Sunderland is an industrial city sitting on the River Wear, in Tyne and Wear, in the north east of England. It has a current population of 284,600.
Once known as asunder-land, the settlement does not appear in the Domesday Book but by 1100 was a fishing village and by 1154 a town. Sunderland grew slowly and in the Mid Fourteenth Century half the population was killed by the plague. Later in that century salt making and ship building commenced. Whilst coal mining had started up the town was unimportant until the 17th Century. During the eighteenth century coal was being exported, a glass industry was begun and in the following century piers were built, the Wearmouth Bridge constructed, rope making was important and ship building boomed.
At the beginning of the 19th Century the population was 12,400 and at the end had reached 146,000. During Victorian times all the usual buildings, services and infra structure of a modern town were introduced. Coal mining and shipbuilding were still in the forefront of the local economy.
The twentieth century saw further modern amenities and just before WW2 slum clearance began. During the war 267 were killed by bombing, 1000 homes destroyed and 3000 damaged.
Post WW2 new housing and civic projects continued apace but unfortunately the old traditional industries, coal mining and ship building, went in reverse. However, new jobs were created by car making, electronics, mechanical engineering and paper making.
In 1992 the town was made a city and further improvements have been made to sport and leisure and the Tyne and Wear Metro railway has been extended into the city.
Things to Do:
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens:
You can discover the history of the city from prehistoric to modern times. There are collections, video presentations, hands on experiences and media interactive stations. The Winter Garden has tropical plants, water features etc. Based in the city centre, in Burdon Road, SR1 1PP there is also a shop and café. It is open every day until 5pm. Further details can be obtained by phoning 0191 561 2323 or by checking the website at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Gallery for Contemporary Art:
Based at the top of the city library this gallery has a continuing change in exhibitions and specialises in nurturing young talent. It is free entry and is located on Fawcett Street, SR1 1RE. Opening times are Monday to Saturday all year, except Christmas and New Year. For full information visit www.ngca.gov.uk.
Sixteen miles away along the A693 sits Beamish “The Living Museum of the North.” This excellent day out is centred on a museum based town, pit village, farm and railway station. All elements are connected by a working tram which is very popular. All those working there are in clothes of the period and shops, school etc. are exhibited as of the time. This 300 acre site is located in County Durham, DH9 0RG. Opening times are variable so checking out www.beamish.org.uk or phoning 0191 370 4000, is recommended. There are plenty of places to eat and drink and various shops open.
As well as driving, service bus 8 runs from Sunderland Interchange to Beamish via Washington, Chester-le-Street and Stanley.
National Glass Centre:
This is an opportunity to learn about, make and enjoy contemporary glass, and watch glass blowing. With free admission the centre is open every day until 4.45pm except Christmas and New Year. There is a café and the venue can be found at Liberty Way, SR6 0GL. Contact details are www.nationalglasscentre.com, or 0191 515 5555, or email to email@example.com..
Although known predominately as an industrial town the city has twelve excellent beaches ranging from Marsden in the north to Dalton Burn in the south. Amazingly this number of beaches is more than the majority of the traditional seaside resorts.
Close to the sea is the Roker Park Conservation area which has autumn illuminations, a land train, fun fair, roller rink, model railway etc. To get there is a park and ride bus from St. Mary’s Boulevard, in the city centre, every 20 minutes. Full information at www.sunderlandlive.co.uk.
Monkwearmouth Station Museum:
This attractive Grade 2 listed building was once the main station of the city. This 1840s building has again been brought to life again through interactive displays and original features such as ticket booths, fireplaces and shuttered windows. It has an excellent range of material subject with emphasis on local social and industrial life, transport related artefacts, a model railway, a children’s centre and a shop. There is also a fine collection of L.S.Lowry paintings. The museum is located on North Bridge Street, SR5 1AP and is a 10 minute walk from the city centre or a couple of minutes’ walk from St. Peter’s Metro Station. Information can be found at www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk.
