Pawsing to sniff out stories of the past at historic Sunderland church

A hound put his nose to the ground as he helped sniff out any signs of decay at one of Sunderland's most important historic landmarks.

Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 5:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 8:30 pm
Sam the 'Rot Hound' with his handler Peter Monaghan at work in Holy Trinity Church, in Sunderland's East End, where Sam has been helping conservationists to see out dry rot and decay in Holy Trinity's woodwork. Watching are pupils from Hudson Road Primary School.

Sam is trained to sniff out any odour of dry rot and decay in the timbers and structure of buildings, and visited the Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church in the East End with handler Peter Monaghan to put his skills to use.

They were welcomed by Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, and year five pupils from Hudson Road Primary, who were visiting the 300-year-old site to find out how it has been looked after.

​City schools have been invited to learn about traditional craftsmen’s skills and building conservation techniques.

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Coun Kelly said: “Holy Trinity Church is one of the oldest buildings in our city, and this an opportunity for the younger generation to learn more about the skills which built and maintained it to become such an important part of our cultural heritage.

“The Churches Conservation Trust bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund we support, is based on returning the building to the centre of community life as a cultural venue for educational and social activities centre.

Community activities at the Church Street East building this month include Cherishing the Buildings of the Past on Thursday 10 May, with tickets available via