Great Exhibition of the North sees rise in visitors at major venues

The Great Exhibition of the North Credit: PA

By Kris Jepson

Organisers of the Great Exhibition of the North reveal a huge rise in visitor numbers to major venues in the first month of the event.

The Great Exhibition runs until Sunday, 9 September, but bosses have told ITV News they have already seen thousands more school children visit the venues, 265,587 website visits and a 3.5 million reach across Get North social media.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Executive Director of the Great Exhibition of the North, Carol Bell, told ITV News "15,000 school children that have been on visits, we've had fantastic weather, so outdoor as well as the indoor (events) have really been a big hit".

The big venues, which are hosting events as part of the exhibition, are mainly reported higher attendances, compared to the same period in 2017:

  • Sage Gateshead: 64,371 visitors (223% increase on 2017)

  • BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art: 59,899 visitors (81% increase on 2017)

  • Great North Museum: 37,007 visitors (17% increase on 2017)

  • Discovery Museum: 47,946 visitors (90% increase on 2017)

  • Mining Institute: 10,407 visitors (no comparable data)

  • Side Gallery: 3,203 visitors (no comparable data)

The famous locomotive, The Rocket, has been on display at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle and the curator, Carolyn Bell, told ITV News it has been a great success.

Rocket means so much to them. They've learnt about it at school, so to see it in Newcastle is really special. A lot of comments about the Rocket coming home and a few comments about wanting Rocket to stay.

Carolyn Bell, Discovery Museum

This week visitors were disappointed when the headline making fountains, which were prominent during the launch opening night celebrations on the River Tyne, were damaged by a collision with a boat.

Organisers say the fountains are now back up and running.

Fountains Credit: ITV News

However, some visitors who spoke to ITV News said they felt there was not enough promotion, advertising and communication about the various events.

One man said "what I've seen gives me a basic idea of what's going on, but if you want in-depth (information), no", and one woman said "there was lots of advertising of it before it began, and then it just seemed to die a death really".

It's never happened before, so people won't necessarily have heard of it, but the fact that it's out here, loud and proud, I think people are starting to take notice and are having a great time.

Carol Bell, The Great Exhibition of the North