Ryhope Engines Museum:
One of the finest industrial museums in the North of England, it is located at the old disused Ryhope Pumping Station. Closed in 1967 the pump engines are kept in top condition and are run for visitors. There is also a blacksmiths forge, a waterwheel and numerous domestic and industrial water items. The museum is located on Waterworks Road, Ryhope, SR2 0ND which is three miles from the city centre. The site can be accessed by using bus 2/2A from Sunderland city centre. Information for visitors to the museum can be found at www.ryhopeengines.org.uk.
Although nearly 14 miles away from Sunderland a visit to this city is a must. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the country with the wonderful cathedral and castle dominating the city from their hilltop location. Travel along the A690 or take buses 20, 20A or X20 from Sundeland.
A number of clubs and bars can be found in the city centre, mainly in the Holmeside/Albion Place area, and helped along by the student population a good night can be had. There are also a very good selection of pubs, many with live music, so a good Mackem evening out is guaranteed.
The Sunderland Empire is one of the country’s important theatres. This Edwardian venue puts on West End musicals, comedy, panto, music and dance. Located in High Street West, full programme details can be obtained by phoning 0844 471 3022 or at www.atgtickets.com.
The Royalty, which has been in existence for ninety years, is a local theatre which puts on drama. Full details at www.royaltytheatre.co.uk.
Cinemas in Sunderland are operated by the Empire chain. The multi-screen cinema is found on Lambton Street, SR1 1TP. For full listings check out
Ten pin bowling can be found at MFA Bowl in High Street West (to book lanes 0843 290 8924) or Riverside Bowling in Colima Avenue (0191 549 6778).
The city centre contains a good range of restaurants, cafes, pubs, hotels and takeaway establishments etc., serving up French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Oriental and other cuisines. There are also establishments selling British food, including fish and chips, being a coastal city.
Although the massive Metro Centre, in Gateshead, is only a few miles away, the centre of Sunderland generally holds it own as a retail destination. The Bridges Centre has 90 stores, which include a national department store, covers the usual range of British chain stores and a selection of eateries. There are independent shops to be found in Park Lane Shopping Village and for value there is Jacky Whites Market, adjacent to Bridges Centre.
There is a good selection of 4* and 3* hotels to be found within the city, together with guest houses, pubs and self-catering accommodation. A few of these are located on the coast.
Eighteen bus routes are run by Stagecoach connecting the city centre to the suburbs, both north and south of the River Wear. Other operators such as Arriva and Go North East also have local routes. Full timetables etc. can be found at the Nexus website, www.nexus.org.uk. The city bus station is in Park Lane, which is also an interchange for the Metro and also a base for National Express coaches. There is also a Travel Shop, retail outlets and a taxi rank.
Sunderland sits on the Tyne and Wear metro green line, which runs from South Hylton to Newcastle Airport. The main stations within the city are University, Park Lane, Sunderland, St. Peter’s and Stadium of Light.
The main south/north road through the city is the A1018, which turns into the A19 just south of Jarrow, then passes over the River Tyne. The road to Durham is the A690. For fast access to and from the city to the rest of the country is by travelling west on the A1231, which leads to the A1/A1(M).
The city is connected to London King’s Cross via Hartlepool and York. There is a route to both Middlesbrough and Newcastle. At Newcastle routes to Carlisle, Edinburgh and Glasgow can be picked up. The station is in Athenaeum Street.
The city centre can be reached from Newcastle Airport by Metro or taxi. The airport is 20 miles, approximately 37 minutes, away.
Up to 20 taxi services run within the city and local area.
Stadium: Stadium of Light. Sunderland. SR5 1SU
Chairman: Stewart Donald
Current League: Championship
Phone Number: 0871 911 1200
Fans Forum: www.readytogo.net
After formation in 1879 the club played at various grounds, before moving to Newcastle Road, which was their home when they were elected as the 13th League club, in 1890, replacing Stoke. They hit the ground running, becoming the first club to win three League titles, in 1892, 1893 and 1895, and the first to score 100 goals in a season. Towards the end of the 19th century the club decided they needed a new, bigger stadium and began to build at Roker Park.
