City's new Seventeen Nineteen in historic East End celebrates Sunderland's seafaring history

Set sail for a night of smugglers and press gangs at Sunderland’s new Seventeen Nineteen venue.
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The former Holy Trinity Church has undergone a £5million transformation to turn it into Seventeen Nineteen, named after the year it was built for the old parish of Sunderland in the historic East End.

It’s a multi-purpose space for exhibitions, performances, functions and more.

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As part of its opening calendar of events, on June 9, it will be turned into a 19th century sailing vessel, with steamer trunks, whiskey barrels and fishing nets, for the flashmob musical show, Old Time Sailors.

The new Seventeen Nineteen will host Old Time SailorsThe new Seventeen Nineteen will host Old Time Sailors
The new Seventeen Nineteen will host Old Time Sailors

A crew of 17 musicians, led by Captain Nicholas Moffat, will take the audience on a trip back through time, with a lively mix of singing, sailing trivia and dancing, with music and lyrics provided, so everyone can join in.

A mobile fish and chip shop will also be on hand for those keen to tuck into interval refreshments.

The evening will be especially atmospheric as the church is at the centre of what was once one of the largest seafaring ports in the UK.

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“In fact, I doubt there’s a more suitable setting for a night of 18th and 19th Century sailor songs anywhere in the region,” said Centre Manager Tracey Mienie.

Old Time Sailors flashmobOld Time Sailors flashmob
Old Time Sailors flashmob

“This is the oldest part of the city and although the church recently underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment, its links to the Sunderland seafaring community are very evident.”

Outside, in the former church’s graveyard, is a monument to one of Wearside’s most famous sons, young Royal Navy sailor Jack Crawford, who famously nailed his ship’s colours to the mast to inspire the fleet during the battle of Camperdown.

In 2019, ground was broken to start the major works, which have included removal of more than 600 tonnes of rubble from the floor void to allow airflow back into the building so it can breathe once again; replacing all windows with an original sash design; the removal, repair and re-installation of a stained glass window; replacing more than 16,000 handmade bricks and skilled stone masons repairing damaged stone work using traditional methods.

*Old Time Sailors will take place from 7pm to 10pm on June 9 and limited early bird tickets are available priced at between £17.50 and £22.20.

To book, visit