Few cities have changed so dramatically since the end of World War Two as Sunderland. In 1945 it was the largest shipbuilding town in the world and its economy and employment depended on its heavy industries. By 2000 the shipyards, coal mines and industries had vanished along with famous names such as Vaux Breweries and Binns department store. In a few decades Sunderland was transformed. Working life altered forever with the coming of car manufacturing and telephone call centres, and the social and cultural changes that occurred were just as rapid and wide-ranging. Neil Sinclair's beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched history of this period gives a fascinating insight into the process of change. He recalls the personalities, events and underlying trends that had a major impact on the development of the city. His narrative records what it was like to live through this sometimes difficult time of transition. The slum clearance programme is well described, as are the development of the vast post-war housing estates and the changes in the city centre.
A fine selection of illustrations shows how the old industrial sites, often on the river-banks, have been reused for housing, leisure facilities and the growing university campus. The author also examines the characteristics of Sunderland people and he vividly recalls notable individuals who shaped the recent development of the city. Neil Sinclair's book will be essential reading and reference for everyone who lives in the city and has experienced half a century of transformation.
Neil Sinclair is one of the foremost experts on the history of Sunderland. His previous publications have covered the River Wear and railways in the North East and in the Highlands of Scotland. He has also contributed to several books and exhibitions on different aspects of Sunderland's history.