The new 20th century started well with another League championship title in 1902, and the club made the first ever four figure player transfer when Alf Common was sold to Middlesbrough for £1000 in 1905. As the decade ended the Black Cats travelled to their close rivals, the Geordies of Newcastle United and thrashed them 1-9, the current joint away record for a top flight match.
Season 1912/13 was a strange one for the club in the League. They failed to win in their first seven matches and then with 31 matches left, won 25 of them and took the League title for the fifth time. They also reached the Cup Final for the first time but lost 0-1 to Aston Villa. In 1933, an FA Cup tie v Derby County drew a club record attendance of 75,118.
In 1936, Sunderland won their last League Championship followed by their first FA Cup success in 1937, when they beat Preston North End 3-1 in the final.
World War 2 came and went and the club stood steady in the League until 1958 when they were relegated to the second tier after 57 seasons in Division One. They returned to the top level in 1964 only to be relegated again in 1970.
The team was now struggling but incredibly they managed to win the FA Cup in 1973, the first Second Division club to do so for forty years.
In the League the club’s performance from this point was a regular promotion and relegation between the top two divisions, until 1987 when the club fell into the third tier for the first and only time but bounced back immediately in 1988.
Although the club were not founder members of the Premiership they reached that goal a couple of seasons later but were relegated after one season. In 1997 they said goodbye to Roker Park and hello to the Stadium of Light. From that moment the club went back into promotion and relegation mode and currently are playing in the Premiership.
After finishing bottom of the Premier League in season 2016/17 the club were relegated to the Championship. Diasastrously, their decline continued with relegation to League One at end of 2017/18 season.
1892. 1893. 1895. 1902. 1913. 1936.
F A Cup Winners
Charity Shield Winners:
Away fans should check with their own club about buying tickets.
The ticket office at the Stadium of Light is open until 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 1pm on Saturday. Alternatively the office can be contacted on 0871 911 1973 or by email as above club details.
Routes from the Central Bus Station (Park Lane Interchange), 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 15 and 16 all pass the Stadium of Light.
The Stadium of Light Station sits on the Metro green line which runs between Newcastle Airport and South Hylton.
On arrival at Sunderland Station you can walk a few minutes to the bus station and proceed as Bus above. Alternatively, it is only an 18 minute walk north to the ground via the Wear Bridge.
As the stadium is located in the city centre, north of the river, the road access is as described above, using sat nav SR5 1SU. Car Parking is very limited both at the Stadium and surrounding roads and so using the Park and Ride scheme is advised.
The car park for P & R is the Sunderland Enterprise Park located on the A1231, Wessington Way. Bus stops to the stadium are permanent stops and those leaving can be found at Keir Hardie Way on the north side of the ground.
Newcastle Airport is connected to the Stadium by both Metro and taxi.
A score of taxis serve the city and surrounding areas.
The modern Stadium of Light was opened in 1997 after over a century at Roker Park. It is the sixth largest English League stadium by capacity and its record attendance is 48,353, achieved when the Black Cats hosted Liverpool in April 2002. As well as football the ground holds pop concerts and other events.
The bowl shape is made up of four stands, North, South, East and West. Away fans are housed in the North Stand upper tier. This stand also has the slogan “Ha’way the Lads” embedded in the seating.
Adjacent to the ticket office is a monument of a Davy Lamp, to remind people that the site was once a colliery and the miners engaged there were club supporters. It was also the mining link that created the stadium name. i.e, miners reaching the surface to see Light.
The away concourse provides usual fare of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and fish and chips plus various beverages.
Outside the stadium environs there are many pubs to be found for away fans and the locals tend to be a friendly bunch.
The club have three shops. One at the Stadium of Light, another in Debenhams in the city centre and a further one at The Galleries Shopping Centre in Washington, County Durham. Stadium tours can also be had, with full details on the club web site.
The club have now opened Fanzone, an outside area which has live bands, giant screens, competitions, food and drink outlets etc., all for pre match entertainment.