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Sunderland Cottages

Tyne and Wear

Social Reform

Rows of single-storey terraced cottages make Sunderland one of the most instantly recognisable industrial towns in the country. Of all the possible different types of Victorian working class housing, only Sunderland created this form. It has been hugely successful and the houses are as popular now as when they were first built.

The reasons for their enduring popularity are quite clear – they are quite roomy. Being single-storey they were cheap to build and they remain relatively cheap today. They are neighbourly but have the privacy of enclosed back yards. They vary in size from street to street so over their lives families can live in a variety of different cottages as their circumstances change.

An indication of their success is that Sunderland had the country’s first ‘Working Man’s’ building society and in 1890, home ownership in Sunderland was 27% of the population; in Birmingham it was 3%.

Cottages occur all around the central core of Sunderland but the High Barnes area, off Chester Road contains some particularly good examples.

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