The area known as Herrington was a collection of villages which have been a part of County Durham for over 1000 years. Listed as far back as the Norman era Boldon book in 1183, the Herringtons were a series of farm villages (East, Middle and West) with an ancient village green situated on what is now West Park, and a defunct parish church. In 1967, the territory of Herrington was subsequently annexed to become part of Sunderland.
But it was in the year 1874, whereby the Herrington landscape would be changed forever. In this year, construction began on the new Herrington Colliery, a property of the Earl Durham. Acquiring a large portion of farmland just south of the iconic Penshaw Hill, the new mine positioned itself on the historic lambton wagonway route which acted as an animal powered, and later train, freight route into Sunderland town centre.
With the construction of Herrington Colliery, the pit village of “New Herrington” was subsequently established near what was in the 19th century, referred to as “Herrington Lane” (Now Herrington Road). This mine would go on to become a source of people’s livelihoods for over 100 years through exporting coal. The colliery reached the peak of its production in the year 1960, when it employed up to 1700 people. Throughout the time of its operation, 105 men lost their lives working at the colliery.
However, following the decline of the coal industry in the 1970s and 1980s, Herrington Colliery unfortunately to an end. Following the miner’s strike of 1984, Herrington was one of the first mines to be axed and ultimately closed down in 1985, bringing an end to over 100 years of production. In the 1990s, negotiations began to reclaim the land and redevelop it into a country park, which was funded through an extraction of the value of the coal left under it. The site of the mine subsequently became Herrington Country Park, which is one of the most scenic and beautiful open public spaces in Sunderland.