Sunderland, Tyne and Wear facts for kids

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Sunderland
Sunderland
Clockwise, from top: Echo 24 and the Wearmouth Bridge, Roker Lighthouse, the National Glass Centre, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Fulwell Mill and Penshaw Monument
Sunderland shown within Tyne and Wear
Population 174,286 (2011 Census)
Demonym Mackem
OS grid reference NZ395575
• London 240 mi (387 km) SSE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SUNDERLAND
Postcode district SR1, SR2, SR3, SR4, SR5, SR6, SR9
Dialling code 0191
Police Northumbria
Fire Tyne and Wear
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament
  • Houghton and Sunderland South
  • Sunderland Central
  • Washington and Sunderland West
List of places
UK
England
Tyne and Wear

Sunderland (Listeni/ˈsʌndərlənd/, local /ˈsʊndlən/) is a city at the centre of the City of Sunderland metropolitan borough, in Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is a coastal city at the mouth of the River Wear with adjoining beaches of Roker, Seaburn and Whitburn. The etymology of Sunderland is derived from "Sundered-land" with the river travelling through the city as opposed to sitting "upon" the river.

Historically in County Durham, there were three original settlements on the site of modern-day Sunderland. On the north side of the river, Monkwearmouth was settled in 674 when Benedict Biscop founded the Monkwearmouth–Jarrow Abbey. Opposite the monastery on the south bank, Bishopwearmouth was founded in 930. A small fishing village called Sunderland, located toward the mouth of the river (modern day East End) was granted a charter in 1179.

Over the centuries, Sunderland grew as a port, trading coal and salt. Ships began to be built on the river in the 14th century. By the 19th century, the port of Sunderland had grown to absorb Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth. More recently, Sunderland has seen growth as a commercial centre for the automotive industry, science & technology and the service sector.

A person who is born or lives around the Sunderland area is sometimes colloquially known as a Mackem.

Geography

Sunderland riverside at sunset
See also: List of places in Sunderland
Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland
The Wearmouth Bridge (right) and railway bridge (left). This road was the route of the old A19, now it is the A1018.

Much of the city is located on a low range of hills running parallel to the coast. On average, it is around 80 metres above sea level. Sunderland is divided by the River Wear which passes through the middle of the city in a deeply incised valley, part of which is known as the Hylton gorge. The two road bridges connecting the north and south portions of the city are the Queen Alexandra Bridge at Pallion and the Wearmouth Bridge just to the north of the city centre. To the west of the city, the Hylton Viaduct carries the A19 dual-carriageway over the Wear (see map below).

Most of the suburbs of Sunderland are situated towards the west of the city centre with 70% of its population living on the south side of the river and 30% on the north side. The city extends to the seafront at Hendon and Ryhope in the south and Seaburn in the north.

Suburbs

Some, mainly local authority-built, Sunderland suburbs have most streets beginning with the same letter:

  • A: Farringdon
  • B: Town End Farm and Barnes
  • C: Hylton Castle
  • D: Dykelands Road area of Seaburn
  • E: Carley Hill
  • F: Ford Estate
  • G: Grindon
  • H: Hylton Lane / Havelock
  • K: Downhill
  • M: Moorside and Millfield, Tyne and Wear
  • P: Pennywell and Plains Farm and Pallion
  • R: Red House
  • S: Springwell, Southwick
  • T: Thorney Close
  • W: Witherwack

In Marley Pots, the streets are all associated with trees, e.g. Maplewood, Elmwood etc. In Millfield, the streets are all associated with plants, e.g. Chester, Fern, Rose, Hyacinth etc.

Demography

Population of Sunderland urban area
by ward
Ward Population
Castle 11,292
Fulwell 12,906
Redhill 11,867
St Peter's 11,760
Southwick 11,634
Northside total: 59,459
 
Barnes 12,030
Doxford 11,318
Hendon 11,551
Millfield 10,277
Pallion 10,385
Ryhope 11,217
St Anne's 11,409
St Chad's 10,922
St Michael's 11,626
Sandhill 11,319
Silksworth 11,245
Southside total: 123,299
 
City total: 182,758

At 3,874 hectares, Sunderland is the 45th largest urban area in England by measure of area, with a population density of 45.88 people per hectare.

According to statistics based on the 2001 census, 60% of homes in the Sunderland metropolitan area are owner occupied, with an average household size of 2.4 people. Three percent of the homes have no permanent residents.

