The history of the Grade II listed Simpson Street School after fire damages the derelict building

A former Sunderland school hit by fire is a Grade II listed building that had a long-standing history in the city.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:01 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 8:59 am

Five crews from across Sunderland and Gateshead were called to the now derelict building at 6.19pm and battled the fire for more than five hours, before leaving the scene at 11.32pm.

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The damage caused to the former Simpson Street School in Sunderland.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums confirm that the school opened in 1867 as Deptford Yard Church of England School and consisted of a boys and infants department.

The Gothic style building was protected with a Grade II listing in 1994.

It was also known as The Laing Church of England School during this time but later became Simpson Street Boys Board School with a separate department for girls called Simpson Street Girls Board School in 1884, after the school came under the control of Sunderland School Board.

Over the years, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said the school held various names before it eventually closed in July 1961, to make way for an industrial development.

On its website Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums said: “In April 1929, a new school with segregated departments was created for pupils of eleven and upwards; Deptford Terrace Senior Boys School and Deptford Terrace Senior Girls School.

“The premises at Simpson Street remained as Simpson Street Junior School.

“From January 1943, the boys and girls departments amalgamated to form Deptford Terrace Senior Mixed School.

“In July 1961, the school was closed to make way for an industrial development on the site.”

Historic England said the former secondary school had since been used for artists’ workshops.