SUNDERLAND’S Monkwearmouth Station Museum closed its doors for the last time as a rail-themed attraction on March 31, paying the ultimate price for a fall in visitor numbers.
The Grade II*-listed building, which opened as a museum in 1973, sits on the route of the Tyne & Wear Metro, although closed as a station in its own right back in 1967. It was well-known for its fully restored Edwardian booking office and its wagon shed, which housed former LNER ‘CCT’ No. 1298 as well as North Eastern Railway brakevan No. 20800.
Sunderland City Council announced that it was looking at a possible temporary closure of the museum back in February 2016 amid budget cuts and dwindling visitor figures while it looked for an alternative use/uses for the 1848-built building.
More recently it had gone over to reduced opening hours.
The smaller railway artefacts that were displayed at the museum will be returned to their original sources; the large portrait of George Hudson is expected to return to Sunderland’s Central Library. The fate of the ‘CCT’ and brakevan was unclear at the time of writing.
However, the restored ticket office will remain in situ as it is protected by the station’s listed building status. It will present a stark contrast to the new use for the building as the home of a collection of memorabilia relating to Sunderland Football Club.
It is expected to reopen during the summer.
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