The most ethnically diverse ward of the city was the (now defunct) Thornholme area which had a population of 10,214 in 2001. This ward, which included Eden Vale, Thornhill, as well as parts of Hendon, Ashbrooke and the city centre, has long been the focus of Wearside's Bangladeshi community. In Thornholme, 89.4% are white (86.3% White British), 7.8% are Asian and 1.3% are mixed-race. The 2001 census also recorded a substantial concentration of Greek nationals, living mainly in Central and Thornholme wards. The least ethnically diverse wards are in the north of the city. The area of Castletown is made up of 99.3% white, 0.4% Asian and 0.2% mixed-race.

In 2011, the Millfield ward, which contains the western half of the city centre, was the most ethnically diverse ward in Sunderland. Here is a table comparing Millfield with Sunderland and the wider City of Sunderland Metropolitan Borough. Millfield is a very ethnically diverse ward with large, noticeable Indian and Bangladeshi communities along with small Black African, Chinese and Pakistani communities.

2011 Census White British Asian Black
Millfield population 11,958 73.5% 17.6% 2.5%
Sunderland (Urban Subdivision) population 174,286 93.6% 3.4% 0.7%
Metropolitan Borough of Sunderland population 275,506 94.8% 2.6% 0.5%

Other wards with high ethnic minority populations include Hendon, Barnes, Pallion and St Peter's. The Sunderland Urban Core is made up of all the wards listed on the table on the right hand side. In 2011, the least ethnically diverse ward was the Northside suburb Redhill which was 99.0% White (98.3% White British), 0.3% Asian and 0.1% Black. Redhill is closely followed by Fulwell which was 98.2% White British (99.0% White). These two wards have so little ethnic minorities that they can even be compared to rural wards in Cumbria. In the Sunderland Urban Subdivision, 6.4% of the population were from an ethnic minority group (non white British) compared with 5.2% in the surrounding borough. Sunderland is less ethnically diverse than Gateshead and the South Shields, mainly because of many outlying suburbs to the south, north and west of the city such as St Chad's, Southwick and Fulwell which have extraordinarily high white British populations. However, Washington is around 96% white British, a larger percentage than Sunderland.

Religion

The area is part of the Anglican Diocese of Durham. It has been in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle since the Catholic hierarchy was restored in 1850.

In 2001 there were 114 people of Jewish faith recorded as living in Sunderland. There was no Jewish community before 1750, though subsequently a number of Jewish merchants from across the UK and Europe settled in Sunderland. A rabbi from Holland was established in the city in 1790. The once thriving Jewish community has been in slow decline since the mid-20th century. Many Sunderland Jews left for stronger Jewish communities in Britain or to Israel. The Jewish primary school, the Menorah School, closed in July 1983. The synagogue on Ryhope Road, opened in 1928, closed at the end of March 2006. (See also Jews and Judaism in North East England) The Jewish population of the Sunderland Metropolitan Borough is continually diminishing, as the Jewish population fell from 114 people in 2001, to 76 people in 2011.

Transport

Sunderland harbour
Sunderland harbour viewed from the north dock

The Port

The Port of Sunderland is the second largest municipally owned port in the U.K. The port offers a total of 17 quays handling cargoes including forest products, non-ferrous metals, steel, aggregates and refined oil products, limestone, chemicals and maritime cranes. It also handles offshore supply vessels and has ship repair and drydocking facilities.

The river berths are deepwater and tidal, while the South Docks are entered via a lock with an 18.9 m beam restriction.

Rail

Sunderland station Metro platforms
Sunderland railway station.
GRAND CENTRAL 2 Launch Day
Grand Central Trains operate 3 daily services from Sunderland to London King's Cross

Sunderland station was opened in 1879 but was completely redesigned to facilitate football teams and officials from countries who were drawn to play at Roker Park during England's hosting of the 1966 World Cup. The station as it currently stands was opened on 4 November 1965 and since then little has changed in terms of the general appearance of the station.. It was renovated in 2005, backed by the artistic team which designed the stations along the Wearside extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro in 2002. It is situated on the Durham Coast Line served by direct Northern services to Newcastle upon Tyne, Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough, as well as further afield to Hexham, Carlisle and the Gateshead MetroCentre. These services run hourly in each direction, cut from half-hourly on 12 December 2005.

