Local activist group Save Doxfords's Gateway have stepped up the campaign to protect the legendary Doxford Gateway by exposing that the contract to demolish the historical site has already been put out to tender for demolition firms by Sunderland Council.
Sunderland For Transparency recently caught up with Meg Hartford who slammed the council by stating "This is cultural vandalism, the council is showing no regard for the history of the area, for the thousands of people who worked in the shipyards or for future generations by destroying what could have been made into a heritage site."
Others supporting the campaign include Richard Doxford, great-grandson of shipbuilding legend Sir William Doxford. Doxford, stated to the Sunderland Echo earlier this year that “The gateway is iconic. It’s not just personal to me. Doxford’s produced the most tonnage of all the shipbuilders on the River Wear; which produced more ships than the Clyde or the Tyne”. Whilst the 116-year-old gateway is dilapidated it was still noted by English Heritage as being of “clear local interest” in a recent report.
While, English Heritage concluded their report with these words “While not recommended for listing the gatehouse is considered to be of clear local interest as a marker of Sunderland's international importance as a centre for shipbuilding in the 19th and 20th centuries.” A Sunderland For Transparency spokeswoman stated, “It is a true shame that the council are not looking to preserve this historical landmark as a tribute to our great shipbuilding past”.
If you would like to keep in touch with the campaign, then you can find them on Facebook under the name Save Doxford’s West Gateway.