Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

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Level Collection
Title HM Customs and Excise, Port of Sunderland
Date 1786 - 1964
Description Prior to at least the 1640s, customs and profits of ships and fish of the River Wear were received by the Bishops of Durham. Later, the customs were collected by officers of Newcastle, acting as representatives of parliament. By the late 1600s, Sunderland was operating as a separate customs port from Newcastle.

The original Customs House of the port of Sunderland and its quay were at the west end of the low quay. It then moved to premises at the extreme east end of the north side of Bank Street .These premises were demolished, in 1835, to make way for the Durham and Sunderland Railway. In 1810, the Customs House moved to an impressive building at the south end of Fitters' Row. It was originally erected in 1727 as a private residence, by Mr Edward Brown. These premises later became the Sunderland Ragged, Reformatory and Industrial Schools. In 1838, the Customs House moved to 70 - 71 Low Street. This later became a public house of Messrs. Robert Fenwick and Co., common brewers, once the Customs House had moved a little further along the street. By the late 1800s, the Customs Couse was based in the High Street in Sunderland, while retaining its premises at the Low Quay.

In the late 1900s, Sunderland lost its own customs authority, and its business was transferred back to HM Customs and Excise, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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