170-175 High Street West
The restoration of 170-175 High Street West is a key project in Sunderland's Heritage Action Zone. The 18th century merchants' houses were converted in the early 19th century to commercial properties and are rare survivors of their type. No. 170 was formerly Backhouse Bank, one of the earliest financial institutions in Sunderland, and No. 173 was Binns drapery, which eventually became the famous Binns department store. Although well-known historical buildings, they have been derelict for a number of years
Through the Heritage Action Zone, Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust now own the buildings and are working to repair and bring them back into use. Emergency repairs have been made possible through a Historic England grant.
The trust have been working with local business Pop Recs who will move into the restored buildings and use them as a creative venue. Pop Recs has recently been successful in securing Arts Council funding that will allow them to move into one of the buildings temporarily while the full restoration is being completed.