Sunderland's Langham Tower transformed into stylish beer garden as part of historic site's new chapter
One of Sunderland’s best-preserved mansion houses has been transformed into an upmarket outdoors bar as the landmark site enters a new chapter in its history.
Langham Tower, with its distinctive Tudor-style pitched roofs and intricate Victorian craftmanship, has stood proud on Ryhope Road since 1889.
Built as a private home for William Adamson, the son of a prominent shipbuilder and shipowner, the building has had a colourful history. Once rented by the Vaux family, it became better known as an educational base after becoming home to Sunderland Teacher Training College in 1922, a university building from 1975 and, more recently, as a building for Sunderland High School before its closure in 2016.
But after five years standing empty, the Grade II-listed building in Ashbrooke is finally being put to good use as a multi-purpose venue.
Despite the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve passed through Langham Tower’s doors over the decades, its original features, including spectacular coving, stained glass window, parquet flooring, Victorian fireplaces and panelling, is in remarkably good condition – and much is being done to preserve and honour the building’s rich history.
The first phase of the project has seen the opening of an upmarket outdoor bar in the grounds of the building with covered spaces, booths and heaters.
Danny Gartland, who owns the building with dad Peter, said: “It really is one of the most beautiful buildings in Sunderland and we want to see it reach its full potential. Me and my dad love original buildings and we’ll be keeping all the original features.”
As part of their pledge to honour the building’s past, the name has been kept, with the namesake tower as well as the year the house was built incorporated in the logo.
"So many people have memories of the building and the response we’ve had since opening has been fantastic”, said Danny. “We’ve had all age groups, from the older locals to the student community, as well as dog walkers, come in and they are really impressed with what we’ve done.”
The beer garden is open now seven days a week from 1pm to late for a range of cocktails, premium champagnes and draught beers, as well as street food which will be themed, from gyros to Thai bites. There’s even a Moretti cart which people can hire to their table to pull their own pints.
This Saturday, May 15, will see an Eats and Beats event with a BBQ and saxophonist, the first of many events which will also include quizzes, student nights and big screens for football tournaments.
The next phase will see the creation of an indoor venue for functions, weddings and corporate events, as well as a restaurant. A cocktail lounge will also host cocktail making sessions with an expert Italian mixologist.
Danny said: “We’ve really hit the ground running and already have bookings for weddings, christenings, baby showers and birthdays. It’s very much going to be a multi-purpose venue and there’s plenty of space for social distancing.”
*Langham Tower outdoor bar is open now for walk ins, but bookings through its social media pages are advised for peak times.