What a difference two years makes!
The last time I was invited to have a look around St Hilda’s Pit Head in South Shields, it was a shell.
Now it has been transformed into a welcoming community, cultural and heritage hub, providing training, office, event and exhibition space.
Funding boost for St Hilda’s
Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and South Tyneside Council for the £812,000 project.
A further £60,000 has been secured by the anchor tenants, Community Arts Project North East (CAPNE), to complete the refurbishment.
The grant, from the Coastal Communities Fund, will allow CAPNE to develop the building as a community hub.
CAPNE director Diane Gray said: “We are thrilled to have received this funding boost and to be able to continue to build St Hilda’s Pit Head into a thriving cultural and heritage venue for the town.
“St Hilda’s will offer something unique for South Shields: a venue which can serve the community, preserve and celebrate the building’s unique mining heritage and provide space for other social enterprises and businesses to operate from.
“We have so many exciting events coming up in the next few months to encourage the local community to come and explore the building and tell us what they’d like to see in the building as it develops.”
Past, present and future
The lift shaft remains in situ, forming part of the new gallery space at St Hilda’s.
Two community rooms have been created and although I’m disappointed the original plans to create artists’ studios changed, these would both make great workshop areas.
The one on the ground floor boasts beautiful, tall arched windows and the top floor room has amazing views over the Tyne.
CAPNE are already getting the community involved, with Halloween and Christmas events coming up. Visit www.capne.org for details.