Bede's World: Cash crisis forces closure of Jarrow tourist attraction
A Tyneside tourist attraction based on the life of the Venerable Bede has closed due to a lack of funds.
Bede's World - launched in 1993 at a cost of almost £10m on an 11-acre site in Jarrow - features a museum, farm animals and replica buildings.
Trustees said the complex was no longer financially viable, blaming, in part, cuts in government funding.
South Tyneside Council, which owns the land and buildings, said it was looking at a "range of options" for the site.
Bede's World, which employed 27 staff, attracted about 70,000 visitors a year, with almost a third of them schoolchildren.
A spokesman for the board of trustees said: "It is with great regret the board took the decision for Bede's World to cease operation from Friday, 12 February due to a lack of funds.
"Steps are being taken to put the company into administration through the appointment of an insolvency practitioner.
"The trustee board has made arrangements for the immediate care of the farm animals and the security of the site.
'Range of options'
"The board would like to thank all staff, volunteers and stakeholders for their hard work and dedication to Bedes World."
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson added: "We can confirm ownership of the land and buildings will revert to the council under the terms of the existing leases.
"The council is currently looking at a range of options for the site and, most importantly, to find a more affordable way to keep the facility open in the long term for the people of South Tyneside to enjoy."
Bede lived in the twin monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, where he wrote and translated dozens of books on theology, history, nature, astronomy and poetry.
His most famous work remains The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which was the first work of history to use the AD system of dating.