Sunderland is blessed with a large number of historic pubs, some of which have been serving customers for centuries.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the spooky tales which have attached themselves to our watering holes are a chance to reflect on the history of these wonderful buildings – and those who lived in the area in much older times.
Victims of a notorious serial killer, an unfortunate pub worker, and a conscientious cleaning lady still keeping things neat from beyond the grave are among the ghosts said to walk our haunted hostelries.
Sadly, many of the area’s historic pubs have closed in recent years, with the industry facing some tough challenges even before covid.
So we have also included some closed pubs at the end (and sneaked in a restaurant), which are now under new guises, at the end. Do the ghosts linger there still?
1. The Copt Hill Inn, Houghton
Said to be haunted by the tormented spirit of a former landlord who hanged himself from a beam in the bar. Customers have reportedly claimed to have seen an apparition of his dangling body. Photo: Stu Norton
2. The Ship Isis, Silksworth Row
Reputedly Sunderland’s most haunted pub, thought to be visited by victims of Mary Ann Cotton. Crying, screaming and singing have been heard, and apparitions of a young girl and a Victorian lady seen by staff and customers. Photo: Stu Norton
3. The King’s Head, Deptford
A historic pub and a favourite of discerning drinkers in Sunderland. It’s also another hostelry supposedly haunted by a former landlord - one who was said to hurl the drinks belonging one of his successors off the bar.
Eerie sounds from an old dumb waiter, and a bell which rings itself, are other unexplained phenomena reported at the pub. Photo: Google Streetview
4. The Black Horse, Rectory Bank, West Boldon
Said to be haunted by a ‘Sad Cavalier’ wearing tall boots, leggings and a wide-brimmed hat, who vanishes into thin air when asked if he needs any help. Photo: AN