From 1998 to 2004, Northern Spirit and subsequently Arriva Trains Northern ran bihourly direct trains from Sunderland to Liverpool Lime Street via Durham, Darlington, York, Leeds and Manchester. The services were withdrawn due to a change of franchise which saw the First TransPennine Express route gain a franchise in its own right, distinct from the Regional Railways network which Arriva had inherited. Services now terminate at Newcastle, and a separate service also travels to Middlesbrough, but both only stretch as far as Manchester Airport.

In 2006, Grand Central Railway announced plans to operate a direct service between Sunderland and London King's Cross via York, a service which had been stripped from Wearside twenty years earlier. A scaled-down service of one train each day began in December 2007, twelve months after the initial launch date, due to delays caused by restoring rolling stock and a protracted court case against the now defunct GNER franchise (which Grand Central won). The service increased to three departures daily each way on 1 March 2008, connecting a line which can run from Edinburgh to London. The service has proved so popular that a fourth direct train is now in operation.

When Virgin Trains East Coast were announced as the winners of the InterCity East Coast franchise in November 2014 their plans included a daily service from Sunderland to London Kings Cross to commence in December 2015.

Metro

Pallion station 02
Pallion Metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro is a small suburban station in Sunderland.

In May 2002 the Tyne and Wear Metro was extended to Sunderland in an official ceremony attended by The Queen, twenty-two years after it originally opened in Newcastle upon Tyne. The line now stretches deeper into South Tyneside and into Sunderland, incorporating Seaburn, Millfield, Pallion, as well as Sunderland's mainline railway station and stations at the Park Lane Transport Interchange and both campuses of the University of Sunderland before terminating at South Hylton.

In March 2014 Metro owner Nexus proposed an extension of the network by the creation of an "on-street" tram link which would connect the city centre to South Shields to the north and Doxford Park to the west.

Road

Main roads in sunderland
Illustration of the main roads through Sunderland.

There are no motorways that run through the Sunderland urban area. The largest and busiest road is the A19, which runs north-to-south along the western edge of the urban area, crossing the River Wear at Hylton. The A19 originally ran through the city centre until the bypass was built in the 1970s, the route is now the A1018. There are four main roads which support the city centre. The A690 Durham Road terminates in the city centre, and runs to Crook, County Durham via the city of Durham.

The A1231 starts in the city centre, crosses the Queen Alexandra Bridge and runs through Washington to the A1. Most of this road is national speed limit dual carriageway.

The A1018 and A183 roads both start in the centre of South Shields and enter Sunderland from the north, before merging to cross the Wearmouth Bridge. The A1018 follows a direct route from Shields to Sunderland, the A183 follows the coast. After crossing the bridge, the A1018 follows a relatively straight path to the south of Sunderland where it merges with the A19. The A183 becomes Chester Road and heads west out of the city to the A1 at Chester-le-Street.

In Autumn 2007 the Southern Radial Route was opened. This is a bypass of the A1018 through Grangetown and Ryhope – a stretch that commonly suffered from congestion, especially during rush hour. The bypass starts just south of Ryhope, and runs parallel to the cliff tops into Hendon, largely avoiding residential areas.

Sunderland strategic transport corridor project, is an ongoing investment to the city's road infrastructure. The scheme will improve transport links around the city ensuring continuous dual carriageway between the A19 road and the port of Sunderland. The scheme also includes the building of a new wear bridge between Pallion on the south embankment and Castletown to the north.

Bus

Buses in Park Lane Interchange - geograph.org.uk - 1748466
Go North East buses in Park Lane Interchange

A multimillion-pound transport interchange at Park Lane was opened on 2 May 1999 by the then Brookside actor Michael Starke. With 750,000 passengers per year it is the busiest bus and coach station in Britain after Victoria Coach Station in Central London, and has won several awards for innovative design. The majority of bus services in Sunderland are provided by Stagecoach in Sunderland and Go North East, with a handful of services provided by Arriva North East. Apart from these, there are also inter state and inter city route buses mainly operated by National Express and Megabus . A new Metro station was built underneath the bus concourse to provide a direct interchange as part of the extension to South Hylton in 2002.

