It’s full steam ahead this August bank holiday weekend as a North East museum is opening its doors to celebrate a special anniversary event.
Ryhope Engines Museum in Sunderland is hosting a free public event in celebration of its 150th anniversary and offering visitors the chance to experience everything the Victorian water works has to offer.
The volunteer-run museum was built in 1868 and is classed as a Grade II (starred) listed building. It once supplied drinking water to Sunderland and surrounding areas but ceased operation in 1967 after 100 years of continuous use.
Every year, the museum holds Steaming Events around bank holiday weekends, when visitors can see the site in operation. The museum, which is owned by Northumbrian Water, is also open every Sunday until the end of December, from 2pm to 5pm, as a static exhibit.
The two 100 horsepower beam engines, built by R & W Hawthorn, can be seen working during opening weekends as well as three ′Lancashire′ boilers (from 1908), two of which are in regular use, a blacksmith′s forge, a waterwheel, numerous steam engines, pumps and waterworks accessories.
Keith Bell, Chairman of The Ryhope Engines Trust, said: "We are looking forward to opening our doors to the public this coming bank holiday weekend to help celebrate the Station’s 150th anniversary, 1868 – 2018. We would like to welcome as many visitors as possible to join in the celebrations of this milestone event and to enjoy the continuing preservation of this amazing regional industrial heritage site.
“I feel privileged to be part of the wonderful team of volunteers who give up their time, many times each week, in the preservation of this important heritage site and make it possible for the museum to open to the public.
“I would like to thank all of the volunteers, Northumbrian Water, See It Do It Sunderland, the North East Military Vehicle Club and the North East Classic Vehicle Society for their ongoing support in our preservation aims.”
Ryhope Engines Museum is open to the public from Saturday, August 25 to Monday, 27 August between 11.00am and 4.00pm and features a military vehicle show. The museum offers free limited parking and has improved access for visitors with mobility issues and parents with pushchairs.
For those wanting to really get involved, its best to arrive just before 11am on each of the opening days and help the volunteers start up the engines for the day.
Louise Hunter, Corporate Affairs Director at Northumbrian Water, said: “Ryhope Engines Museum is a great place to visit and is full of amazing heritage right here on our doorstep.
“We’re incredibly proud of the museum, it’s special anniversary and the partnership we have with the volunteers of The Ryhope Engines Trust who do a wonderful job in helping us to preserve it.”