A PROGRAMME of free events will celebrate Sunderland’s rich history this month as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture.

The festival begins Friday 9 September, and events will run until Sunday 18 September.

This year’s theme is Astounding Inventions – it will showcase England’s history of innovation and celebrate the creations that make our lives easier as well as the imaginative inventors behind them.

As a city of astounding inventions and home to Joseph Swan who invented the incandescent Lightbulb, Sunderland is well placed to bring a programme of events including talks, heritage walks, guided tours and visits to places significant to the city’s history, cultural and industrial heritage.

There are opportunities to immerse yourself in the city’s history with industrial workshops on blacksmithing, joinery and wagon restoration or try craft workshops where you can learn to create ‘proggy mats’.

Visitors can take a vintage bus trip to Ryhope Engines Museum, Washington F Pit, Bowes Railway Museum and the North East Land Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM), enjoy interactive experiences including a guided walk around old Ryhope with best-selling Sunderland author Glenda Young, or try turning the quern and making some flour at Fulwell Mill.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, Councillor Linda Williams, said: “This year’s Heritage Open Days really has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in crafts, art, heritage walks, industrial workshops, or simply learning more about Sunderland’s history in the fantastic Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, there is so much on offer this year.

“Places are sure to fill up for these brilliant events so I’d encourage everyone to take a look at the full events programme online and book to secure a spot.”

Liam Montgomery, Heritage Open Days Marketing & Projects Manager says: “The festival is just around the corner and it is fantastic to see that our community is putting on a staggering 4,500+ events, with more than 500 focusing on our Astounding Inventions theme. Whether it’s a doorstep discovery, a local curiosity, a world-famous attraction or a one-of-a-kind experience – there really is something for everyone this year.”

Tracey Mienie, Chair of Heritage Sunderland Partnership, said: “Sunderland has such a rich and diverse heritage offer. As a partnership in heritage, we are excited to bring an exciting array of events with something for everyone. I would encourage you to support your favourite heritage venues but also try something new.”

A full programme of events is available at https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/heritageopendays.

To find out more please visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk

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