Timeline of Sunderland

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Following is a list of dates in the history of Sunderland, the ancient city in North East England.

Facts and Figures, important dates in Sunderland's history[edit]

Sunderland was famous for ship building

674 Building of St. Peter's Church
1183 Bishop Hugh du Puiset's charter creates the first Borough of Sunderland
1346 Thomas Menvil authorised to build ships at Hendon
1346 The first recorded shipbuilding on the River Wear was in 1346.
1634 Bishop Morton's Charter created Sunderland's first Mayor and Corporation
1698 Formation of Sunderland Company of Glassmakers
1719 Sunderland Parish's Holy Trinity Church opened
1793 Philip and John Laing established a shipyard on Monkwearmouth Shore. (The oldest surviving shipbuilding firm in Sunderland when it was absorbed into Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd.)
1796 Wearmouth Bridge opened
1822 Opening of the railway line from Hetton to Sunderland coal staithes, one of the earliest uses of locomotive power. The engineer was George Stephenson
1826 Sinking of Wearmouth Colliery
1826 Harry Watts, a Sunderland diver who rescued over 40 people from drowning - and assisted in the rescue of another 120 people - was born on 15 June 1826.
1831 In October of this year the first outbreak of cholera in the United Kingdom occurred in Sunderland - two hundred people died
1832 Sunderland became a parliamentary borough under the Reform Act, returning two members of Parliament
1835/6 Establishment of the modern Borough Council, with the first modern Mayor
1850 Opening of the South Docks by George Hudson MP
1856 Sir William Mills, (1856 – 1932) inventor of the Mills Bomb of First World War fame, was born in Sunderland
1858 The tongue of 'Big Ben' was forged at Hopper's foundry, Houghton
1873 Foundation of the Sunderland Echo
1875 A record of 64 days was set for the Australia run by the Wear built sailing vessel 'The Torrens'. Launched in 1875, the novelist Joseph Conrad served on her for a time as mate
1879 Sunderland Association Football Club was founded by Thomas Allen as Sunderland and District Teachers Association Football Club
1888 Sunderland granted County Borough status
1892 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1893 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1895 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1902 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1903 Roker Pier - the harbour's northern breakwater is opened at 2,790 feet long.
1909 The then heaviest bridge in Britain was opened. The Queen Alexandra Bridge carried road and rail traffic, the railway deck remained in use for barely 12 years
1913 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1923 Police Boxes, model for the TARDIS pioneered by Chief Constable Frederick Crawley
1936 Sunderland AFC win the Football League Championship
1937 Sunderland AFC win the FA Cup
1964 Washington designated as a New Town
1967 Ryhope, Silksworth, Tunstall, East & Middle Herrington, South Hylton, part of Offerton, Castletown and Whitburn South Bents added to the County Borough of Sunderland
1969 Sunderland Technical & Art Colleges merged to form Sunderland Polytechnic (now the University of Sunderland)
1970 Opening of new Basil Spence-designed Civic Centre by the Princess Margaret
1973 Sunderland win the FA Cup for the second time
1974 Washington, Hetton-le-Hole and Houghton-le-Spring become part of the new Borough of Sunderland
1978 First Wearside Jack hoax letter sent to West Yorkshire Police
1984 Nissan chose Sunderland for their new European manufacturing base
1986 Abolition of Tyne and Wear County Council increases Sunderland Council's powers and duties
1988 Announcement of closure of the shipyards on Wearside
1992 The City of Sunderland was created a by Her Majesty The Queen on 23 March
1993 HM The Queen & HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visit Sunderland to unveil the City's new coat of arms
1997 Stadium of Light opens
2001 The entire council housing stock of 39,000 homes is transferred to private landlord Gentoo after a referendum of tenants found 95% support in favour of the move
2008 Sunderland Aquatic Centre opens, the only Olympic-sized pool between Glasgow and Leeds, on a site adjacent to the Stadium of Light


Further reading[edit]

Published in the 19th century
  • John Britton; Edward Wedlake Brayley (1810), "Durham: Sunderland", Beauties of England and Wales, 5, London: Vernor & Hood
  • James Dugdale (1819), "Durham: Wearmouth and Sunderland", New British Traveller, 2, London: J. Robins and Co.
  • James Burnett (1830). History of the Town and Port of Sunderland.
  • J.M. Summers (1858). History and Antiquities of Sunderland. Sunderland: Joseph Tate.
  • Strangers' Guide to Sunderland. 1869. OCLC 504195939.
  • William Clark Russell (1883). "Sunderland". North-East Ports and Bristol Channel. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: A. Reid.
  • Penny Guide to Sunderland and Roker. Sunderland. 1889. OCLC 266926121.
  • Taylor Potts (1892), Sunderland: A History of the Town, Port, Trade and Commerce, B. Williams
Published in the 20th century