Engineer Henry Hay Wake, appointed Chief Engineer of the River Wear Commissioners in 1868 when aged just 25, designed, engineered and constructed Roker Pier, Tunnel and Lighthouse between 1885 and 1903.
Mr Wake also designed the giant crane, nicknamed Goliath because of its size, to help construct the pier as well as carrying out extensive improvements to the Port of Sunderland.
Maureen McCartney, from the Sunderland Seafront Trust, whose volunteers run the popular tours of the restored tunnel running the entire length of the Grade II listed Victorian pier and the lighthouse, said: "Whenever we take tours and tell people about Henry Hay Wake and his incredible designs and achievements, no-one has ever heard of him, not even the local people on the tours.
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"We thought he was such a skilled engineer and as a local man we should publicise his achievements.”