A LANDMARK building that helped put South Shields on the global maritime map is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The town’s original Marine School and the world’s first such purpose-built facility was officially opened on January 12, 1869.

Located on Ocean Road and now known as the Kirkpatrick’s bar, the school was built with a £20,700 bequest made in 1836 by wealthy former GP, Dr Thomas Masterman Winterbottom.

John Roach, principal of South Shields Marine School said: "It remains a wonderful symbol of a bygone era that was characterised by the pursuit of new learning and the exploration of ideas.

“Not everyone in South Shields was united in Dr Winterbottom’s vision for a purpose-built marine school, but his was a fantastically far-sighted vision that has stood the test time.

“The fact the modern day marine school continues to thrive at the forefront of training, shows how right he was to see a future for such a facility in this seagoing town.

"You can easily imagine it in operation in those early days.

“South Shields and the North-East of England is blessed with the training centre we have today, and we can be thankful to Dr Winterbottom for that.”