19 November 2011
Monkwearmouth Station was commissioned by the famous railway entrepreneur George Hudson, former MP for Sunderland, and built in 1848.
It’s now a grade 2* listed building, and serves the community as Monkwearmouth Station Museum, and is a transport museum.
The magnificent portico leads into a grand entrance hall and immaculately preserved 1860s booking office, both of which display many original features such as the ticket booths, fireplaces and shuttered windows.
A whole new part of the Museum, the Wagon Shed and the Sidings has just been opened by ex Sunderland MP Chris Mullin.
Two significant railway vehicles that have been parked in the Sidings area next to the Museum since 1977 have undergone extensive conservation and restoration work, and now sit in a brand new purpose built Wagon Shed.
The wagons are a Covered Carriage Truck built at Darlington in 1939 by the London and North Eastern Railway and a Goods Brake Van built at Shildon by the North Eastern Railway in 1916.
The newly restored Covered Carriage Truck holds a classic 1963 Rover P4 car, on loan from the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire as part of the new displays.
Referring to Monkwearmouth Station Museum as an ‘architectural gem’, Chris Mullin talked of how the development has revitalised the Museum and made it accessible for everyone – from across the North East and further afield.
Monkwearmouth Station Museum features many personal stories, evoking fond memories of an age when Monkwearmouth was the main station for the city of Sunderland and the building buzzed with the excitement of the people passing through.
There is also a Platform Gallery which gives a good view of the railway bridge and the trains passing by on the track – the Tyne & Wear Metro trains pass through too and the spot is a favourite for train enthusiasts.
Peter Gibson, Duty Manager at the Museum led a group of volunteers from the British Trust of Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) to design, plant and develop two cottage gardens at the front and side of the Museum and a wild flower meadow at the far end of the site, recreating the station master’s edible gardens from its Victorian heyday.
The station has once again been brought to life through its inspiring displays and renovated interior making it an important landmark for the region’s railway heritage.
Post by Victoria Page, Communications Officer, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.
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