Piers and Lighthouses
The remains of the old north pier jut out into the harbour between the river mouth and the much newer Roker pier. Lighthouses marking the piers' ends have been moved as the piers were lengthened or parts demolished.
The first significant improvements to the harbour and port were carried out soon after the River Wear Commission was formed in 1717. The RWC continued to radically change the shape of the river and open it to more and larger ships, during the following centuries.
Roker pier, a spectacular breakwater, one of two at the Wear’s entrance, was designed to make Sunderland ‘the finest harbour of refuge on the east coast’. It took 20 years to build, 1883-1903, formed from granite and concrete blocks, and 2,800 feet long. The pier head incorporated a lighthouse, and at the shore end were cottages for lighthouse keepers. Its companion, the south pier, meant to be longer still, 2,844 feet, was never fully completed
Content generated during research for two paperback books 'Sunderland and its Origins: Monks to Mariners' (ISBN 13 : 9781860774799) and 'Sunderland: Building a City' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-547-5 ) for the England's Past for Everyone series