Glazing over historic footprint

18.08.2009

Recycled glass is being used to capture the historic ‘foundation footprint’ of a site of world importance for future generations.

Paving and cobalt blue glass chippings are being laid where the excavated walls of the seventh century Anglo-Saxon monastery at St. Peter′s, Sunderland, are situated.

Northumbrian Water, which has already completed a £650,000 sewer chamber improvement in the corner of St Peter’s church yard, is now finishing off its contribution to the Wearmouth-Jarrow World Heritage Site bid to earn the monastery world-wide recognition.

The twin monastery site of St. Peter’s, together with St. Paul’s in Jarrow – home to the Venerable Bede, Europe’s greatest 8th century scholar – is the UK government’s 2010 World Heritage Status candidate. The bid is now entering its final stages and next year the site will have its case for universal significance assessed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

Reporters and photographers are invited to view the final section of glass being laid down at St. Peter’s at 10.30am on Thursday 20 August. The Revd Dr Ian Stockton, Team Rector of the Parish of Monkwearmouth, involved in the bid from its first beginnings, is available for interview with David Groark from Northumbrian Water.

The sewer scheme at St Peter’s was the final piece to complete Northumbrian Water’s £8million, six-year environmental clean-up of the River Wear and Sunderland with the improvement of 24 sewer overflows.

David Groark, Northumbrian Water’s Project Manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to leave a visible lasting legacy on the site following our work there. We hope the unique limestone and glass ‘footprint’ will enhance, and raise awareness of, the bid while creating an impression of the buildings that used to be there.”

Some 220 metres of paving and glass will be laid down by Northumbrian Water’s contractor Lumsden and Carroll.

Glass is of huge historic and current importance to Sunderland. It is believed that St Peter’s was the first building in Europe to use glass and cobalt blue was one of the predominant colours. Today Sunderland is home to the nearby National Glass Centre.

People are asked to show their support for the Wearmouth-Jarrow World Heritage Site bid by signing a Book of Life, available at the St Peter’s, the National Glass Centre, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Bede’s World and St Paul’s Church or by logging on www.wearmouth-jarrow.org.uk.

For further information contact Alistair Baker on 0191-3016851 / 07711-793-493.

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