Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Backing for Bede

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Backing for Bede

Article excerpt

Byline: By Tony Henderson Environment Editor

The international image of the North-East was given a huge boost today as the Government backed the region's bid for a third world heritage site.

The twin Anglo-Saxon monastery site of Wearmouth-Jarrow will be the Government's nomination for 2009 for world heritage site status.

The monastery was the home of the Venerable Bede, one of Europe's greatest ever scholars whose work is still being read today after 1,300 years.

The decision by the Government is reward for four years' work on the bid by a partnership chaired by Bishop of Jarrow John Pritchard and which includes Bede's World, Sunderland and South Tyneside councils, the Seventh Century churches of St Paul's at Jarrow and St Peter's at Monkwearmouth, English Heritage and Tyne Wear Museums.

The nomination will go to UNESCO's International Council on Monuments and Sites, which makes its decision in 2010.

Government nomination makes it virtually certain that world heritage status will be granted. Only one UK Government nomination has ever been deferred. This was the case of the Lake District and that decision was a technicality based on previous, less flexible criteria.

World heritage status would be a major lift for the economy of South Tyneside, Sunderland and the region, not least through tourism, and also for its education potential and for the international profile of the region.

Wearmouth-Jarrow would join Hadrian's Wall and Durham Cathedral and Castle as world heritage sites.

"There aren't many places in the world which have three world heritage sites so close together. It would be of immense importance to the region economically and culturally and would be one more reason to persuade visitors arriving in the North-East to stay for several days instead of heading off to York or Edinburgh," said Peter Stone, Professor of Heritage Studies at Newcastle University. …

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