Spooky Sunderland pub is back from the dead

Bar manager Christopher Taylor with one of the bar staff Amy Cook behind the bar of the refurbished Isis, Silksworth Row, Sunderland, which reopened this week.
Bar manager Christopher Taylor with one of the bar staff Amy Cook behind the bar of the refurbished Isis, Silksworth Row, Sunderland, which reopened this week.
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SUNDERLAND’S spookiest pub is back from the dead.

The Isis, in Silksworth Row, reopens today after a £500,000 revamp by new owners, Jarrow Brewery.

The pub – reputedly the city’s most-haunted – will showcase the brewery’s range of award-winning, traditionally brewed real ales, such as Rivet Catcher and Venerable Bede.

Owners Jess and Alison McConnell have bucked the trend of pub closures and added the formerly abandoned and dilapidated Grade II-listed Victorian pub to their estate, which already includes the Maltings in South Shields, and the Robin Hood in Jarrow.

The refit not only sees the Isis return to its former name but also restored to its original splendour.

Listed-building specialists Castle Eden-based Beaumont Brown Architects was given the task of planning, designing and over-seeing the work of restoring the original features.

After historical research, the Isis has been restored to its multi-roomed, original layout, and now has its original fireplaces.

New modern toilets have also been installed.

Sunderland-born architect David Brown said: “This has been a really satisfying project with which to be associated. The owners have shown great courage and vision in taking on the restoration and breathing new life into this sadly-neglected, but locally-significant listed building.”

Jarrow Brewery’s Jess McConnell said: “We are dedicated to the promotion of real ales and traditional ciders and have brewed a new, celebratory five per cent beer called ‘Isis’.”

Beers from Hendon-based Bull Lane Brewery and Maxim beers from Houghton are also being sold.

The Isis has featured in local history books and television programmes due to its ghostly goings-on. Mary-Ann Cotton, the Sunderland-born serial killer, is rumoured to have buried two of her children in tunnels which lead from the pub’s cellars down to the river bank.