The new history centre will be a hive of activity, offering people who want to look through the area's archives and files a place to research the city's past.

14 photos inside the transformed Elephant Tearooms as it becomes home to Sunderland's new local history centre

Sunderland's new history hub is getting ready to welcome its first researchers – and this is what they can expect to see.

By Fiona Thompson
Sunday, 9th February 2020, 11:00 am

The Local History Library @ The ETR has been created by Sunderland City Council in the former Royal Bank of Scotland branch on the corner of Fawcett Street and High Street West in the city centre.

While its launch date is yet to be confirmed, work is well underway to get it ready for visitors.

The building has a past which has seen it be used as a tea room, a draper, a tailor, a jeweller, a furrier and a bank, with its new role set to help generations to come discover the city’s past and people.

It was built in 1872 by Henry Cooper from designs by Frank Caws and on behalf of tea merchant Ronald Grimshaw

Sunderland City Council, which now owns it and will run the library service, says it 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.

Here, we take a look at what it looks like as the regeneration work reaches the home straight.

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