New exhibition celebrates the story of the Tyne and Wear Metro

A Metro cube
19 April 2022

A new exhibition which celebrates the history of the Tyne and Wear Metro got underway this week. 

The event, called Metro Memories, is being held at The Common Room on Westgate Road in Newcastle, 19 April – 7 May, 10am-4pm.

The exhibition will explore what Metro means to the people and to the history of our region.

It will feature photographs, film, and interviews with key decision-makers including politicians and director generals, as well as interviews with engineers, designers and many now retired staff who helped make the project become a reality in the late 1970s.  

Nexus, the public body which own and manages Metro, has worked closely with The Common Room and Newcastle University Oral History Unit and Collective to bring the exhibition together as part of Metro’s 40th anniversary celebrations. 

Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “We’re really excited to be able to put on this fantastic new exhibition celebrating the history and significance of the Tyne and Wear Metro.

“It provides a fascinating insight into this iconic transport system, which has transformed how people have been able to get around our region over the last 41 years. 

“The team at Nexus, The Common Room, and Newcastle University Oral History Unit and Collective have put together some brilliant exhibits featuring film and photography from the archives, which visitors are going to enjoy, and we have had great input from staff and former employees who helped to build Metro in its early days.

“Metro is undoubtedly one of our region’s greatest post-war achievements. It’s a source of immense pride, affection, and is the envy of other UK cities. We’re thrilled to be showcasing it.”

Chief Executive at The Common Room, Liz Mayes, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to share the history of the Metro through this exhibition, thanks to National Lottery Players and The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

“The Metro is such a significant part of daily North East life and important for our economy and skills development. This exhibition is a chance to celebrate that and think about the future role it will play.” 

Alongside the exhibition, The Common Room are also hosting three, free family fun days on 21, 22 and 23 April, where Nexus will be delivering lots of exciting Metro activities for all ages, including a Virtual Reality experience of Metro’s new fleet of trains, which Metro drivers themselves are currently using for training. 

Remembering the Past, Resourcing the Future's team of memory collectors will also host three drop-in community events throughout the exhibition period at The Common Room, where visitors can share their own Metro memories or bring pieces of memorabilia to show and tell. Current and retired Metro staff, their families and friends are especially welcome. 

The exhibition and events programme have been made possible thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the exhibition exploring the heritage of the Metro thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. Not only does the exhibition showcase the fascinating history of the Metro, but the wider events will also serve to inspire the next generation of Metro staff who can continue the story into the future.” 

The Metro Memories exhibition and associated events are free for all to attend, however visitors must book a free ticket in advance. For more information and to book tickets, visit: https://thecommonroom.org.uk/programme/whats-on/ 
 

Videos

Metro Memories

Metro Memories Family Fun Day

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