Dismantling of Doxford gatehouse continues as work presses ahead on Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor phase three

Work is well underway to dismantle a piece of Sunderland’s shipbuilding history as the final stages of demolition take place a to make way for a new road.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 6:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 1:25 am
Most of the middle section of the 116 year-old Doxford shipyard gatehouse has now been removed.

Asbestos has been removed from the site and demolition has begun in earnest, with most of the building’s middle section now removed.

The gatehouse’s 116 year-old arches and railings are to be preserved and relocated not far away to a site beside the new road in 2021.

Most of the middle section of the 116 year-old Doxford shipyard gatehouse has now been removed.

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A pressure group called Save Doxford’s West Gateway, which wanted to restore and preserve the building in its entirety, has called the demolition “cultural vandalism”.

The group had hoped the building could be restored to its former glory, without affecting the new road. In July they were given public backing by Richard Doxford and his sister Martha Doxford, great-grandchildren of the yard's founder Sir William Doxford.

But Sunderland City Council has defended its decision to remove the gatehouse, saying that the state of it meant it was beyond repair.

Council leader, Graeme Miller, said: "This council has always been very aware of our heritage and how proud people are of it.

Demolition workers are carefully dismantling the building around its arches, which are to be preserved.

“It was agreed that, although the building and brickwork was in a dilapidated condition, its arch and gates could be restored and re-located alongside the new dual carriageway as public art and a memorial to our shipbuilding heritage.”

Construction work on the next phase of the third phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC 3) began in May.

The project is creating a dual carriageway through Pallion, running underneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge, into Deptford and onto the city centre and St Mary's Boulevard, essentially an extension of the A1231.

A £40.5million Government contribution towards the £70.8million project was confirmed in March this year. Council capital funding of £16.9million, an underspend from the Northern Spire project of £7.8million, and a DfT local transport grant of £5.6million all contributed to the project.

Heyday. How the Doxford shipyard gatehouse looked in 1921.