Memories of Sunderland: The Golden Lion, South Hylton

Photo: The Golden Lion Pub before it was devastated in a 2019 fire.

The village of South Hylton may be small, yet at its heyday it was a industrial giant. While sleepy and quiet today, the small settlement on the banks of the river wear was a maritime powerhouse that was bustling in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Laden with pubs and with a small ferry which crossed the river, only a fraction means of the greatness which embodied this village.

One of South Hylton’s finest and longest lasting public houses was The Golden Lion. Located down the bottom of the bank adjacent to the river, The Golden Hill was one of Sunderland’s oldest continuously operating pubs. Founded in the 19th century at somepoint, the building it was using dated back to at least 1910, putting it in league with other historic venues such as The Peacock, The Dun Cow, The Mountain Daisy, Shiprights (over the water to it) and more.

The pub was not only historic, but also popular. Surrounded by the forested banks and the relaxing passage of the River Wear, the Golden Lion was an iconic location and held in high regard. However, the era of the Golden Lion would come crashing down in flames, literally, as in 2019 somebody took the decision to destroy this treasured venue with an arson attack, damaging the structure beyond possible repair.

The future of the Golden Lion site remains uncertain. In Autumn 2022, the pub was put up for sale on Rightmove with the land incorporating the property costing £55,000. However as can be seen, the property has since been delisted. Was it sold? Was it unsuccessful? Nobody knows yet, but the South Hylton Community can only hope that a benevolent investor may come along one day and attempt to revive this great institution.