Leave St. Peter’s Metro Station and turn left. Walk the short distance to the Monkwearmouth Station Museum. Thecolonnaded portico was the impressive entrance to the original main line station. If time permits, a visit to this fascinating museum is well worthwhile. Admission is free.
There’s lots to see for children and grown ups and it’s a must for railway buffs. From the museum, retrace your steps towards the Metro Station, then proceed ahead towards Wearmouth Bridge. Just before the bridge there is a plaque which gives details of its history. Cross the bridge. Another plaque explains the significance of this location in the Civil War (1644). After a few yards turn left and cross the road by a series of traffic lights to the church opposite. Turn left, then right, and walk ahead with the church on your right. St Mary’s R.C. Church is an early example (1830-35) of the building of a Catholic church, following the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. Proceed along the road (Bridge Street) to the crossroads. Cross the road to the building opposite, the intriguing Elephant Tea Rooms (1873) built for a tea merchant and described by its architect, Frank Caws, as in the “Hindoo Gothic” style. Turn left to cross Fawcett Street and proceed ahead along High Street West to its junction with West Sunniside (A).
Turn right and walk along West Sunniside. In recent years the street has been carefully renovated by the Council in an attempt to recapture its Victorian ambience. The former General Post Office (1903) is on the left. On the right, at the junction with St Thomas Street there are two buildings in the art nouveau style. At the end of the road turn right, then left and go along Foyle Street. At the T-junction, turn right. Walk to the crossroads and turn left into Toward Road. Walk a few yards to the entrance to Mowbray Gardens on your right (B).
Go into the park. The tall column of the Sunderland War Memorial is ahead and the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is on the right. Admission is free. It is well worth visiting the museum and experiencing the rebuilt winter gardens (opened in 2001). In Mowbray Gardens there are a number of memorials. From the museum, these include, over to the left, a memorial to 183 children who died in a tragic accident in 1883 and, higher up over to the right, a statue of Jack Crawford (1795-1857) whose story makes interesting reading. Walk through the park to the highest point, Building Hill, on a rocky outcrop. At the summit there is a statue of General H. Havelock, a national hero who was born in Bishopwearmouth. From here there are splendid views of the sea and the mouth of the River Wear. You need to descend towards the church, which is just beyond the park. To avoid steps you will need to bear left and at the bottom of the slope turn right and walk parallel to the road with the park railings on your left. Exit from the park gate (C).
Cross the road to Park Road Methodist Church (1887). Turn right and cross to the other side of the road. Now turn left to walk along Douro Terrace with houses from the 1850s. On the left, the tall St Bede Tower, now part of the University of Sunderland, was originally built for the mayor in 1852. You arrive at a telephone box on your right. Ahead, the former Christ Church (1864) is now occupied by the Sikh Association. Ahead, on the left is Langham Tower (1889) also part of the University of Sunderland. Turn right at the telephone box and walk to Esplanade West. Turn right. On your right are the splendid properties of The Esplanade (1853-60) overlooking their private garden. Walk along Esplanade West. At a convenient point, cross the road and proceed ahead. On the left is a red sandstone church with an unusual and imposing tower. Originally St George’s Presbyterian Church (1890), it is now St George’s with Trinity and St James United Reformed Church. Carry on along Grange Te rrace. You arrive at a busy road intersection. Opposite is an entrance to Park Lane Metro Station (D).
Turn right to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing. Turn left and walk ahead for about 60 yards and turn left into Mary Street. Walk to the end of the street and bear right to cross at the pedestrian lights into Albion Place. Walk a short distance then turn left to cross the road at a further set of pedestrian lights. Then turn right and cross to the other side of Green Terrace. There are direction signs on the corner for the Empire Theatre and the Minster. Turn left. On the right is the ornate red brick Galen Building, the original Technical College (1900) which developed into the University of Sunderland. On the left is the University’s Priestman Building (1939), financed by Sir John Priestman, a local shipbuilder and benefactor. Continue ahead and cross a road at traffic lights then immediately turn right. Walk a few yards and turn left into the open area. Walk ahead. The Mowbray Almshouses (1863), built on the site of the Gibson Almshouses of 1727, are on the right. Go through the gateway on your left into the grounds of Sunderland Minster (E).
The visitors’ entrance is a few yards ahead on the right. Inside the church, the Clock Tower Coffee Shop is a pleasant re f reshment stop. The Minster Church of St Michael and All Angels, formerly Bishopwearmouth Parish Church, was inaugurated as Sunderland Minster in 1998 following Sunderland’s elevation to city status in 1992 The church has a long history. The present building has a 19th century tower and other features but is mainly the result of a sensitive reconstruction in 1933-35, with funds provided by Sir John Priestman. Leave the church and turn left to walk towards the almshouses. Turn left and walk along the lane (Church Lane) to a road on the other side of which is The Empire Theatre (1906). Turn right and walk ahead towards the triangularshaped Londonderry pub. Cross the road to walk along the pavement with the pub on your left. At the T-junction turn left and walk ahead. Cross the road and at the corner turn right onto the pedestrian/cyclist path to the right of the little green ahead. Follow the path the short distance and cross a busy road to enter a pedestrianised street. You need to be careful here because the street is intersected by vehicular roads. Continue to the end of the pedestrianised section and walk to the Elephant Tea Rooms on your right. Turn right into Fawcett Street and walk ahead. Turn right at the Northern Rock building and walk ahead to Sunderland Metro Station and the end of the walk. The Metro trains run from platforms 2 and 3.