But work is also being done to preserve our historic buildings and give them new purpose. We’ve rounded up some of our old buildings which have been given new life.
Read about why preserving Sunderland’s historic buildings is so important amidst a changing skyline here.
1. Ryhope pumping station
This beautiful eye-catching structure was built in 1868 by Thomas Hawksley, said to be “a true real-life hero” for the part he played in saving people from the spread of deadly Cholera. The station is regarded as one of the finest industrial monuments in the North East. It ceased operation in 1967 after 100 years of continuous use, but has been beautifully preserved since.
Photo: library photo
2. Elephant Tea Rooms
A Grade II-listed Building, the Elephant Tea Rooms, was built between 1872 and 1877 by Henry Hopper to a design by architect Frank Caws for Ronald Grimshaw, a local tea merchant. The property blends Victorian Hindu Gothic and Venetian Gothic styles. The building has always attracted attention; its striking style and name advertising the exotic origins of tea sold there. The council took charge of the building and is transforming it into a Local Studies Library.
Photo: Stu Norton
3. Sunderland Minster.
Formerly St Michael and All Angels Bishopwearmouth or Bishopwearmouth Parish Church, the church was built around 900AD but due to alterations little remains of the earlier constructions. In 1998, the church was inaugurated as Sunderland Minster. The Town Park and Sunderland Minster is now getting a £1.9m make-over.
Photo: JPI Media
4. Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
The Winter Gardens is a 21st Century addition to Sunderland Museum. This tropical paradise has over 2,000 plants in the glass rotunda and from the tree top walkway visitors have a bird’s eye view of beautiful Mowbray Park. Originally, established in 1846, in the Athenaeum Building on Fawcett Street, the Winter Gardens Museum was damaged during World War II by a parachute mine in 1941 and was later demolished with a 1960s extension taking its place. However, in 2001 a lottery funded refurbishment of the museum created the new Winter Garden extension and improved facilities.
Photo: Tim Richardson