Discount Hotels Sunderland

Historical interest: Sunderland

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Sunderland started life as a small fishing village which had grown into a tiny town by 1154.

By the 14th century salt was being made in Sunderland which inadvertently led to the town producing coal for both processing the salt and for export. The growing importance of coal transformed the town, as did the shipbuilding industry which grew rapidly to support the coal trade. The town was second only to Newcastle in the coal and shipbuilding industries.

Always ready to diversify, Sunderland manufactured lime, Alum, copperas, and by the end of the 17th century there was also a glass making industry.

In the 18th century the shipbuilding industry in Sunderland boomed. Sunderland also had a flourishing ropemaking industry. The building of a bridge over the Wear in 1796 led to the growth of a middle class suburb north of the river in the early 19th century but in Sunderland itself horrid working class slums were created. Like all towns in the 19th century Sunderland was dirty, overcrowded and insanitary. Cholera struck in Sunderland in 1832 and in 1849.

The 19th century saw many improvements to the city. Gas was first used to light the streets in 1824, the Theatre Royal was built in 1855, Mowbray Park opened in 1857, and Sunderland museum, library, and art gallery opened in 1879. Also in 1879 horse drawn trams began to run in the streets of Sunderland. A town hall was built in 1890 and by 1895 Sunderland had an electricity supply.

Sunderland was heavily damaged during World War II. 267 people were killed by German bombing and about 1,000 houses were destroyed. Shipbuilding came to an end in Sunderland in 1988 after a long decline. Coal mining declined rapidly in the late 20th century and Sunderland's exports of coal plummeted. No more coal was exported after 1986 and the last colliery in the area closed in 1993. Sunderland is now noted for its car making industry.

Sunderland was made a city in 1992. The Stadium of Light (home of Sunderland's football team) was opened in 1997 and the National Glass Centre opened in 1998.

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