Cycle

There are a number of cycle routes that run through and around Sunderland. The National Cycle Network National Route 1 runs from Ryhope in the south, through the centre of the city, and then along the coast towards South Shields. Britain's most popular long-distance cycle route – The 'C2C' Sea to Sea Cycle Route – traditionally starts (or ends) when the cyclist dips their wheel in the sea on Roker beach. The 'W2W' 'Wear-to-Walney' route, and the 'Two-Rivers' (Tyne and Wear) route also terminate in Sunderland.

Culture

Literature and art

Sunderlandstreets2
Sunniside district in the city centre.

Lewis Carroll was a frequent visitor to the area. He wrote most of Jabberwocky at Whitburn as well as "The Walrus and the Carpenter". Some parts of the area are also widely believed to be the inspiration for his Alice in Wonderland stories, such as Hylton Castle and Backhouse Park. There is a statue to Carroll in Whitburn library. Lewis Carroll was also a visitor to the Rectory of Holy Trinity Church, Southwick; then a township independent of Sunderland. Carroll's connection with Sunderland, and the area's history, is documented in Bryan Talbot's 2007 graphic novel Alice in Sunderland. More recently, Sunderland-born Terry Deary, writer of the series of Horrible Histories books, has achieved fame and success, and many others such as thriller writer Sheila Quigley, are following his lead.

The Salford-born painter, L. S. Lowry, was a frequent visitor, staying in the Seaburn Hotel in Sunderland. Many of his paintings of seascapes and shipbuilding are based on Wearside scenes. The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art on Fawcett Street and Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens showcase exhibitions and installations from up-and-coming and established artists alike, with the latter holding an extensive collection of LS Lowry. The National Glass Centre on Liberty Way also exhibits a number of glass sculptures.

Music

Sunderland musicians that have gone on to reach international fame include Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and all four members of Kenickie, whose vocalist Lauren Laverne later became known as a TV presenter. In recent years, the underground music scene in Sunderland has helped promote the likes of Frankie & the Heartstrings, The Futureheads, The Golden Virgins and Field Music.

Other Mackem musicians include punk rockers The Toy Dolls ("Nellie the Elephant", December 1984), punk band Leatherface, the lead singer of dance outfit Olive, Ruth Ann Boyle ("You're Not Alone", May 1997) and A Tribe of Toffs ("John Kettley is a Weatherman", December 1988).

In May 2005, Sunderland played host to BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend concert at Herrington Country Park, attended by 30,000 visitors and which featured Foo Fighters, Kasabian, KT Tunstall, Chemical Brothers and The Black Eyed Peas.

The Sunderland Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland AFC, is recognised internationally as a major stadium concert venue. Headlining acts have included; Oasis, Take That, Pink, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Rihanna, One Direction, Foo Fighters and Beyonce.

The Empire Theatre sometimes plays host to music acts.

Independent, a city centre nightclub/music venue, satisfies underground music lovers.

The Manor Quay, the students' union nightclub on St. Peter's Riverside at the University of Sunderland, has also hosted the Arctic Monkeys, Maxïmo Park, 911, the Levellers and Girls Aloud. In 2009, the club was taken into private ownership under the name Campus and hosted N-Dubz, Ocean Colour Scene, Little Boots, Gary Numan and Showaddywaddy but has since been returned to the university. The former students' union Wearmouth Hall hosted Voice of the Beehive, Manic Street Preachers, The Primitives and Radiohead before closing in 1992.

Since 2009, Sunderland: Live in the City has played host to a series of free and ticketed live music events throughout venues in the city centre. Sunderland also hosts the yearly Split Music Festival at Ashbrooke Cricket Club which was first celebrated in October 2009 and will return in 2010 with Maxïmo Park and The Futureheads headlining.

In 2013 local band Frankie and The Heartstrings opened a temporary pop up record store in the city, Pop Recs Ltd. Initially only intended to remain open for a fortnight, the store remains open and has hosted live performances from acts including The Cribs, The Vaccines and The Charlatans.

Theatre

Sunderland Empire
The Sunderland Empire

The Sunderland Empire Theatre opened in 1907 on High Street West in the city centre. It is the largest theatre in between Edinburgh and London, and completed a comprehensive refurbishment in 2004. Operated by international entertainment group Live Nation, the Empire is the only theatre between Glasgow and Leeds with sufficient capacity to accommodate large West End productions. It is infamous for playing host to the final performance of British comic actor Sid James who died of a heart attack whilst on stage in 1976.

