Luxurious loft apartments have recently opened up in a bid to save the historic Sunderland School Building. The new luxury homes offer residents all their needs, such as stovetops and renovated bathrooms with designer toiletries.

The million-pound transformation of Simpson Street School is complete, with the eight loft apartments marking the completion of the renovations.


The Old School, Simpson Street, located in Deptford, stands on the edge of Riverside Sunderland.In 2020, plans were announced to convert the building into a mixed-use development, comprising of office space and eight loft-style dwellings.

Restoration project

The project to restore the building was led by North East architecture, structural and civil engineering practice, Building Design Northern (BDN), the same company that recently announced plans to transform the stables at Sheepfolds into an exciting new city centre food, drink and leisure venue. 

You missed:   Top 10 Startups: London’s most valuable mobile app companies

BDN relocated its 22-strong team to the distinctive red-brick building in April 2021, with the office development picking up the North East Insider Property Award for Fit Out / Refurbishment of the Year.

The remaining two thirds of the building comprises of the eight one-bedroomed apartments, which are now complete and available for short-term stays.


Designed by BDN’s Architects and Engineers, the apartments combine the building’s beautiful original features with a stylish minimalist design. Specialist roofing and sash windows, with panoramic views of the city skyline, have been installed to match the period features of the property. 

You missed:   Roman Abramovich superyachts on the move

As many original Victorian features as possible have been retained to sympathetically restore the Old School, including making the most of original glazed bricks, beams and fireplaces. The addition of mezzanine floors to a number of apartments have been carefully crafted to keep with the building’s character, whilst also fully modernising the Grade II listed property.

Richard Marsden, managing director of BDN, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the project for being so invested in bringing our vision to fruition, to restore the building to its former glory. 

“The apartments have a real sense of history, creating a unique asset to the city, unlike anything ever before in Sunderland.

“Simpson Street acts as a real shopfront for our business, showcasing just what we can achieve. The completed transformation highlights BDN’s pledge to make a difference within Sunderland, and alongside the Sheepfolds development, demonstrates that we are investing in the regeneration of the city, creating contemporary places to live, work and enjoy. Simpson Street has been successfully restored for future generations.”

You missed:   Gorillas acquires Frichti


Built in 1867, the former school first opened as Deptford Yard Church of England School and had various guises as a School over the years. The school rang its bell for the final time in 1961, shutting to make way for an industrial development. In 1994, the Victorian building was protected with a Grade II listed status but fell into subsequent disrepair whilst in use as artist studios, suffering vandalism and arson attacks. 

The eight one-bedroomed apartments are being managed by Properties Unique, where they are available to rent for short-term stays.