Opening date and more details on Seaburn tram shelter revealed as Blacks Corner transformation forges ahead

The transformation of Seaburn’s historic tram shelter is forging ahead as part of a wave of investment on the seafront.

Blacks Corner, in East Boldon, has had great success turning the 100-year-old former grocers owned by George Black, which became colloquially know as Blacks Corner over the decades, into a bistro flying the flag for quality British produce.

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And much like their deli and bistro in East Boldon, business partners Jonny Dryden and Chris Lowden are honouring the heritage of the site while also giving it a new lease of life.

Work will start on transforming the landmark Seaburn tram shelter in the New Year

Now, the Echo can reveal more on their plans for the Sunderland venture, with building work on the Grade II-listed structure, including major repairs to the existing roof, due to start in the New Year, with a view to opening its doors for sit in small plates and take away in autumn 2023.

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Much has been done behind the scenes, including recreating the distinctive beading of the structure with Wearside-based Swandene Joinery, which is crafting the components ready for assembly when building work starts.

Jonny, whose grandparents lived nearby in Dame Dorothy estate and has known of the shelter since his childhood years, says they feel passionately about getting the transformation just right.

Jonny Dryden, in black jacket and white shirt, with the team at Blacks Corner in East Boldon.

“Blacks Corner has grown into one of the most celebrated and sustainable businesses in the North East and we will be continuing that on the seafront, with its own personal celebration of its heritage,” he said.

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A name has yet to be revealed for the new addition at the tram shelter, but it will be open six days a week, Tuesdays - Sunday, serving brunches through to evening meals, including an extensive wine menu.

The new business, which will create around 20 new jobs, will mirror the footprint of the shelter, using as much of the original features as possible, and the business partners are referencing old photos of the site to recreate the white picket fences and hydrangeas which once featured around the old shelter in their design plans.

Jonny said: “The tram shelter has been standing for 100 years and we want it to stand for another 100.

Blacks Corner has had great success in preserving the heritage of their East Boldon site and they plan to do the same in Seaburn
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"We very much see ourselves as custodians of this site.

"In 50 years we may not be, but we want to create something lasting that can be used by future generations. We are taking real care and consideration with the design.

"Everything that’s happening on the seafront is so positive and we’re one of many, but we want to create something that’s uniquely personal to the Sunderland landscape.

"The seafront is very much the jewel in Sunderland’s crown, with so much history.”

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Blacks Corner champions British farm produce

The tram shelter is one in a number of disused seafront buildings which have entered a new chapter as part of the wider Seafront Regeneration Scheme.

This summer, Tin of Sardines opened in the old toilet block in Pier View, proving hugely popular.

And in the coming weeks, North seafood restaurant will open in the old storage shelter at the end of Seaburn Promenade.

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Meanwhile, Vaux will start work in early 2023 to create a new beachfront bar in the shelter on Marine Walk, Roker.

Income generated from the leases of the buildings will help support the Sunderland Seafront Trust.

The trust operates the Roker Pier and Lighthouse tours and lease income will help it deliver seafront events and activities.