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Cherry Knowle Hospital History

In 1891, the Borough of Sunderland decided to construct a psychiatric facility in Ryhope due to good rail service and a scenic view of the North Sea, and from 1893 to 1895 the Sunderland Borough Asylum was constructed (also known as Sunderland Lunatic Asylum). Designed by noted asylum architect G.T. Hine, the old asylum is a prime example of the compact arrow echelon plan where wards were stepped out from the central services, similar to a Kirkbride plan (USA). There are six wards on either side of a combined chapel and recreation hall amongst the usual services, and an isolation hospital and infirmary block were added in 1902.

In the 1930s an admissions hospital and wartime Emergency Medical Service Huts were constructed nearby, which became the Ryhope General Hospital, and still operates to this day. The rest of the site became known as Cherry Knowle Hospital when it was acquired by the National Health Service in 1948.

Decorated tiles


11 x red and buff, quatrefoil in a circle

5 x red and buff, ordinal floral cross

7 x red and buff, foliate edge/border

3 x red, buff and brown, flowering vine


Plain tiles


6 x red quarry tiles

24 x glazed green fingers

11.5 x yellow fingers

8.5 red fingers


Cherry Knowle Hospital, Sunderland Lunatic Asylum

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