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Workshop by the Sea: Origins and Endings in Sunderland’s Industries

23 November, 2018, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

This event is dedicated to exploring the origins and endings of Sunderland’s industries. In the 18th century, the city emerged as a major centre for shipbuilding not only in Britain but the world. Professor Peter Rushton will explain how and why Sunderland played such a crucial role in Britain’s maritime endeavours. Dr Stuart Howard in his talk will look at the disappearance of heavy industry from Wearside in the 1980s and 1990s, which marked the end of a proud industrial tradition. Yet he will also ask whether this decline was actually inevitable after all?

Prof. Peter Rushton: ‘The Wooden Walls’ – Sunderland Shipbuilding in the 18th Century

Most of the images of Sunderland are of heavy iron, steel and coal industries. But until the 1850s, the ships that made this city – said to be the oldest shipbuilding town in Britain – were constructed of wood. This talk will explore the early shipbuilding industry in the city.

Dr Stuart Howard: The Last Shift: Sunderland and the Legacies of Deindustrialisation

A photograph of Margaret Thatcher striding over industrial wasteland in the early 1980s has become the iconic image of regional de-industrialisation. However, the forces that ended heavy industry on Wearside were both economic and political, long and short term. This talk will attempt to answer two fundamental questions: why did north east England de-industrialise? And was this inevitable?

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This talk attempts to re-write the image we have of Sunderland’s past: not one of heavy mechanical industry, but of a preindustrial world of handcrafted ships and sail, of a river that thronged with wooden ships large and small.
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The People, the River and the Sea
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Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Burdon Road
Sunderland, Tyne and Wear SR1 1PP United Kingdom
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0191 561 2323