The rich history of Sunderland has seen the city establish a world-renowned reputation for innovation and industry, with several sectors becoming synonymous with the area in recent times. Perhaps the best-known of all is shipbuilding, which had taken place on the River Wear between the 14th century and the 1980s, when the last shipyard sadly closed down.
The local area was also synonymous with coal-mining, and the abundant seams of Durham provided employment for vast numbers of Wearsiders. The final colliery to close in the region was at Wearmouth, and is now the site of the Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland Football Club.
However, if you thought the locals were content to sit around feeling sad for a past that’s no longer there, you’d be wrong. Sunderland has a wonderful can-do attitude, and is home to a large number of high-tech businesses which reflect the enterprising spirit of this truly unique metropolis.
In the 1980s, the city began a huge regeneration project which has transformed various areas, particularly in the central zone. New shopping centres and leisure facilities stand as monuments to the forward-looking atmosphere, and the coming decade promises more developments which will enhance the city’s reputation as a centre for growth.
One of the major employers in Sunderland is the Japanese car giant Nissan. Their Washington plant was first opened in the 1980s, and continues to produce vehicles at an impressive rate. Located at the junction of the A19 and A1232 roads, it’s now the largest car plant in the whole of Great Britain.
It’s pleasing to note that Sunderland is one of those cities that is more concerned with looking to the future than mourning for the past. The world’s economy has been unkind to the north-east of England in recent decades, but that doesn’t mean everything has to be doom and gloom.
The local authorities are keen to attract further international businesses to the area, and the early signs are that their initiatives will prove fruitful. The 21st century business sector is a constantly changing one, of course, and it would be foolish to be more optimistic than is strictly necessary, but the ever-cautious Wearsiders are certainly looking to a brighter tomorrow.
The next ten years will be crucial for the city of Sunderland in particular and the north-east region in general. With continuing hard work and innovative use of incentives, by the time 2020 comes around the map of British industrial powerhouses may look very different than it does at the moment.
David Rice is based in the UK and works for a go-ahead company that specialises in matching the right organisation to the best office space. Sunderland is one of his favourite cities, because he likes the combination of heritage and enterprise. With the low price of office space to let in Sunderland, he knows the city offers superb facilities for an affordable cost.