Wearside(/ˈwɪərsd/), also known as the Sunderland Built-up Area, is an area of North East England centred on the continuous urban area of Sunderland by the River Wear. It includes nearby separate significant settlements such as Washington, as well as the many smaller settlements which form part of the continuous urban area, including Whitburn, Hetton-le-Hole, Bournmoor, South Hetton, Springwell Village, Ouston, Pelton, Chester-Le-Street and Houghton-le-Spring. Therefore, Wearside is partially situated in both the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear and the ceremonial county of County Durham.[1] Most of the Wearside areas is within the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderland, which had a population of 280,807 in 2001.[2]

Wearside is located in England
Location of Wearside in England
Coordinates: 54°54′14″N 1°22′52″W / 54.90389°N 1.38111°W / 54.90389; -1.38111Coordinates: 54°54′14″N 1°22′52″W / 54.90389°N 1.38111°W / 54.90389; -1.38111
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth East
 • Total335,415
Time zoneGMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)


Like other parts of the North East, Wearside and Sunderland were economically structured by the primary and secondary sector of the economy; with a great deal of the economy once dependent on ship building at Sunderland Docks and coal mining with large collieries such as Monkwearmouth Colliery, which declined rapidly during the mid 20th century, many areas have long been deprived with vast areas of unemployment as a result. The city of Sunderland and parts of Wearside have been slowly rejuvenated over the years and industry is now largely based around call centres, although many areas such as Easington still face social problems today.


The Sunderland Echo is the newspaper of Wearside and is sold throughout the area and available online. The other main online news source for Wearside is BBC North East and Cumbria. BBC Radio for the area is broadcast by BBC Newcastle on 95.4FM. Local commercial radio is broadcast by 103.4 Sun FM for Wearside and 107 Spark FM for the City of Sunderland. Metro Radio broadcasts across Tyne and Wear with Heart North East broadcasting across the whole of the north east of England. TV news is for the whole north east region and broadcast by the BBC from its Newcastle studios or ITV Tyne Tees from its studios in Gateshead.


The Wearside Football League is one of the levels in the English football league system and contains amateur teams such as Easington Colliery A.F.C. and Seaham Red Star F.C.. The only professional football team located in the area is Sunderland A.F.C., a team based in Sunderland.


Map of the Wearside Urban Area showing subdivisions and local authority boundaries

According to the ONS definition the Wearside Urban Area had the following subdivisions:

Rank Urban sub-area name Population (2011 census)
1 Sunderland 174,286
2 Washington 67,085
3 Chester-le-Street 37,164
4 Houghton-le-Spring 13,863
5 Hetton-le-Hole 12,127
6 Fence Houses 6,649
7 Ouston 5,303
8 Pelton 5,278
9 Whitburn 5,102
10 South Hetton 3,032
11 Bournmoor 2,082
12 Springwell 2,074
13 Whitehill 1,370
Total 335,415


  1. ^ "2011 Census – Built-up areas". ONS. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  2. ^ [1] Sunderland Statistics-source-Govt of UK

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