History & Heritage

Penshaw Monument

In Sunderland, we're proud of where we came from and we celebrate our past.

Since the 7th century, when St Peter's Church at Monkweamouth was the home of the Venerable Bede, and played a key role in the development of early Christianity, Sunderland has been world famous for many things - shipbuilding, glass making, coal mining to name a few.

Our hard-working people, from the monks of the Anglo-Saxon monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, to the miners and shipbuilders who kept the wheels of industrial Britain moving, are proud of our roots and keen to share our rich heritage.

Did you know there are approximately 77 commemorative blue plaques spread out across the city, which mark buildings, places of interest or influential people with connections to the city.  For further information on blue plaques click here

Local History Month takes place throughout the month of May. For more information on Sunderland's programme of events, talks, walks and exhibitions and to download a copy of the programme Click here

Originally a colliery railway built to carry coal mainly from pits in north west Durham to the Tyne at Jarrow. The earliest section, designed by George Stephenson was opened in January 1826, making it one of the world's first modern railways. Bowes Railway is believed to be the only operational...
Hylton Castle
Hylton Castle is a distinctive and highly decorative gatehouse-tower of a castle. The castle was built by the wealthy Sir William Hylton, shortly before 1400. Originally containing four floors of family accommodation, its entrance front displays royal and family heraldry, including Richard II's...
Keel Square
Keel Square at the heart of Sunderland city centre plays host to many events and is a place full of Sunderland’s heritage. The square, which was recently built and named by the public, celebrates Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage with the ‘Keel Line’ and the ‘Propellers of the City’. The ‘Keel...
North East Land Sea and Air Museum
The volunteers at the North East Land Sea and Air Museum have created several collections in one museum. The North East Aircraft Museum has a diverse collection of aircraft; from passnger aircraft to training planes and a mighty Vulcan. The Military Vehicle Museum has a collection of smaller...
Penshaw Monument
Get some fresh air and and take in stunning views from this 70-foot high monument, at the top of Penshaw Hill. The monument, built in 1844, is a half-size replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens and can be seen for miles around. It's one of Sunderland's best loved landmarks and even appears...
Sunderland’s landmark Roker Pier and lighthouse are Grade II listed and when opened in 1903 the structure was hailed as a true 'triumph of engineering'  no mean feat in an era which saw the construction of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and Paxton’s Crystal Palace. The original lantern was gas...
Ryhope Engines Museum
The Ryhope Engines Museum is based on the Ryhope Pumping Station which was built in 1868 to supply water to the Sunderland area. The station ceased operation in 1967 - after 100 years of continuous use. The Museum is now regarded as one of the finest industrial monuments in the North East of...
Inside St Andrew's Church
The inside of this church has many treasures including William Morris carpets, Ernest Grimson furniture and the painted ceiling in the sanctuary depicting the creation of the sun and stars which is painted in ‘egg-tempera’ Sometimes known as 'the cathedral of the arts and crafts movement', St...

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Did you know?

2013 marked 21 years since Sunderland city status from HM The Queen, on 23rd March 1992.

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