The story of Penshaw Monument - the real reason why Sunderland has a huge mock Greek monument on a hill and its links to the Freemasons
Anyone who spends much time in and around Sunderland is familiar with Penshaw Monument - and probably takes it wholly for granted.
When you first spot Penshaw during a long car journey, it means the kids can stop asking when they’ll be home.
It is completely synonymous with the city, so much so that it’s featured on the crest of Sunderland AFC.
In fact when the crest was unveiled in 1996, we were told it included Penshaw Monument to reflect the amount of support for the club from outside the city. This seemed odd as it is only a mile from the nearest section of Sunderland’s border with County Durham, so they were presumably referring to its visibility from far away.
Indeed, it’s probably the most visible landmark in the North East. You can see it from huge swathes of County Durham, you even see it from North Tyneside on clear day and on a very, very, clear day it can be seen from the Cheviot Hills 50 miles away.
But what is it for? Why on earth is there a mock Greek monument on the outskirts of the city?
Why is it there?
The monument is a folly, which is a building serving no other purpose than to be seen. And seen it certainly is.