Farringdon Hall Police Station, How a place of law fell into a state of lawlessness

Photo: The ruins of Farringdon Hall Police Station, taken directly by SGM on May 2020.

Beginning in 2010, the Conservative government of David Cameron unleashed one of the largest programs of state austerity in modern history, slashing investment and spending in public services across the board. The cuts were painful, not only they shrink the incomes of public sector workers but also hobbled public services by reducing their budgets.

One sector severely impacted by these cuts was the police force, who were forced to reduce serving officer numbers and shut down stations, having a negative impact on their ability to fight crime. Sunderland today bears witness to these cuts. Having once had two large scale police stations South of the River, one in Gillybridge, the other in Farringdon, by 2015 both of these stations were shut down, reducing Sunderland to a rump of only having Southwick Police Station and a glorified city centre “office”.

The two former buildings subsequently fell into a state of abandonment and decay. While Gillybridge is now actively undergoing development at the time of writing into a new office complex, making the transition, the former Farringdon Hall Police Station (named after the historical Farringdon Hall Manor which occupied the area since the medieval ages) is a lost cause, the abandoned building having went from being a “place of the law” to a “place of lawlessness”.

The building has been frequented and stripped bare by urban explorers, scavengers, but in addition has frequently been visited by young people and yobs who have caused trouble and set it on fire, expending the time and resources of the nearby fire station. On not a few occasions have firefighters even been attacked by unruly young men up to no good in the building.

However, there is hope for the area’s revival. Beginning in March 2022, plans were tabled to potentially redevelop the former site of the police station into a retail park consisting of a B&M supermarket, a Costa Coffee and a Greggs, promising new jobs and business for Farringdon. The former police station itself would not be re-used, but demolished. Whether these plans come to fruition however remain to be seen.