Everyday Geordies’ most treasured items to be put on display in touching new exhibition

Items include a North Shields woman’s bar of soap first used by her father and a young Whitley Bay’s fossil collection

A unique display showcasing the people of the North East's most precious personal possessions will hit the Laing Art Gallery this weekend.

The exhibition is called These are Our Treasures and has been created in response to the Lindisfarne Gospels, which will be on loan at the gallery from the British Library from September 17 to December 3, 2022.

The objects were gathered by artist Ruth Ewan who asked the people of the region: “What do you treasure?”

Over two hundred submissions were made and the final display offers a cross-section of those entries.

One of the objects on display is a bar of soap, with a French maker’s name, on loan from Jean in North Shields.

Jean said: "This soap was used for my father’s first bath in 1904...it was wrapped up carefully and forgotten about. My grandfather was a hairdresser/wigmaker on North Shields Fish Quay so he probably had access to ‘foreign’ imports. Sadly, I never met him.”

Katie from Boldon has donated a medical feeding tube and peg that mean a lot to her.

The Laing Art Gallery (Image: Google Streetview

She said: "I treasure the memory of my baby brother arriving. My family fostered and now cares for him long-term. He is four and is fed through a tube. When he arrived, I learned how to care for him. The object is important to me as it represents a time in my life when I was given a role to care for someone who I was not related to.

"This experience has altered my journey in life, both in a positive and negative way, but ultimately it has changed my outlook on most things. I have become more empathetic and understanding and I treasure the person who I have become because of this 'object', memory, situation. Advocating for someone else’s needs.”

Other items include a young Whitley Bay boy's fossil collection and a Horsley man's special red handkerchief.

Ruth Ewan

It promises to be an exhibition that is at one moment moving and at another funny with memories from all moments of life.

Creator Ruth Ewan said: “It’s been a pleasure to hear the stories people have shared as part of These are Our Treasures. I’ve been genuinely moved by the emotional generosity of the participants and the willingness of people to share these objects.”

There are Our Treasures will be on display at the Laing Art Gallery from July 30, 2022 to February 11, 2023 and is free to visit.