, Andrew Moffat, said: ” We are pleased to be able to support Heritage Open Days once again and help visitors see and enjoy unique places all over the North East that are not normally open to the public.”

To help promote this year’s Tyne and Wear Heritage Open Days (HOD) programme, the Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Alan Emerson hosted a regional launch event at Sunderland Minster in High Street West, Sunderland on Thursday (1 September) evening.

The Mayor gave a welcome speech to more than 60 invited guests including local TV presenter and architectural historian John Grundy, and volunteers, organisers and sponsors involved in the HOD 2016 programme of events and activities https://www.hodstw.org.uk/.

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “This hugely popular annual event provides public access to historic archives, buildings and local landmarks usually kept behind closed doors.

“It’s an unmissable opportunity for residents and visitors to get a glimpse behind the scenes, and perhaps get a better understanding and appreciation of our community’s rich cultural heritage.

” Heritage Open Days help to generate a lot of interest with people keen to come along and find out more, and get involved with a wide range of unusual and unique activities.”

Councillor Kelly added: ” This year we have everything from making a map of the area based on your personal recollections and experiences growing up here and heritage walks through some of our oldest parks and neighbourhoods, to lending an ear for Zeppelins at the fully restored First World War Acoustic Mirror at Fulwell and visiting a traditional local brewery.”

Venues, events and activities in Sunderland include;

  • First World War Acoustic Mirror at Fulwell
  • North East Land, Sea and Air Museum
  • Mackem Maps
  • Darwin Brewery Open Day
  • Hetton Smithy
  • Bowes Railway
  • Sunderland Geology guided walk

(For more information on Heritage Open Days in Tyne and Wear please visit www.hodstw.org.uk)