About us

We promote and maintain Sunderland’s maritime history through the use of an interactive visitor centre demonstrating the crafts, skills and trades associated with one of the greatest ship and boat building centres of the last century.

Our aim is to preserve the artefacts, documents, pictures and skills of the shipyard workers that contributed to shipbuilding in Sunderland from 1346 until 1988 when the last shipyard closed. We think this history of shipbuilding and the ships that were built in Sunderland is worth preserving for future generations so that they may know the maritime heritage that their city is built upon.

We are manned entirely by unpaid volunteers and are totally self funding and offer local volunteers and people returning to the workplace the opportunity to contribute their time in a constructive way. Our volunteers include those with learning difficulties and dementia, those on the autistic spectrum and the elderly and socially isolated.  We host visits by school children and provide work placement opportunities for college students.

We are a registered charity no:  1193209

For more about us – follow the links below.

This amazing ship is the
City of Adelaide. 

In the late 1990s there was an attempt to raise funds to preserve her and bring her home.  That failed, but the centre was formed,  and continues relevant work. 
Click HERE  to find out more on how we came into being



We are run by a Board of Trustees.  Click HERE or on the images for more details.



Our Services range through :-

Welcoming visitors – please pre-book so that we can ensure one of our friendly volunteers is available to guide you.  Have a quick look round our workshop and our Visitor Centre.

Providing actual practical work for people from all walks of life  – refurbishing old artefacts and boats and one-off interesting projects to raise funds to support our other work – click HERE

Providing support for education at all levels from Primary schools to College – click HERE

Providing resources for local historical research.

See more about us in our promotional video HERE


By Sandra - originally posted to Flickr as Wearmouth Bridge, Sunderland, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13665333

We liaise with other local organisations with aims similar or related to our own – Local History, Heritage, shipping and shipbuilding, craft skills, etc.  There is a list of those organisations HERE.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of a number of organisations, some local, some from farther afield . . . . Details HERE

Back to Home Page