The Sunderland structure which was described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’

It was hailed as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ at the time.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 10:00 am
Crowtree Leisure Centre pictured in 1977.

An aerial photograph of the roof of the Crowtree Leisure Centre made for interesting viewing in 1975.

It showed the roof in the early stages of its construction before the 800 ton structure, covering nearly three acres, was completed.

An aerial view of the roof under construction in 1975.

The process of hauling it into position was impressive in itself, the roof was built at ground level and was later jacked up into position.

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The painstaking job took eight days.

The public had not had a chance to see the structure before it was lifted as it was hidden behind hoardings.

But Coun Ralph Baxter described it as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.

A 1981 view of the centre.

The whole story of Crowtree began in 1971 when it was agreed that the project should go ahead.

By November 1977, the centre opened and it was the ice rink which was first available to the public. Free sessions were offered to the visitors for the first week.

After that, the rest of the facilities opened a week later and they were soon a hit.

By 1988, admission levels had reached around two million people a year and at that time, Crowtree Leisure Centre was named as the most popular in the country.

The demolition of Crowtree showed the roof structure.

In its prime, the much-used centre was one of the busiest in Britain. It held everything from swimming lessons to ice skating, keep fit classes for all ages, to indoor football, indoor bowls and from trampolining to basketball.

It was eventually closed to the general public in October 2011.

But what are your best memories of it and which of the facilities did you use. Did you enjoy a session of ice skating or perhaps it was the pool which was your favourite part of it all.

Share your recollections of Crowtree by emailing Let’s share some wonderful memories.