Work begins to transform Sunderland's 'at risk' Holy Trinity Church

Years in the planning, work has finally begun to regenerate one of Sunderland’s most historically-important buildings.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th September 2019, 11:45 am

Holy Trinity Church was once at the heart of Old Sunderland, housing the old town’s council chamber and library. But in recent decades the Grade I-listed building had fallen into disrepair.

Last Thursday, 300 years to the day since the church was consecrated, on September 5, 1719, the long-awaited project to repair the building and turn it into a space for concerts and events began.

The £4.3million project to repair the Georgian building will consist of urgent and highly-skilled fabric repair, including brickwork and masonry, plastering and joinery, as well as sensitively equipping this space with up to date facilities.

Restoration works ceremony at HolyTrinity Church, Sunderland with Hudson Road Primary School pupils and project officials

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No longer used for regular worship, the church is in the the care of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), the national charity protecting historic churches at risk, who are hoping the restoration will put the building at the heart of the community once more.

The project has been made partly possible thanks to National Lottery Heritage Fund who invested £2.8million to save Holy Trinity.

Local firm, Historic Property Restoration (HPR), based in North Shields, recently won the contract to carry out the work, having previously worked on a variety of structures including churches and church halls, country houses, bank façades, and monuments. John Gibson from HPR said: “We are delighted to be involved with the scheme at Holy Trinity.

“We are particularly pleased that we are working with a client that thoroughly endorses the continuation of the conservation craft and skills through the promotion of apprenticeship schemes.”

Restoration works ceremony at HolyTrinity Church, Sunderland

Karen Houghton-Slater, Head of Regeneration at the CCT said: “We are very excited to be finally starting on site at Holy Trinity.

“This project offers us the opportunity to not only save and revitalise this ‘at risk’ Grade I-listed building, but also to provide a stunning cultural venue.”

Restoration works ceremony at HolyTrinity Church, Sunderland with Deputy Lord Lieutenant Dr Norman Taylor starting the work