Ashbrooke developed through the Victorian era as Sunderland's first suburb. Originally occupied by large middle-class families, including much of Wearside's Jewish population, a fair number of the larger residences have been reorganised into dwellings of multiple occupancy, home to the local University of Sunderland's students and young professionals.
The large, well-built houses, the wide, tree-lined avenues, and the often colourful street names ('The Esplanade', 'The Oaks', 'The Elms', 'West Lawn', 'Holmlands Park') signify the area's affluence.
Ashbrooke is part of St. Michael's ward and is represented by three Conservative councillors.
Ashbrooke Sports Ground, opened May 30, 1887 for cricket and rugby, is home to many amateur sports associations such as bowls, cricket, tennis, hockey, squash and rugby union. A Tennis tournament before Wimbledon was used as a warm up for players such as Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova.