Constructing Excellence

Holy Trinity is a Grade1 listed redundant church that was on Historic Engalnd’s ‘Heritage At Risk Register’ – it has now been transformed by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) with a £2.6m restoration project. Successfully delivered through a global pandemic thanks to a proactive, collaborative project team and skilled heritage craftspeople ‘17Nineteen’ has become an amazing new community and cultural hub for the City of Sunderland.

This hugely complex and challenging project was led by Mosedale Gillatt Architects and comprised a team of over 200 people working to deliver a conservation-led restoration in parallel with community engagement. Throughout the project 784 people took part in a Public Craft Skills Programme, 235 students as young as 4yrs old donned PPE and took part in school/college learning sessions, 12 on work placements and 78 different trades were involved.

Built in 1719 Holy Trinity was unique in that it served a dual role for both worship and civic administration. It has watched over a million lives yet its own stories have remained hidden. Its people have been at the centre of decisions regarding sanitation, poverty, law, and it even became a fire station with its own fire cart! Transforming the church into ‘17Nineteen’ has been a huge journey involving hundreds of individuals and organisations.

The project focussed on making the building safe, sustainable and fuctional for a 21st Century audience with extensive repair works including roof repairs, replacement of the majority of windows, selective replacement of stone and brick, repairs to decorative joinery and wall panelling, repointing (with the exception of isolated areas of rare ‘tuck’ pointing which remain), ornate plaster repairs and redecoration.


Three Winning Facts:
  1. Grade 1 listed building now removed from the Historic England ‘Heritage At Risk’ Register
    To have a highly significant Grade I listed building removed from the Heritage At Risk Register is a huge achieve-ment – it blends conservation with forward looking regeneration, becoming the flagship project for Sunderland Her-itage Action Zone and inspiring other projects in the region to follow.
  2. ‘stunning, light, calm, beautiful, crafted, surprising’
    A very strong vision, articulated and communicated openly to local communities and city-wide stakeholders so that all had buy-in right from the beginning was integral to the success of this project. The fact that the project included all elements of conservation, from archaeology and ecology right through to all the heritage trades involved – and managing such a diverse range of expertise and agendas in one project has been a challenge in itself.
  3. ‘…not what I expected to find in Sunderland’

“17Nineteen is something for the city to be proud of in an area that is often perceived as difficult, challenging or unworthy of this kind of high quality space.”

“it’s beautiful, calm and welcoming, not what I expected to find in Sunderland”

Architectural Heritage Fund Visit 1.3.22 (various sector professionals)