Pupils from a Sunderland school were the first children to step inside the new recreation of The Grand Cinema at Beamish. The open air museum has recreated The Grand, which was located originally in St Paul’s Terrace, two streets away from St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Ryhope.

The cinema was a popular venue for people in Ryhope in the 1950s for screening films, newsreels and adverts. The venue was later transformed into a bingo hall.

The primary school, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, has been working closely with the museum to arrange a special trip for pupils to see the 1950s-style cinema. Beamish kindly funded the transport for the schoolchildren and staff to attend.

The children were very excited to dress up in vintage clothing just as their families in Ryhope would have looked in years gone by.

They enjoyed a range of fun activities with Reception children making ice-cream, Year 1 had a workshop playing with toys from the past and Year 2 experienced a Victorian school lesson.

For the Key Stage 2 children, the activities were focused on the cinema with Year 3 making advertisement slides, which were then shown on The Grand screen during their visit. Years 4 and 5 created posters, which will be placed on the billboards outside the cinema, and Years 5 and 6 created short films, which were shown on the big screen during their visit.

Holly Hargrave, 11, who is in Year 6, said, “The Grand was exquisite and I felt really proud of my class when we appeared on the screen in front of everyone!

Executive headteacher Jane Ward said, “We are so excited to be involved with this very special Beamish project. Our children are so very proud of the history and heritage of Ryhope and to see ‘The Grand’ restored to its former glory was absolutely wonderful.

For more information, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.