The Royalty Theatre on Chester Road is the home to the amateur Royalty Theatre Group who also put on a number of low-budget productions throughout the year. Film producer David Parfitt belonged to this company before achieving worldwide fame and is now a patron of the theatre.

The Sunniside area plays host to a number of smaller theatrical workshops and production houses, as well as the Theatre Restaurant, which combines a dining experience with a rolling programme of musical theatre.

Media, film and television

Sunderland has two local newspapers: the daily evening tabloid The Sunderland Echo, founded in 1873, and the Sunderland Star – a free newspaper.

It also has its own commercial station Sun FM formerly an independent station it's now owned by media giant UKRD, a "proper" community radio station Spark FM and a hospital radio station – Radio Sunderland for Hospitals, and can receive other north-eastern independent radio stations Metro Radio, Magic 1152, Capital North East and Real Radio. The current regional BBC radio station is BBC Radio Newcastle. The regional DAB multiplex for the Sunderland area is operated by Bauer DIGITAL RADIO LTD. – owned by Bauer Digital Radio plc. The city is covered by BBC North East and Cumbria and ITV's Tyne Tees franchise, which has a regional office in the University's Media Centre.

Sunderland's first film company was established in 2008; and is known as "Tanner Films Ltd" and is based in the Sunniside area of the city. The companies first film, "King of the North" starring Angus MacFadyen and set in the Hetton-le-Hole area of the city; is currently under production.

History

St peters sunderland
St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth. Only the porch and part of the west wall are what remain of the original monastery built in 674.

Early history

The earliest inhabitants of the Sunderland area were Stone Age hunter-gatherers and artifacts from this era have been discovered, including microliths found during excavations at St Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth. During the final phase of the Stone Age, the Neolithic period (c. 4000 – c. 2000 BC), Hastings Hill, on the western outskirts of Sunderland, was a focal point of activity and a place of burial and ritual significance. Evidence includes the former presence of a cursus monument. It is believed the Brigantes inhabited the area around the River Wear in the pre- and post-Roman era. There is a long-standing local legend that there was a Roman settlement on the south bank of the River Wear on what is the site of the former Vaux Brewery, although no archaeological investigation has taken place. Recorded settlements at the mouth of the Wear date to 674, when an Anglo-Saxon nobleman, Benedict Biscop, granted land by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, founded the Wearmouth–Jarrow (St. Peter's) monastery on the north bank of the river – an area that became known as Monkwearmouth. Biscop's monastery was the first built of stone in Northumbria. He employed glaziers from France and in doing so he re-established glass making in Britain. In 686 the community was taken over by Ceolfrid, and Wearmouth–Jarrow became a major centre of learning and knowledge in Anglo-Saxon England with a library of around 300 volumes.

The Codex Amiatinus, described by White as the 'finest book in the world', was created at the monastery and was likely worked on by Bede, who was born at Wearmouth in 673. This is one of the oldest monasteries still standing in England. While at the monastery, Bede completed the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) in 731, a feat which earned him the title The father of English history.

In the late 8th century, the Vikings raided the coast, and by the middle of the 9th century, the monastery had been abandoned. Lands on the south side of the river were granted to the Bishop of Durham by Athelstan of England in 930; these became known as Bishopwearmouth and included settlements such as Ryhope which fall within the modern boundary of Sunderland.

In 1100, Bishopwearmouth parish included a fishing village at the southern mouth of the river (now the East End) known as 'Soender-land' (which evolved into 'Sunderland'). This settlement was granted a charter in 1179 by Hugh Pudsey, then the Bishop of Durham.

From 1346 ships were being built at Wearmouth, by a merchant named Thomas Menville. In 1589, salt was made in Sunderland. Large vats of seawater were heated using coal. As the water evaporated the salt remained. This process, known as salt panning, gave its name to Bishopwearmouth Panns; the modern-day name of the area the pans occupied is Pann's Bank, on the river bank between the city centre and the East End. As coal was required to heat the salt pans, a coal mining community began to emerge. Only poor quality coal was used in salt panning; quality coal was traded via the port, which subsequently began to grow.

17th and 18th centuries

HolyTrinitySunderland-apse
Holy Trinity church, built in 1719

Before the 1st English civil war the North, with the exclusion of Kingston upon Hull, declared for the King. In 1644 the North was captured by parliament. The villages that later become Sunderland, were taken in March 1644. One artifact of the English civil war near this area was the long trench; a tactic of later warfare.

