MONKWEARMOUTH STATION MUSEUM will host a celebration of Sunderland ingenuity and innovation from Saturday 27 April until Sunday 3 November.
Celebrating the people and companies both from and associated with Sunderland that have helped shape and make the world in which we live. The exhibition uses the museum’s collections to tell the stories of Sunderland’s inventors and innovators and forms part of the city’s contribution to the region-wide Festival of the North East.
The long list of those celebrated includes: Dr William Reid Clanny, who invented the Clanny safety lamp in 1813. His idea was to force air in and out of the lamp with bellows, through water – the great antagonist of fire. By 1816, when Clanny published Practical observations on safety lamps for coal mines, he had experimented in person with a safety lamp at the Mill Pit in Herrington near Sunderland, where four years earlier there had been a serious explosive accident, with the loss of 24 lives.
Joseph Swan was born in 1828 at Pallion Hall in Bishopwearmouth, he is recognised as the inventor of the incandescent light bulb and dry photographic plate. In later life he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1904 he was knighted, awarded the Royal Society’s Hughes Medal, and made an honorary member of the Pharmaceutical Society.
Thomas Elliot Harrison, railway civil engineer and designer of the Victoria Viaduct and Wearmouth Railway Bridge – at the time of its construction it was claimed that the Wearmouth Railway Bridge was the largest hogsback iron bridge in the world. – and Sir William Mills, inventor of the improved hand-grenade, metal golf clubs and the telescopic walking stick seat!
Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture added:
“It is great to see a celebration of the positive impact of Sunderland and its people on the world, not only in the past but continuing into the future too.
“The story is brought right up to date with the inclusion of Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, which has been the UK’s largest car producer for the last 13 years, and also one of Europe’s most productive automotive plants. It’s also great to see Rolls Royce Aero Engines included – the Sunderland facility is a centre of excellence for engine disk manufacturing including aero, marine and industrial Trent and EJ200 engines and most recently the establishment of Sunderland Software City which has been created to nurture the innovative digital companies of the future.”
In addition to the exhibition there will be a series of events themed around innovation and discovery at Monkwearmouth Station Museum, the first of which is “Station Backpacks” running throughout half term from Saturday 25 May until Sunday 2 June.