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We’ve picked out some highlights of the restoration to give you a sneak peek of what to expect…

Since 1903 Roker Pier & Lighthouse has been the guardian of Sunderland’s harbour and has earned its place as one of the City’s most iconic structures.

It was 1885 when Sunderland-born Henry Hay Wake took charge of the construction of Roker Pier & Lighthouse as chief engineer of the River Wear Commissioners. His work on the pier & lighthouse was held in high esteem amongst marine professionals and he was well-liked and respected throughout the workforce on the Pier.

In 1903 the pier and lighthouse was completed and opened with a grand ceremony attended by many local and far-flung dignitaries. The lighthouse was operated by a long-line of lighthouse keepers who kept the light on, helping guide ships into the Wear from the North Sea.

As time progressed, the lighthouse’s light and foghorn began being operated remotely by the Port of Sunderland during the 1970s.

With no lighthouse keeper to maintain the building, sadly it fell into disrepair. Being such an iconic structure in Sunderland, an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was made and in 2014 funding was awarded to restore the lighthouse to its former glory.

The restoration has been completed sympathetically, maintaining original features as much as possible with the overall aim to return the lighthouse to the way it would have looked when the Earl of Durham declared it open in 1903.

We’ve picked out some highlights of the restoration to give you a sneak peek of what to expect…


Bespoke tiles were made for the lighthouse and it was discovered that the manufacturer still had the original mould design so we were able to reproduce replacement tiles using the original 1900’s design.


Original panelling was in completed in Brazilian Mahogany and where this was missing or in poor condition it was replaced with Utile, a sustainable alternative to Mahogany. We can’t tell…can you?


All windows and doors were coated in green paint prior to the restoration and when this was removed the window frames revealed a bronze frame – a true surprise!

The only feature to be replaced on the windows is the opening mechanism which is designed specifically for ensuring the windows stay open in high winds.

If you’re excited to experience the full restoration, keep in touch with us by signing up to our newsletters, follow our social media channels and visiting our website. We can’t wait to hear what you like the most about the restoration!

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Coming to visit?
Our office is in the Adventure Sunderland Building next to Fausto on Marine Walk about 30 metres from the end of the pier. But volunteers are only based there to meet visitors on tour days, so to contact us at other times please email

If you’re using satellite navigation our address is
Adventure Sunderland, 
Marine Walk,

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