Farringdon in the Modern Era

By the turn of the 19th century the medieval legacy of the Farnton estate had all but disappeared. The onset of the industrial revolution changed the way that people lived in Britain forever and dissipated the need for rural estate communities in the onset of new industries and rapid urbanization. The former peasant and savant classes of old flocked to surging urban centers in search of work and prosperity.

One of the most striking examples of course was Sunderland itself. Previously a small village on the southern bank of the River Wear, the industrial revolution combined with the growth of the British Empire overseas seen coal mining, shipbuilding and salt-panning surge, setting off a rapid swelling of the town. By the 18th century it had became a separate parish to Bishopwearmouth and then by the 19th century the latter would effectively be absorbed into Sunderland as a whole, forming the conception of the area as we understand it today.

For Farringdon, these changes had some significant implications. First of as above social and economic changes meant that the role it played hundreds of years ago, which involved baking, brewing and milling for a small community, were rendered obsolete. Britain was transforming from what was an agrarian society into an industrial one, thus there was no need for manor led communities any more as to what Farnton had been.

Maps of the early modern period reflect these changes. In contrast to earlier records of the estate, 19th century maps show that Farringdon at this point transitioned into a privately owned farm in what is now around Anthony Road on the modern estate. It stemmed off from the old Durham Road, which later became the A690. There were little more than 5-6 conventional farm buildings on the estate. The Echo story from 1950 notes that the Tudor era manor had since disappeared by this point.

In addition, the landscape around the estate was changing. By the mid 19th century the Hetton Colliery Railway, one of the world’s first commercial railways, ran right through it forming a narrow pathway between the estate and what is now Lakeside Village. The Railway transported coal from the village of Hetton to the banks of the River Wear. Similarly, new industrial sites began to pop up around it: New collieries opened up in neighbouring Silksworth and Herrington, whilst a quarry emerged on neighbouring Gilley Law.

The growing industrial landscape and rapid urbanization of Sunderland inevitably took its toll on the relevance of the Farringdon estate and its future worth. By the mid 20th century this ultimately caught up with it. The end of the Second World War seen a reorganization of Sunderland in line with national post-war housing schemes whereby local authorities bought up agrarian land on the city’s periphery to build new suburbs In 1950, the “Sunderland Corporation” subsequently purchased Farringdon from its last recorded owners, Robert Moorhead and George Lee, who were critical of the pace the land was acquired and then developed.

The creation of the new Farringdon estate seen the suburb overlap with the existing parish of Herrington, which had long had a separate identity. as a village The local parish council sought to object to the creation of Farringdon altogether and appealed to County Durham planners, but were unsuccessful. The result was that the creation of Farringdon served to completely integrate the village into the city of Sunderland, merging two settlements that had existed since the Middle Ages into one urban area.

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