Roker Pier set for national TV date

Roker Pier

Roker Pier

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Roker Pier and Lighthouse are set to make a national TV appearance next week.

The grade II listed landmark is one of 15 sites getting a visit from BBC's The Hairy Builder TV series as it looks to unlock the secrets behind the walls of some of England’s most beloved historic buildings.

Dave Myers (far right) watches on during the rededication of Roker Pier Lighthouse in September 2015. L to r Heritage officer Ian Smithwhite, Cllr Barry Curren, the former Mayor of Sunderland and Carmen Higgs the great, great granddaughter of Henry Hay Wake, the engineer who built the pier

Dave Myers (far right) watches on during the rededication of Roker Pier Lighthouse in September 2015. L to r Heritage officer Ian Smithwhite, Cllr Barry Curren, the former Mayor of Sunderland and Carmen Higgs the great, great granddaughter of Henry Hay Wake, the engineer who built the pier

The episode featuring Roker Pier and Lighthouse is due to be broadcast on BBC 2 at 6.30 pm on Monday.

Dave Myers - one half of the Hairy Bikers - is touring the country with Britain’s oldest masonry company, William Anelay, as they bid to restore and preserve some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious and architecturally complex large buildings.

The show visited the pier last Autumn as craftsmen worked to complete the £2.15m restoration of the landmark in time for its rededication on September 23 - 112 years to the day since it first opened to the public back in 1903.

On his visit, Dave met Carmen Higgs - the great, great granddaughter of Henry Hay Wake, the engineer behind the pier - who travelled from her home in Australia to unveil the rededication plaque with the then Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Barry Curran.

He also met Phil Tweddell, the grandson of the last lighthouse keeper, and chair of a heritage group that has been working with the council to open the tunnel, pier and lighthouse as a visitor attraction this autumn.

Cabinet Secretary, Coun Mel Speding, said: "I think the programme will provide a fascinating behind the scenes glimpse into the work that has gone into preserving and restoring one of our best loved historic landmarks and the tremendous craftsmanship and skills of those involved.

"It's brilliant to see Roker Pier on national TV for the second time in the space of five months. We've known for a long time what a wonderful asset the pier is for our city and the wider region but it's good to see its historic importance being recognised more widely."

The restoration of Roker Pier, which has seen the lighthouse and tunnel restored and the entire length of the pier resurfaced for the first time in its 113 year history, has been carried out by the council with the help of Heritage Lottery Funding.