Two historic Sunderland pubs are due to be renovated – thanks to the National Lottery.

The pubs – the grade-II-listed Peacock and the Dun Cow – lie in the city’s heritage-filled Minster Quarter.

The renovation of the pubs is part of the Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme, which is regenerating that whole area of the city.

In 2018, Sunderland City Council successfully applied for £1.9 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this purpose. This cash was supplemented by a further £300,000 from the council.

The Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme provides grants for the renovation of buildings of historical importance.

The scheme will also improve the open space next to Sunderland Minster and will organise activities and events to get local residents more involved in conservation efforts in the area.

The Peacock and Dun Cow are the first two priority buildings that will be restored under the Bishopwearmouth Townscape Heritage Scheme. £380,000 has been granted from the scheme to give the two pubs a facelift.

The pubs’ owners, Leighton Management Ltd, are also contributing money to the restoration, meaning that almost £800,000 will be spent in total on doing up the pubs. The work should see all the pubs’ historic features sensitively restored.

Repairs are planned to the pubs’ stonework, roofs, chimneys and windows.

The clock on the Dun Cow will be restored to working order and new stone is being specially sourced from Dunhouse Quarry to repair badly damaged areas of sandstone on the buildings.

It is estimated that the work on the pubs, which both date back to 1901, will take around five months.

Sunderland’s Minister Quarter contains 11 listed buildings. As well as the Peacock and Dun Cow, the neighbourhood is home to Sunderland Minster and the grade-II-listed Sunderland Empire Theatre.

All the Minster Quarter’s listed buildings are part of the Bishopwearmouth Conservation Area. Bishopwearmouth is one of the three original settlements that combined to form Sunderland and was one of the first districts of the city to be declared a conservation area.

Announcements are due in the coming months about other renovation projects in the centre of Sunderland. These are likely to include plans to improve the Town Park and Minster Churchyard and a scheme to create a pleasant open space linking the Minster Quarter with the city centre.

Sunderland City Council’s deputy cabinet member for housing and regeneration, Cllr Kevin Johnston, said, “There’s a lot happening in the city centre with restoration, investment, improvements and new works. These two projects are all part of this big picture.”

“Both the Dun Cow and the Peacock are well-loved and well-used by many thousands of people every year.”

“Making a contribution to their restoration is all in line with what the council, our Lottery partners, the owners and, of course, the public expect and want in this historic part of the city centre.”

Paul Callaghan, chairman of the Music, Arts and Culture Trust (MAC) and director of Leighton, said, “The Dun Cow and the Peacock are among two of the finest examples of Edwardian architecture standing in the city.”

“When Leighton took them over as part of the MAC Quarter project both were in an extremely poor state of repair and we knew they would require extensive work to the exterior of the buildings.”

“The renovation of the Fire Station, completed 18 months ago, has proved to be a huge success and now, with the continued support of the Heritage Fund and Sunderland City Council, we are delighted to be able to restore these two iconic, architectural gems to their former glory.”

(The featured image shows a black-and-white photograph of the Empire Theatre and the Dun Cow.)

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