From breathing new life into underused buildings along the seafront to open air gigs, there’s plenty in the pipeline for 2021 – despite the current climate.
We’ve rounded up some of the new openings and events planned for when Lockdown eases. Note that information is current at the time of going to print, providing the roadmap for leading the country out of Lockdown goes to plan.
1. Local History Library, Elephant Tea Rooms, when restrictions are lifted
Work began in 2019 to transform the landmark Elephant Tea Rooms into the new Local History Library, but it was only open a short time before the pandemic hit. Known for its eye-catching façade featuring ornamental elephants and oriental birds, the Elephant Tea Rooms on the corner of Fawcett Street and High Street West, has had many guises over the years. Built between 1872-1877 by Henry Hopper and designed by Frank Caws, in its day the Elephant Tea Rooms was once home to a business credited with controlling one of the largest retail tea, coffee and grocery trades in the North East of England. It now holds one of the largest collections of historic records and information on Sunderland, including photographs, maps, film, trade directories, Corder directories, parish registers, newspapers and more.
Photo: Stu Norton
2. Seaburn Inn, Spring
Following a break during lockdown, work has resumed on the construction of a four-storey, 40-bed pub with rooms on the former Pullman Lodge site, which is due to open in Spring 2021. Owners The Inn Collection Group already have a number of successful pubs and hotels in their portfolio including The Seaton Lane Inn in East Durham; The Amble Inn in Northumberland; The Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses; The Black Swan in Helmsley, North Yorkshire and The Kingslodge Inn in Durham City.
3. Spent Grain, John Street
Sunderland's newest restaurant, Spent Grain in John Street, is ready and waiting to welcome its first diners. It's been a labour of love for chef Michael Jameson and business partner Julie Gibson who’ve converted an empty unit opposite the Jopling's site into a sleek, city centre restaurant aimed at catering for all. Once allowed to open when restrictions are lifted, the site will be a multi-purpose restaurant, open seven days a week, serving everything from coffees in the morning to business lunches and evening meals crafted from local produce.The business will also have a commercial arm, selling goods, such as fruit and veg, oils, vinegars and chutneys, from local producers and it’s hoped that side may be open before sit-in dining is permitted.
Photo: Stu Norton
4. Sunshine Co-op, High Street West, Spring 2021
A successful Sunderland co-op, which proved a lifeline to hundreds in lockdown, will set up shop in a historic city centre building as part of a major regeneration project. The Sunshine Co-operative has worked from its base in The Eagle Building in the East End since 2018 and has since built up a firm following for its organic food boxes, which it delivers across Sunderland, as well as to some Newcastle, Durham and South Tyneside postcodes. It's due to open its first shop as part of the ongoing regeneration of 170-173 High Street West this Spring.
Photo: JPI Media