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Wednesday, 10 August 2022
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Silksworths Now And Then

  •  New Silksworth is a former colliery village with a 100-year coal mining heritage. In 1871, according to the Census, there were approx 800 people living in the Silksworth and Tunstall areas, the local area was mainly farmland and where most people worked on the land.

However, about 350 were men and their families who were constructing the new colliery. To exploit the rich coal reserves in the area the Silksworth Colliery shaft was sunk in 1869 funded by the Londonderry Coal company. Ten years later in 1879, the local population had risen to 4707 for the Silksworth and Tunstall areas.

Slider images of the Sportsmans Arms just after it had closed  in 2010 but now reopened as the Scullery serving meals and drinks

The increase in population was mainly due to the migration of people to the area seeking work at the new Silksworth Colliery. According to the census returns the miners came from Ireland, Scotland, Cornwell, and even from the United States and Germany. The miners and their families had moved to the colliery areas seeking employment and also colliery housing was provided for the miners by the mine owner Lord Londonderry. The miner's life was not an easy one, working conditions underground were very dangerous and the work very arduous. When Silksworth Colliery eventually closed in 1971 it was a massive blow to the local community as many of the local people and businesses relied on the colliery for their livelihood. Just about all remnants of the former Silksworth Colliery have now gone and the former mine site has since been converted into Silksworth Sports Complex. Facilities at the sports complex include:

Notable buildings:


Doxford House is a derelict 18th-century manor house adjacent to Doxford Park in the Silksworth area of Sunderland, Tyne, and Wear, England. It is a Grade II* listed building

The manor house formerly known as Silksworth House was constructed in 1775–1780 by William Johnson who on his death in 1792 left the property in his will to his friend Hendry Hopper. In 1831 Priscilla Hopper then heiress to the estate married William Beckwith of Thurcroft. He was High Sheriff of Durham in 1857. The Beckwith's moved to Shropshire in about 1890 and the house was let out.[2]

In 1902, Charles David Doxford of (William Doxford & Sons Ship Builders) brother of Theodore Doxford, took out a 99-year lease on the 24-acre (97,000 m2) estate. On his death in 1935, his daughter, Aline Doxford bought out the lease. On her death in 1968, she bequeathed the house and estate to Sunderland Corporation who gave the house its present name Doxord House and turned the gardens of the house into Doxford Park.

In 1989 the house became a student's hall of residence for Sunderland University and from about 2000 to 2006 was occupied by the Lazarus Foundation, a drug rehabilitation charity. Plans to turn the house into apartments were proposed in 2008 but the conversion of the house into apartments was never carried out.

The latest proposal for the redevelopment of Doxford House is to restore the property back into a private family residence with work ongoing in 2014.

St Matthews Church, C of E Church, Silksworth

St Matthew's Church opened in 1872 three years after Silksworth Colliery opened in 1869, the Church played a large part in the formation of the new mining community of Silksworth with the input of miners and their families.

St Leonard's RC Church, Silksworth.

St. Leonard's Roman Catholic Church opened in 1873, four years after Silksworth Colliery opened in 1869, the funding for the building of the church and rectory being provided by Priscilla Maria Beckwith of Silksworth House.

Located behind Blind Lane was the Ebenezer Chapel 1883 (now the Independent Methodist Church)

The Temperance Hall 1912, located at the top of Tunstall Terrace which is now the Calvary Christian Fellowship


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