New pictures reveal demolition of Sunderland's historic Doxford shipyard gatehouse almost complete

Demolition of the historic Doxford shipyard gatehouse is almost complete.

Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 11:25 am
Updated Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 10:19 pm
This is what currently remains of the former Doxford gatehouse.

The 1903 entrance to the former Pallion yard, used by thousands of workers for over 80 years, is being removed to make way for a continuous dual carriageway between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland.

The demolition is part of the third phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC 3), which began in May.

The first stage of demolition was the removal of asbestos, beginning on September 2. The following week saw the start of removal of the gatehouse’s remaining structure.

The arches of the Doxford gatehouse are to be dismantled, stored and then rebuilt beside the new dual carriageway.

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Left now are the three central arches and their iron gates, which George V walked through in 1917. They are surrounded by scaffolding and will eventually be taken down, put into storage, then preserved and relocated nearby to a site beside the new road in 2021.

A pressure group, Save Doxford’s West Gateway, wanted to preserve the entire building and has called the demolition “cultural vandalism”.

The group said the building could have been restored to its former glory, without affecting the new road.

However, Sunderland City Council defended its decision to remove the gatehouse, saying that its dilapidated condition had put it beyond repair.

The Doxford gatehouse on Friday morning, September 20.

SSTC 3 will create the dual carriageway through Pallion, running beneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge, into Deptford and onto the city centre and St Mary's Boulevard, essentially as an extension of the A1231.

A £40.5million Government contribution towards the £70.8million project was confirmed in March this year. Council capital funding of £16.9million, an underspend from the Northern Spire project of £7.8million and a DfT local transport grant of £5.6million, all contributed to the project.

* William Doxford and Sons began in 1840 at Cox Green, moving to Pallion in 1857. It won the blue riband in 1904 and 1907 for the highest production rate in the world. The East Yard was rebuilt in 1976 as a huge covered shipyard.

Doxford’s joined Thompson’s, Laings and Greenwell’s in 1961, creating the Doxford and Sunderland Shipbuilding and Engineering Group. The Group was taken over in 1973 and re-named Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd.

The Doxford gatehouse on Friday, September 13.

It merged with Austin and Pickersgill’s in 1986 and closed in 1988.

The gatehouse looking grand in 1930.