25th anniversary of closure of Sunderland’s last shipyard

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NOISY and smoky, Sunderland’s shipyards were once the most successful in the world, producing, at their peak, a quarter of all the ships in the entire world.

Today – 25 years this week after the last one closed – the stretch of the Wear once home to the city’s shipbuilding industry has given way to a university campus and a very different way of life.

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed  that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988'  'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now  their children and grandchildren  learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988' 'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now their children and grandchildren learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi

It was in December 1988 that then prime minister Margaret Thatcher brought an end to the long fight to preserve the industry with a short announcement that North East Shipbuilders, a company formed by all the yards on the river, some dating back as far as 1346, was to close.

Since then, the Wear has undergone a huge transformation, with the modern St Peter’s campus of Sunderland University standing where the North Sands shipyard once was, to be found with the National Glass Museum alongside.

The last yard to close was Pallion – on December 7, 1988 – bringing an end to the once-thriving industry for good.

Professor Bernie Callaghan, dean of the faculty of business and law at the university, said: “I was born in this city.

Dated 09/12/201originally dec 1988'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed  that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988'  'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now  their children and grandchildren  learn computing and journalism, training in digital media and broadcast TV, along with

Dated 09/12/201originally dec 1988'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988' 'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now their children and grandchildren learn computing and journalism, training in digital media and broadcast TV, along with

“I remember the shipyards, I remember the ships lined up as they were built, and I also remember the time when it was closed. It was a very emotional time.

“There were a lot of questions asked when we were deciding to build the university on the site of the shipyards as, effectively, it signalled the end of shipbuilding. What the university tried to do in constructing the building was to wholly reflect the deep heritage of a place that was once the biggest shipbuilding town in the world.

“I think the heritage of shipbuilding is so deeply ingrained in this city that we should always remember it.”

Mr Callaghan added that the design of the university buildings has incorporated elements of Sunderland’s nautical past to ensure that part of its history is not completely erased.

Dated 09/12/201'originally dec 1988'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''Shipyard workers and their families look on quietly in sombre mood from the giant fabrication shed at the last ever ship launched in Sunderland on the River Wear at the Pallion yard of NESL 25 years ago this week.''At the time the ending of over 600 years of shipbuilding seemed a disaster for a town, since awarded city status, which in it's 19th and early 20th century heyday built one quarter of all the ships launched in the world in some year.''And although the DNA of a shipbuilding heritage still runs through the City, today new life has grown in the old yards and nowhere more vividly that at a sister NESL yard just a few hundred yards downriver from Pallion, at North Sands, where today is the state of art University of Sunderland St Peter's Campus and

Dated 09/12/201'originally dec 1988'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''Shipyard workers and their families look on quietly in sombre mood from the giant fabrication shed at the last ever ship launched in Sunderland on the River Wear at the Pallion yard of NESL 25 years ago this week.''At the time the ending of over 600 years of shipbuilding seemed a disaster for a town, since awarded city status, which in it's 19th and early 20th century heyday built one quarter of all the ships launched in the world in some year.''And although the DNA of a shipbuilding heritage still runs through the City, today new life has grown in the old yards and nowhere more vividly that at a sister NESL yard just a few hundred yards downriver from Pallion, at North Sands, where today is the state of art University of Sunderland St Peter's Campus and

The business school, built in 1994, was designed to mirror the shape of a ship’s bow, and inside, the windows resemble those of a cruise liner.

The National Glass Centre was built on the site of the former JL Thompson and Sons shipyards, which launched 740 ships onto the Wear.

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed  that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988'  'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now  their children and grandchildren  learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988' 'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now their children and grandchildren learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed  that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988'  'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now  their children and grandchildren  learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi

Dated 09/12/2013'THE WAY IT IS WAS THEN ......where Sunderland University's St Peters Campus and The National Glass Centre now stand on the River Wear, was where the death knell for shipbuilding in the town that had become synonymous with it, was sounded exactly 25 years ago this week.''The announcement in December 1988 confirmed that North East Shipbuilders Ltd, and their three Wearside yards, including the North Sands yard at the mouth of the river Pictured in it's heyday, were to close..bringing an end to over 6 centuries of shipbuilding in the City.''At one time the then town of Sunderland launched over 25% of all the ships in the world in some years..but the town suffered after the 2nd world war with the decline of industry that had made it famous that ended with the final closure announcement in December 1988' 'But where shipyard workers worked for generations to build the ships that sailed around the world now their children and grandchildren learn computing and journalism, training in digital medi