Historic Sunderland city centre former poorhouse building set to be restored

The historic building beside Sunderland Minster is set to be repaired and restored to their former glory.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 8:21 am

The Jane Gibson Almshouse Trust has been awarded £103,000 to repair and restore the 19th Century building beside Sunderland Minster.

The grant will be used to rebuild the outer rear boundary of the Grade II listed Almshouses, replacing it with a reclaimed limestone wall and repairing an internal 19th century wall to better reflect the original character of the Almshouses.

Built in 1863 and designed by Edward Robert Robson who later became the architect for Durham Cathedral, the almshouses were originally intended to house the poor of the parish as an alternative to workhouses, and a plaque now commemorates the building’s history.

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The rear of the almshouses.

The planned works will reflect the historic character of the Almshouses and restore the building.

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The often grim history of the site of the new Minster Park

Funding is being provided through the £1.9million Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Sunderland City Council.

The overall regeneration of the Minster Quarter will see an expected £3million invested in the area over the five-year scheme.

The grant will be used to rebuild the outer rear boundary of the Grade II listed Almshouses and repairing an internal 19th century wall.

Coun Kevin Johnston, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Dynamic City, said: “The Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme is transforming the look and feel of some of Sunderland’s most historic and iconic locations. I am delighted to see this latest grant go towards retaining another important piece of the city’s history.”

North east businesses Blackburn Marshall Construction and Beaumont Brown Architects will start the work next week.

Stuart Bain, Provost of Sunderland minster and chair of the trust, said: "The trustees are grateful for the grant contribution which has made the works on the almshouses possible. It contributes to securing the almshouses in good structural condition for the residents and maintains this historical structure which forms a beautiful part of Minster Park."

Ivor Crowther, Head of Investment England North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "Money raised by National Lottery players has achieved an incredible amount for Sunderland’s heritage. We’re delighted that Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme is one of those projects.

"This scheme is all about investing in and helping to conserve and improve one of Sunderland's most-loved and distinctive areas."

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