A north east museum owned by Northumbrian Water, is expecting to welcome thousands of people through its doors this Easter weekend when it opens for the first time in 900 days.

Due to the pandemic, seasonal closures and refurbishment work on site, Ryhope Engines Museum in Sunderland has been unable to open for public steaming events since October 2019.


Ryhope Engines Museum


The site is now ready to open and is a wonderful example of local heritage – with visitors having the chance to see everything this fine Victorian water works has to offer and all for free.  


The volunteer-run museum was built in 1868 and once supplied drinking water to Sunderland and the surrounding areas for 100 years.


Ross Smith, Partnerships Manager at Northumbrian Water, said: “Ryhope Engines Museum is a wonderful place to visit and it’s fantastic to see the site re-opening to the public in almost three years. 


“We’re incredibly proud of the museum and of the partnership we have with the volunteers of The Ryhope Engines Trust who do a fantastic job in helping us to preserve it for generations to come.”


The museum generally opens to the public for steaming events around Bank Holiday weekends, when visitors can see the site in full operation - thanks to dedicated volunteers who help Northumbrian Water preserve it. The site also opens to the public as a static exhibit every Sunday, from Easter until the end of December, between 2pm and 5pm.


Visitors can expect to see two 100 horsepower beam engines built by R & W Hawthorn, three 'Lancashire' boilers dating from 1908 (two of which are in regular use), a blacksmith's forge with demonstrations, a waterwheel, numerous steam engines, pumps and waterworks accessories.


Keith Bell, Chairman of Ryhope Engines Trust, said: "Our volunteers are working hard to get everything ready for the Easter opening weekend and are looking forward to opening our doors to visitors for the first time in 900 days.


“We are taking a precautionary approach to re-opening to help protect our volunteers and visitors. There will be plenty of hand sanitiser available for visitors to use around the site and we’ve decided to temporarily close our small, cosy tearoom for people to sit inside. We will still be offering the same service of freshly made food, homemade cakes and drinks but this will be as a takeaway option for visitors to enjoy sitting outside with additional seating in the large coalhouse gallery.


"There is something here for everyone including a classic vehicle show on Sunday which we have organised in partnership with Sunderland and District Classic Vehicle Society."


Ryhope Engines Museum is open from Friday, April 15 to Monday, 18 April 2022 between 11am to 4pm with free parking which is limited. Improved access is available for visitors with mobility issues and parents with pushchairs.


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


There is a now an event hotline 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 in 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