Jesmond unlocks its heritage

Locals have a chance to enter and explore some of Jesmond’s historic buildings as part of this weekend’s Tyne and Wear Open Heritage Days.

Guided tours of Grade 1 listed arts and crafts masterpiece St George’s began yesterday (8th September), and go on until 4pm on Sunday 11th September.

Yesterday’s tour also included a visit to Jesmond Towers, with conservation architect Cyril Winskell. The building, previously occupied by La Sagesse School, is now empty and awaiting plans for conversion by new owner Freddy Shepherd, so this was a unique opportunity for the public to look round, and note some of the stylistic similarities between the two buildings.

The architect of St George’s, Thomas Ralph Spence (1845–1918), also carried out some of the work on Jesmond Towers. George Bernard Shaw visited St George’s shortly after it opened, and commented: “Wherever Mr Spence’s artist’s hand has passed over the interior surface, the church is beautiful…..The chancel, with its beautiful mosaics, the baptistery with its ornamental stones, the four pained panels of the dado, are only samples….”

The church will be open daily from 10am (12.30pm on Sunday) with refreshments, and further guided tours of the church only are being held each day.

You can find the full diary of this weekend’s Open Heritage events across Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and North and South Tyneside here.

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