Welcome to the Vibe Vault! We’re travelling back in time to explore the people, the places and the memories that have helped shape the Sunderland we know and love.
Join us as we delve into Sunderland history and shine a light on yesteryear…
Now this is a Vibe Vault to stop you in your tracks! You’ve read about the future of Mackie’s Corner, now it’s time to go back in time!
These photographs are likely to be some of the rarest images you are ever likely to see of it. Image 1 was taken circa late 1860s, early 1870s, if you look carefully at the name above the shop, it showcases the word ‘MACKIE’.
The windows above the shop have the words ‘wholesale hat and cap warehouse’ and you can just about see someone on steps window-dressing the front of the store. It is believed that this is the only photograph in existence that shows the original shop frontage too – incredible!
The other two images are from the 1950s and showcase the hustle and bustle of city life as independent trade boomed around Mackie’s Corner.
Originally known as the Hutchinson’s Buildings, Mackie’s Corner as we know and love today was erected between 1850 and 1853 by Ralph Hutchinson, a local ship builder and timber importer.
The building comprised a four-storey terrace of eight self-contained, vertical units of ground-floor shops and basements, with domestic accommodation above.
In 1855, the corner dome was altered by the addition of a stone drum in order to incorporate a pair of clock faces at what had become a popular meeting point known as Mackie’s Corner.
Shop fronts were also modified by the use of iron to create larger plate-glass windows. Overall however, the buildings suffered when the Great Fire of Sunderland struck on 18 July 1898.
The catastrophic fire led to the demolition and rebuilding of 104-109 High Street West (separately listed at Grade II). The mid 19th century part of Hutchinson’s Buildings largely unaffected by the fire, was retained, although the interior of number 103 High Street West was also rebuilt later down the line.
Fast-forward to 2021, and after an extensive renovation, Mackie’s Corner is now welcoming brand new independent businesses to the city as fashion stores, cafes, delicatessen and beauty parlours call this historic part of Sunderland their home.
We’re looking forward to seeing similar scenes once again, although we don’t expect people turning up in top hats and wool trench coats in the height of summer…