'Rot hound' set to help with restoration work at historic Sunderland church

Holy Trinity Church, in Sunderland's East End.
Holy Trinity Church, in Sunderland's East End.
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A 'rot hound' is is being let off the leash to help restoration work at one of Sunderland's most important historic landmarks.

The dogs are trained to sniff out any odour of dry rot and decay in the timbers and structure of old buildings, and 'Sam' in the care of his handler, is visiting Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church in the city's East End on Wednesday to put his specialist canine skills to good use.

They'll be welcomed by Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture Councillor John Kelly and Year Five pupils from neighbouring Hudson Road Primary, who are visiting the church to learn more about how it was built 300 years ago and been maintained over the generations.

​Schools from across the city have been invited to learn more about traditional craftsmen's skills and building conservation techniques with workshops at Holy Trinity Church.

This will include the chance to build a small stone wall with lime mortar, and learn more about traditional tools and materials used to repair historic buildings during a behind the scenes tour of the church which was home to the Sunderland's first town hall, first public library and even first fire engine.

Portfolio Holder for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly said: "Holy Trinity Church is one of the oldest buildings in our city, and this an opportunity for the younger generation to learn more about the skills which built and maintained it to become such an important part of our cultural heritage.

"Our joint bid with the Churches Conservation Trust to the Heritage Lottery Fund, is based on returning the building to the centre of community life as a cultural venue for educational and social activities centre.

"Getting young people involved is vital to the success of that bid, and I hope many more schools will become regular visitors to Holy Trinity Church to learn more about the huge part it played in the past and will hopefully play in the future of our city."