PEOPLE will next week have the chance to climb one of the North East’s best known monuments for the first time in 85 years.
The National Trust is allowing visitors to ascend Penshaw Monument, near Sunderland, on Bank Holiday Monday from 10am to 3pm.Related content
They can climb a 74-step spiral staircase inside one of the columns of the hilltop landmark – an experience that has been denied the public since 1926. Once on top, visitors can enjoy spectacular views from behind the walkway’s three-foot high wall.
Trust spokeswoman Kate Horn said that the event was being staged after stringent health and safety checks.
Visitors will be issued with hard hats and head torches for the 70ft ascent inside the column.
For safety reasons youngsters under three-foot in height will not be allowed.
“When we are carrying out work at Penshaw Monument we gets lots of enquiries from people about going to the top and we thought: ‘Why not?’” said Kate.
“The views are fantastic and on a clear day stretch from Durham Cathedral to the Cheviot Hills in Northumberland.”
The monument on top of its hill can be seen from a wide area of Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham.
“Along with the Angel of the North, Penshaw Monument must be one of the most familiar landmarks,” said Kate.
Small groups will be escorted up to spend 10 minutes or so taking in the view. The cost is £5 per person and all proceeds will go towards the management of Penshaw Monument, the Durham Coast and other coast and countryside sites.
The monument is based on the Temple of Theseus in Athens.
It was erected in memory of John George Lambton, First Earl of Durham, who died in 1840 at the age of 48. Through public subscription £3,000 was raised.
At 100ft long, 53ft wide and 70ft high, and with 18 columns, it is the biggest structure serving solely as a memorial in the North East and was designed by Newcastle architects John and Benjamin Green.
Roadside parking is available off the A183 at the base of Penshaw Hill. For details contact 01723 870423.