Former industrial sites recognised among some of the UK's best landscapes


Two former Sunderland industrial sites that were re-born as parks and public spaces are featured in a new book showcasing some of the country’s most beautiful gardens and landscapes.

Silksworth Sports Complex and Galley's Gill are showcased in '100 20th Century Landscapes & Gardens' from the Twentieth Century Society, which celebrates outstanding British garden and landscape design since 1914.

The new book examines 100 gardens and landscapes and their history, from a time when new public parks were created for growing suburbs and towns.

The book also studies how thoughtful landscaping has rehabilitated some of the most contaminated industrial sites in Britain and how it can regenerate old urban areas or give new settlements a sense of place.

Essays from leading design historians Barbara Simms, Elain Harwood and Alan Powers further explore the impact of garden and landscape design on cities in the 20th century.

Both Silksworth Sports Complex and Galley’s Gill are featured due to their shared industrial heritage before they were reborn as parkland.

The land at Silksworth Sports Complex is now home to Alder and Poplar trees, but it was previously a vast area of dereliction following the closure of Silksworth Colliery, which was cleared to make way for parkland and sports facilities.

The first coal drops at Galley’s Gill served the Hetton Colliery to Sunderland railway by George Stephenson. After the coal drops closed in the 1970s, the site was cleared of industrial dereliction and improved for general recreation in 1989. It is now parkland with dramatic views of the Wearmouth Bridge.

Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Amy Wilson said: “We are lucky to have some beautiful parks and public open spaces in Sunderland and it is fantastic to see not one, but two of the city’s former industrial sites and current green spaces recognised by the 20th Century Society in their new book, '100 20th Century Landscapes & Gardens.'”

The Twentieth Century Society is a British charity that campaigns for the preservation of architectural heritage from 1914 onwards. They provide support and advice to architects and planning authorities to protect the best twentieth-century architecture and design, whether through listing or sympathetic development and management.

More information about 100 20th Century Landscapes & Gardens is available at

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St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth formed part of the Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, which was home to the author of the first history of England, the Venerable Bede.


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