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Local History Library @ ETR

Please note: The external façade of our Local History Library building is undergoing restoration work. We are hoping to reopen the The Local History Library @ ETR to the public in August 2023. Updates will be added to our webpages and also our social media accounts, Facebook Sunderland Libraries and Twitter @SLibraries. You can still email any enquiries to which is continually monitored. We apologise for any inconvenience caused throughout these building works.


A core part of the statutory public Libraries Services offer for the city, the Local History Library @ETR holds one of the largest collections of historic records and information on Sunderland, including photographs, maps, film, trade directories, Corder directories, parish registers, newspapers and more.

Relocated in 2020, to the well-known Elephant Tea Rooms on the corner of Fawcett Street, the ground floor offers microfilm and readers, study areas, historical maps and all local history services, while the space on the first floor has an area that can be used to deliver events and activities, which could include anything from dementia and reminiscence workshops to creative programmes to support general health and wellbeing. Professional library staff with a breadth of knowledge across the collections manage the Local History Library @ETR and can support with all enquiries.

Living History North East, Regional Oral History Centre will also have a presence in the building.

The Elephant Tea Rooms were built between 1872-1877 by Henry Hopper and designed by Frank Caws, the upper floors boasted Doulton & Co terracotta ornamental elephants, as well as oriental birds all over the façade. In its day, the business was credited with controlling one of the largest retail tea, coffee and grocery trades in the whole North East of England.

For information on opening hours or any further enquiries please go to or email

Address: 64 Fawcett Street, Sunderland SR1 1BB Telephone: 0191 561 8439

Opening hours: from Monday 4 October 2021, this venue will be open

9.30am to 5pm9.30am to 5pm9.30am to 5pm9.30am to 5pm 9.30am to 5pm10am to 4pm

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