Sunderland's 140-year-old Roker Park bandstand expected to remain in 'state of disrepair' until autumn 2023
Fenced-off and showing signs of decay, Roker Park’s historic bandstand is set to remain in a sorry state for at least another year, council chiefs have confirmed.
The Grade II-listed structure is more than 140 years old, and was once the stunning Victorian centrepiece of the coastal park.
But the ornamental bandstand has fallen into a state of disrepair. It was fenced off in summer 2021, with warning signs put in place.
Councillor Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, said at the time that the local authority had identified ‘substantial repair work was required, particularly to the roof’ and the work would be incorporated into ‘a wider repair restoration and conservation project’.
She added that temporary had been carried out as an interim measure and the area cordoned off for safety reasons, ‘pending the allocation of the necessary project funding’ with work expected to be complete within 12 months.
However, council chiefs have now admitted work will probably not be complete for at least another year after the further issues with the bandstand structure were identified.
A statement issued by Sunderland City Council reads: “The bandstand in Roker Park was originally fenced off for minor repair works.
"During the work it became apparent that more significant repairs would be needed to the roof timbers, so the bandstand was made safe until a full repair, restoration and conservation can be carried out.
"Subject to detailed design and specifications being drawn up, this is likely to take place in Autumn 2023.”
Historic England lists the octagonal structure as dating from circa 1880 and its listed building entry describes it as a ‘cast-iron structure and railings with wood base and metal-covered roof with iron finial’, also noting its ‘corniced base has panelled patterns on sides’, its ‘slender columns with tall bases and crocket capitals support ornamental arch braces and patterned beams’ and ‘ornamental railings between columns’
Its ‘tented roof with flattened eaves’, ‘central cupola raised on pearced iron band with iron cresting’, ‘scalloped edges to tiers of roof covering’ and ‘tall spiked finial’ are also mentioned.