In the village of Offerton, roughly three miles in land from the area, skirmishes occurred. Parliament also blockaded the River Tyne, crippling the Newcastle coal trade which allowed the coal trade of the area to flourish for a short period. Because of the difficulty for colliers trying to navigate the shallow waters of the Wear, the coal was loaded onto keels (large boats) and taken downriver to the waiting colliers. The keels were manned by a close-knit group of workers known as 'keelmen'.

In 1719, the parish of Sunderland was carved from the densely populated east end of Bishopwearmouth by the establishment of a new parish church, Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland (today also known as Sunderland Old Parish Church). The three original settlements Wearmouth (Bishopwearmouth, Monkwearmouth and Sunderland) had begun to combine, driven by the success of the port of Sunderland and salt panning and shipbuilding along the banks of the river. Around this time, Sunderland was known as 'Sunderland-near-the-Sea'.

In 1794 Sunderland Barracks were completed and in 1796 the world's second iron bridge was constructed in the city.

19th century

Local government was divided between the three parishes (Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland, St. Michael's, Bishopwearmouth, and St. Peter's, Monkwearmouth) and when cholera broke out in 1831, the "select vestrymen", as the church councilmen were called, were unable to cope with the epidemic. Sunderland, a main trading port at the time, was the first British town to be struck with the 'Indian cholera' epidemic. The first victim, William Sproat, died on 23 October 1831. Sunderland was put into quarantine, and the port was blockaded, but in December of that year the disease spread to Gateshead and from there, it rapidly made its way across the country, killing an estimated 32,000 people. Among those to die was Sunderland's Naval hero Jack Crawford. The novel The Dress Lodger by American author Sheri Holman is set in Sunderland during the epidemic.

Demands for democracy and organised town government saw the Borough of Sunderland created in 1835. Sunderland developed on a plateau above the river, and never suffered from the problem of allowing people to cross the river without interrupting the passage of high masted vessels. The Wearmouth Bridge was built in 1796, at the instigation of Rowland Burdon, the Member of Parliament for County Durham, and is described by Nikolaus Pevsner as being of superb elegance. It was the second iron bridge built after the famous span at Ironbridge, but over twice as long and only three-quarters the weight. At the time of building, it was the biggest single-span bridge in the world. Further up river, the Queen Alexandra Bridge was built in 1909, linking Deptford and Southwick.

In 1897, Monkwearmouth became a part of Sunderland. Bishopwearmouth had long since been absorbed.

Victoria Hall Disaster

Victoria Hall Memorial
The memorial to the Victims of the Victoria Hall Disaster in Mowbray Park

Victoria Hall was a large concert hall on Toward Road facing Mowbray Park. The hall was the scene of a tragedy on 16 June 1883 when 183 children died. During a variety show, children rushed towards a staircase for treats. At the bottom of the staircase, the door had been opened inward and bolted in such a way as to leave only a gap wide enough for one child to pass at a time. The children surged down the stairs and those at the front were trapped and crushed by the weight of the crowd behind them.

The asphyxiation of 183 children aged between three and 14 is the worst disaster of its kind in British history. The memorial, a grieving mother holding a dead child, is located in Mowbray Park inside a protective canopy. Newspaper reports triggered a mood of national outrage and an inquiry recommended that public venues be fitted with a minimum number of outward opening emergency exits, which led to the invention of 'push bar' emergency doors. This law remains in force. Victoria Hall remained in use until 1941 when it was destroyed by a German bomb.

20th and 21st centuries

Deptford, Sunderland 14.9.1917
Sunderland in 1917

As the former heavy industries have declined, so electronic, chemical, paper and motor manufactures have replaced them, including the city's Nissan car plant.

The public transport network was enhanced in 1900 - 1919 with an electric tram system. The trams were gradually replaced by buses during the 1940s before being completely axed in 1954.

The First World War led to a notable increase in shipbuilding but also resulted in the town being targeted by a Zeppelin raid in 1916. The Monkwearmouth area was struck on 1 April 1916 and 22 lives were lost. Many citizens also served in the armed forces during this period, over 25,000 men from a population of 151,000.

Wearmouth Bridge to the Sea 2nd March 1967
Sunderland viewed from above in 1967

With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Sunderland was a key target of the German Luftwaffe, who claimed the lives of 267 people in the town, caused damage or destruction to 4,000 homes, and devastated local industry. After the war, more housing was developed. The town's boundaries expanded in 1967 when neighbouring Ryhope, Silksworth, Herrington, South Hylton and Castletown were incorporated into Sunderland.

