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Webster's Ropery

Last Updated:

25 Oct 2022


This is a


54.913825, -1.401281

Founded in 


Current status is


Designer (if known):


Now a wedding venue.

"Webster's Ropery in Deptford survives as the oldest factory building in Sunderland, a four-storey dressed stone structure of impressive dimensions built in approximately 1797 by Grimshaw Webster and Company. It housed the first steam engine known to have been installed in a ropeworks. It is thought to be the world's first Patent Ropeworks (i.e. not having a rope walk). Although the interior has been substantially altered, the cast iron window frames may well be original."

- Sitelines

NEHL - The partnership between Webster , Grimshaw and Hill dissolved in 1817. Grimshaw continued to run the company, supplying ropes to many very early railways such as the Liverpool and Manchester and the Stockton and Darlington. The site has been renovated and is now a wedding venue.

Listing Description (if available)

The first and second editions of the Ordnance Survey illustrate the ropery through the 19th century. The factory was one of, if not the first of its kind to not need a rope walk, so the complex was quite small compared to its counterparts. Dense industrialisation and the terraces had hit this part of Sunderland by this point, though more were added by the 1890s.

By 1921, Queen Alexandra Bridge was in full operation (though rail services were winding down in these years thanks to a downturn). A ferry service was also operating between Pottery Road and the ropery on the south bank of the Wear.


Websters Ropery in October 2022. The site has been recently refurbished as a wedding venue.


Photograph from the first half of the 20th century of the ropery, including terraced housing on Ropery Road which was to later be demolished. Ayres Quay Gas Works can be seen in the background. Source: Sunderland Antiquarian Society


The ropery during the 70s/80s before renovation. Much of Deptford and Ayres Quay was facing the turmoil of de-industrialisation at this stage, which is apparent in comparison to the previous image.

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