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Jarrow Hall to revitalise its heriatge attraction and museum

13 September 2019

Jarrow Hall has unveiled its 15-year masterplan to enhance its heritage attraction and museum to a world unique visitor attraction.

The masterplan has been developed over the past two years and was funded by a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to help ensure the longevity and resilience of heritage attractions. The plan was developed by the charity Groundwork South and North Tyneside with heritage development specialists, Tricolor.

Located in South Tyneside, Jarrow Hall features at its heart a museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Bede, reconstructed Anglo-Saxon dwellings and an extensive farm home to rare-breed and rescued animals. It is was opened by Groundwork South and North Tyneside in 2016 in partnership with South Tyneside Council, which owns the land and buildings.

The masterplan – which will run from 2020 to 2035, – is called ‘1300 years of Bede: a Climate Changed’, and encompasses historic change to the natural environment and ongoing climate crisis, as well as how life has changed since the Anglo-Saxon period.

The masterplan will further develop Jarrow Hall into an outstanding visitor attraction, delivering high-quality educational community and cultural work. It will cover a range of site improvements and the launch of new services, all of which will aim to create a revitalised heritage attraction and museum that draws on the strengths of Groundwork South and North Tyneside and its decades of work within the areas of environmental sustainability and community engagement.

One of the core developments will be to further utilise the life story and achievements of English monk, author, scholar and translator, Bede and to create immersive experiences based around core themes of the environment, science and communication. This will include the exploration of environmental change from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day focussing on the North East, exploring climate change, the climate crisis and environmental sustainability, comparing historic events and changes to the natural environment to today using archaeological evidence and encouraging reflection.

Future plans also include using Bede’s considerable scholarship and interest in the sciences, coupled with innovations made at the Wearmouth-Jarrow double monastery to show challenge and innovation in areas such as astronomy, calendrical studies, medicine and stained-glass production.

Dame Rosemary Cramp, archaeologist and academic specialising in the Anglo-Saxons, said: “I was delighted to see that in Groundwork’s masterplan for Jarrow Hall that the importance of Bede and his life at the site will be fully explored.”

The masterplan also includes the development of Jarrow Hall into an ‘eco-attraction’, and a sanctuary for rare-breed and rescued animals. The site will also undergo physical improvements to both the landscape and buildings, as well as greatly improved accessibility and a redevelopment of the Anglo-Saxon village.

Andrew Watts, chief executive at Groundwork South and North Tyneside said “This is an exciting time for Jarrow Hall, and the masterplan will help the trust articulate and implement its vision. There have been so many people and organisations who have played an instrumental part in the development of the masterplan and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Tricolor, our partners, stakeholders, staff and volunteers for their support and contribution.”

Leigh Venus, formerly responsible for the direction and development of the site since reopening it in 2016 has taken on a new role as strategic cultural development manager, enabling him to divide his time between the reinvigorated site and his work in animal and environmental advocacy. Responsible for leading the delivery of the masterplan and the 15-year vision, he said: “The climate crisis is a unique human problem that will define the story of our species for the foreseeable future. Learning lessons from the past so we can best navigate our future has never been more critical, and the opportunity here to fuse the environmental work of our trust with the stunning legacy of Bede and the Anglo-Saxons is truly unique and exciting.

“An endlessly fascinating and inspirational historical figure, we are thrilled to be able to use Bede as a portal through which people of all ages can become inspired and active, and particularly to create passionate children and young people who can create a real difference in a world that needs change, and needs it fast.

“We are passionate about creating a busy, active place full of noise and creativity, welcoming repeat visitors and providing an understanding of the global significance of our region and its people. I look forward to delivering the masterplan and further showcasing this rich heritage.”

Sarah Dowd, Tricolor heritage director at Tricolor, comments: “The Jarrow Hall Masterplan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop a heritage visitor attraction that seeks to make a real impact, particularly in terms of climate change, challenging preconceptions and building opportunities for social cohesion and community skills development.

“The unique combination of The Venerable Bede’s own ethos as a challenger and innovator combined with Groundwork South and North Tyneside’s experience and value system means South Tyneside has a real regenerative asset that will be used to benefit local people.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “The Venerable Bede left a legacy for us all and I am delighted that this masterplan seeks to build on his learning and achievements to further develop Jarrow Hall into a world-class attraction.

“Jarrow Hall has the capacity to broaden its appeal to a much wider audience and I am convinced that this strategy will help them do this which in turn will boost South Tyneside’s cultural credentials.”

For more information on Jarrow Hall, please visit their website here.

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