During the second half of the 20th century shipbuilding and coalmining declined; shipbuilding ended in 1988 and coalmining in 1993. At the worst of the unemployment crisis up to 20% of the local workforce were unemployed in the mid-1980s.

Some new industries developed in the area at this time, and the service sector expanded during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1986 Japanese car manufacturer Nissan opened its Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK factory in Washington, which has since gone on to become the UK's largest car factory.

NMUK
Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd in Sunderland. Factory complex, including wind turbines, taken from Penshaw Monument

From 1990, the banks of the Wear were regenerated with the creation of housing, retail parks and business centres on former shipbuilding sites. Alongside the creation of the National Glass Centre the University of Sunderland has built a new campus on the St. Peter's site. The clearance of the Vaux Breweries site on the north west fringe of the city centre created a further opportunity for development in the city centre.

Sunderland received city status in 1992.

The 20th century saw Sunderland A.F.C. established as the Wearside area's greatest claim to sporting fame. Founded in 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A.F.C. by schoolmaster James Allan, Sunderland joined The Football League for the 1890–91 season. By 1936 the club had been league champions on five occasions. They won their first FA Cup in 1937, but their only post-World War II major honour came in 1973 when they won a second FA Cup. They have had a checkered history and dropped into the old third division for a season and been relegated thrice from the Premier League, twice with the lowest points ever, earning the club a reputation as a yo-yo club. After 99 years at the historic Roker Park stadium, the club moved to the 42,000-seat Stadium of Light on the banks of the River Wear in 1997. At the time, it was the largest stadium built by an English football club since the 1920s, and has since been expanded to hold nearly 50,000 seated spectators. Like many cities, Sunderland comprises a number of areas with their own distinct histories, Fulwell, Monkwearmouth, Roker, and Southwick on the northern side of the Wear, and Bishopwearmouth and Hendon to the south.

Many fine old buildings remain despite the bombing that occurred during World War II. Religious buildings include Holy Trinity Church, built in 1719 for an independent Sunderland, St. Michael's Church, built as Bishopwearmouth Parish Church and now known as Sunderland Minster and St. Peter's Church, Monkwearmouth, part of which dates from AD 674, and was the original monastery. St. Andrew's Roker, known as the "Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement", contains work by William Morris, Ernest Gimson and Eric Gill. St Mary's Catholic Church is the earliest surviving Gothic revival church in the city.

On 24 March 2004, the city adopted St. Benedict Biscop as its patron saint.

Events

Red Arrows Sunderland Airshow 2009 (2)
The Red Arrows display team perform at the 2009 Sunderland International Airshow

Each year on the last weekend in July, the city hosts the Sunderland International Airshow. It takes place primarily along the sea front at Roker and Seaburn,

Sunderland also hosts the free International Festival of Kites, Music and Dance, which attracts kite-makers from around the world to Northumbria Playing Fields, Washington.

Every year the city hosts a large Remembrance Day memorial service, the largest in the UK outside London in 2006.

Sunderland's inaugural film festival took place in December 2003 at the Bonded Warehouse on Sunderland riverside, in spite of the lack of any cinema facilities in the city at that time, featuring the films of local and aspiring directors as well as reshowings of acclaimed works, such as Alan Bleasdale's The Monocled Mutineer, accompanied by analysis. By the time of the second festival commencing on 21 January 2005, a new cinema multiplex had opened in Sunderland to provide a venue which allowed the festival to showcase over twenty films.

Attractions

Notable attractions for visitors to Sunderland include the 14th century Hylton Castle and the beaches of Roker and Seaburn. The National Glass Centre opened in 1998, reflecting Sunderland's distinguished history of glass-making. Despite sustained support from the Arts Council the centre has struggled to meet visitor targets since it opened.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, on Borough Road, was the first municipally funded museum in the country outside London. It houses a comprehensive collection of the locally produced Sunderland Lustreware pottery. The City Library Arts Centre, on Fawcett Street, also houses the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.

The City of Sunderland has been commended several times on its commitment to preserving its natural facilities. As such, Sunderland has been awarded prestigious titles by the Britain in Bloom collective in 1993, 1997 and 2000.

Twin towns and sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the United Kingdom

Sunderland is twinned with:

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