Mackie's Corner


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
1 and 1A Bridge Street and 101-103 High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 1TX


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Statutory Address:
1 and 1A Bridge Street and 101-103 High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 1TX

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sunderland (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Former shops and houses, 1850-53, to the designs of George Andrew Middlemiss. Classical style. C20 and C21 alterations.

Reasons for Designation

Mackie's Corner (1 and 1A Bridge Street and 101-103 High Street West) is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* a handsome mid-C19 commercial design utilising fine-quality materials and 'Palace-fronting', which combine to produce a grand and well-detailed classical façade; * the pilaster-clad domed corner references Newcastle's Central Exchange and illustrates the presence of stylistic influences from Grainger Town; * a legible and hierarchical original vertical plan-form with basements, ground-floor shops and living accommodation above; * it retains a range of internal fixtures and fittings including chimney-pieces, joinery and plasterwork.


Hutchinson's Buildings was erected between 1850 and 1853 by Ralph Hutchinson, a local ship builder and timber importer. It was a substantial commercial development on the corner of Bridge Street and High Street West, and replaced a pair of houses on Bridge Street, the remainder of the extensive plot being vacant. The building comprised a four-storey terrace of eight self-contained vertical units of ground-floor shops and basements, with domestic accommodation above. The architect was George Andrew Middlemiss (1815-1887) a local builder, surveyor, architect and auctioneer. James Dowell was the contractor. The use of palace-fronting, in which long, grand classical facades clad a number of individual units, may have been influenced by the earlier use of the style at Grainger Town, Newcastle (1835-42; Grade II, II* and I). The inclusion at Hutchinson's Buildings of a domed, curved corner clad in pilasters is considered to be a direct stylistic influence from Grainger Town demonstrated by the Central Exchange Buildings (1838; Grade II). Many of Hutchinson's Building's tenants have been identified in documents from the 1850s onwards including some notable Sunderland retailers such as Mackie’s the hatters who first occupied the curved corner plot, and the Specialite Clothing Company an outdoor and waterproof clothing specialist. Not all shopkeepers chose to reside in the accommodation above their shops, some of which was let separately.

In about 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 remained much as constructed 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-C19 part of Hutchinson's Buildings largely unaffected by the fire, was retained, although the interior of number 103 High Street West was also rebuilt in the late C19.

During the C20 and C21 the upper floors of the building were opened up as office accommodation and became physically linked to the rebuilt section of the building forming 104-109 High Street West, thus allowing circulation between the two parts of the building. The basements, ground and first floors remained mostly self-contained until the mid-C20 when doorways were opened between them and horizontal access was gained across floors. The ground floor shop fronts were remodelled in the early C20 by the national shoe chain Manfield and Son, who also converted the first floor to a showroom. The second and third floors were refurbished in the 1980s, including the insertion of suspended ceilings, but original plaster work remains visible above. With the exception of the shop front to 1 and 1A Bridge Street, shop fronts were remodelled in the 1990s, and in 2018 the ground floor of 103 High Street West was amalgamated with the adjacent building and converted to a cafe.


Former shops and houses, 1850-53, to the designs of George Andrew Middlemiss. Classical style. C20 and C21 alterations.

MATERIALS: Sandstone ashlar (Craigleith) with a Welsh slate roof and a lead-covered dome; hand-made brick to the rear elevation.

PLAN: rectangular with a curved corner, facing onto Bridge Street and High Street West.

EXTERIOR: occupying 1 and 1a Bridge Street and 101-103 High Street West, the building has four storeys plus basements. The use of the Giant Corinthian order on the first and second floors serve as an architectural separation of the original commercial and residential elements.

The west elevation facing Bridge Street and the south elevation facing High Street West have three and two bays respectively, each bay framed by pilasters with modified capitals. The curved corner section in between is enriched by four attached columns on shallow pedestals. The columns and pilasters support a high entablature with a dentilled frieze and a modillioned cornice, with applied lion heads to the curved corner section. All windows have plain reveals and are set directly into the wall surface with no surrounds, though those to the second floor have bracketed projecting sills. There are a number of original sash windows remaining, though most are later replacements. The lower, attic storey has plain pilasters defining the bays, an eaves gutter cornice, and a blocking course, with a palmette finial at the right end. A corniced drum with palmette finials and two clock faces breaking through, support the high, lead-covered dome of sixteen ribs. The steeply-pitched roof has transverse-ridge chimneys. The ground floors have C20 shop fronts and fascias, but the original entablature is thought to remain behind the latter. The more northerly former Manfield shopfront on Bridge Street retains its early-C20 shop front including the mosaic threshold bearing the letter ‘M’, the plate-glass windows and the columns. The rear elevation of the building is of hand-made brick, partially obscured by rough cast render and retains several original segmental-headed windows.

INTERIOR: the stone-walled cellars from the pre-1850s houses that formerly occupied the Bridge Street site survive. The basements retain their original plans, although with later subdivisions, with one retaining a brick-vaulted ceiling, and one retaining its original green and cream decorative scheme. The rear of 103 High Street West, thought to have been the kitchen of the plot, has plastered walls, an original north-facing window opening and a substantial fireplace with a plain ashlar surround containing the remains of a cast-iron range. There are few if any original features to the ground floors. The first floors retain original joinery and plaster work, much of it decorative including moulded architraves with paterae to the corners, deeply moulded plaster cornices and ornate fire surrounds. There is an original but modified cast-iron stair from ground to first floor with lattice work to the risers and quatrefoils to the treads. The second floor has simpler joinery and plaster work including a moulded cornice and boarded ceilings, and the third floor has moulded architraves to the doorways and a pair of original fireplaces, both with simple painted stone surrounds, one retaining a cast-iron grate. It is considered that further original and historic features remain within the building, masked by later inserted ceilings and boarded walls. The corner dome has plastered walls that reveal the original cast iron ribs boxed-in with curved wood. Much of the clock mechanism has been removed, although its wooden frame remains. The adjoining attic corridor and landing retains some of the original paint scheme.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (1983), 458
Hutchinson's Buildings 1 & 1a Bridge Street and 101-109 High Street West Sunderland: Investigation, research and assessment of significance. Historic England Research Report 2018.


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 16 May 2004
Reference: IOE01/12199/12
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Bob Cottrell. Source Historic England Archive
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