Your Shout! Sunderland public asked to name city’s new public square

Keel Line propeller art work, which will be the centrepiece of the new square in Sunderland..
Keel Line propeller art work, which will be the centrepiece of the new square in Sunderland..
Have your say

PEOPLE in Wearside are being called upon to help create and name the city’s new public square.

The area of land under construction outside Sunderland Magistrates’ Court has not yet been given a name.

Sunderland City Council has asked people to vote for a name from a list of nine suggestions, or put forward their own.

The names put forward by the council are based on the city’s industrial and shipbuilding heritage, which form the theme of two specially-commissioned artworks by Stephen Broadbent – Propellers of the City and The Keel Line.

One will be a 3.5-metre high landmark sculpture in the form of a giant glass propeller, which will include photographs of hundreds of Sunderland’s shipyard workers.

The artist will be at one of the Roker Pods over the weekend of the Sunderland International Airshow to chat about the artwork and to receive more material for inclusion.

He said: “We really want Sunderland people to bring along photographs of their family members working in the shipyards to us in the pods over Airshow weekend, where we can scan them while they wait. This is almost the last chance to submit photographs for inclusion in the piece.

“We know that people are very proud of Sunderland’s shipbuilding reputation and the people who worked in the yards – this piece will celebrate them now and show future generations how the city built its reputation for making things.”

The Keel Line will lead from the sculpture, across the new public square and continue over the proposed new business district on the former Vaux brewery site, towards the river.

At 291.7 metres, the line represents the full length of the Naess Crusader, the longest ship ever to be built in Sunderland.

The 600mm-wide granite line will include the names of thousands of the most significant ships built in Sunderland’s shipyards, dating back to the 18th century.

Cabinet Secretary Mel Speding said: “A vibrant city centre needs a heart and this new square will provide a focal point for Sunderland city centre, a place for events and to meet with friends. In developing the scheme, we have also taken the opportunity to celebrate our city’s proud industrial and shipbuilding heritage with the use of materials and the two artworks, which are very specific to Sunderland.

“For the Propellers of the City, I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

“By supplying their images, they will not only contribute to a spectacular piece of modern public art but will also be celebrating the contribution that their family made to the history of Sunderland.”

Photographs can also be taken to the Living History North East group at Donnison School Heritage and Education Centre, in Church Walk, between noon and 4pm on Tuesdays and Fridays before August 8.

Images for the artwork will also be used in the development of a Keel Line website, documenting the names of almost 20,000 shipyard workers of the past.

TO help name the new square, visit

The suggested names are:

Keel Square/Yard

Voyager Place/Square

Vector Place/Square

Unity Place/Square

Swan Place/Square

Vista Place/Square

Victory Place/Square

Sandrail Place/Square

Venerable Place/Square