Ryhope Engines Museum is open to the public this bank holiday weekend and everyone is invited.
Entry to the museum is free of charge and with free parking and lots to see and do, it’s a great way for the family to spend the weekend.
The museum, which is owned by Northumbrian Water, is regarded as one of the finest industrial monuments in the North East of England, and is in a Grade II (starred) listed building.
It is located at the former Ryhope Pumping Station which was built in 1868 to supply water to the Sunderland area.
The station ceased operation in 1967 - after 100 years of continuous use and although the station no longer pumps water, the two 100 horsepower beam engines are kept in working order by volunteer members of the Ryhope Engines Trust, and ′steamed′ periodically for the benefit of visitors.
As well as the beam engines, built by R & W Hawthorn, the museum houses three ′Lancashire′ boilers (from 1908) two of which are in regular use, a blacksmith′s forge, a waterwheel, numerous steam engines and pumps, waterworks accessories such as depth recorders, and many items concerned with the distribution and uses of water in home and industry.
The museum recently benefitted from a series of improvements made as a result of a £26,958 grant from Northumbrian Water.
Delivered through the Tyne & Wear and Northumberland Community Foundation, the money comes from legacy Landfill Tax funds, which have been made available to support community organisations.
Visitors with mobility issues, and parents with push chairs, are now able to gain improved access to the museum as a result of a new passenger lift, with an easy to open sliding door and steps.
People who are unable to climb stairs also benefit from a new IT network that opens up access to collections on upper floors of the engine house, using technology including personal tablets and smart phones.
The museum will be open between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, is completely free to enter and visitors of all ages can learn about the history of the station and get ‘hands on’ with the engines and exhibits.
For those who want to really get involved, arrive just before 11am on each of the days and you can help staff start up the engines for the day.
The museum also has a fantastic tea rooms and even a family of resident ducks living in the grounds of the 19th Century building!
The postcode for the site is SR2 0ND and for more information on the museum visit www.ryhopeengines.org.uk