7 fabulous photos of a Wearside landmark threatened with closure

The Flying Scotsman at Monkwearmouth Station in May 1968.
The Flying Scotsman at Monkwearmouth Station in May 1968.
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This collection of photos gives an insight into the heyday of a Wearside tourist attraction threatened with closure.

It was announced earlier this week that councillors are considering shutting Monkwearmouth Station Museum on a temporary basis due to funding cuts.

Photograph by Ian S Carr of J39 0-6-0 64919 heading a local passenger train through Monkwearmouth Station in 1957.

Photograph by Ian S Carr of J39 0-6-0 64919 heading a local passenger train through Monkwearmouth Station in 1957.

But the Friends of Sunderland Museums group (FOSUMS) is urging the authority to rethink proposals, and an online protest petition has also been launched.

“The museum is one of Britain’s outstanding neo-classical stations, and also one of Sunderland’s finest buildings,” said Neil Sinclair, vice-chairman of FOSUMS.

Sunderland MP George Hudson, then chairman of the Midland Railway Company and known as the “Railway King”, was the man behind the creation of the station.

In a bid to mark his successful election he commissioned Thomas Moore, a leading Sunderland architect, to design a grand new station for Monkwearmouth.

Photograph by Ian S Carr showing G5 0-4-4T No 67927, propelling a South Shields to Sunderland push and pull train, at Monkwearmouth Station in the late 1950s.

Photograph by Ian S Carr showing G5 0-4-4T No 67927, propelling a South Shields to Sunderland push and pull train, at Monkwearmouth Station in the late 1950s.

“It opened in 1848,” said Neil. “The magnificent classical facade is far more impressive than would have been expected for a station of Monkwearmouth’s size.”

Monkwearmouth proved a busy station for several decades but, when North Eastern Railway Company extended its line across the river, its importance diminished.

“Passenger services were withdrawn in March 1967. Parts of the building continued to be used by British Railways, but in 1970 it became derelict,” said Neil.

“Fortunately, in 1971, Monkwearmouth was purchased by Sunderland Council for conversion into a museum of land transport. It won an award just a year later.

Monkwearmouth Station in 1965 - photo by Ian S Carr.

Monkwearmouth Station in 1965 - photo by Ian S Carr.

“While we realise the council is now having to make cuts as a result of budget cuts, we find any closure inexplicable.”

l A Facebook page to “Save Monkwearmouth Station Museum” can be seen at: www.facebook.com/groups/1682029245387988/

Photograph by Ian S Carr of the Royal train - on which the Duke of Edinburgh was travelling - pictured at Monkwearmouth in July 1963.

Photograph by Ian S Carr of the Royal train - on which the Duke of Edinburgh was travelling - pictured at Monkwearmouth in July 1963.

The Duke of Edinburgh is greeted by Lord Barnard, Lord Lieutenant of Durham, on his arrival at Monkwearmouth Station in 1963.

The Duke of Edinburgh is greeted by Lord Barnard, Lord Lieutenant of Durham, on his arrival at Monkwearmouth Station in 1963.

Evacuation of Wearside youngsters from Monkwearmouth Station at the start of World War Two in 1939.

Evacuation of Wearside youngsters from Monkwearmouth Station at the start of World War Two in 1939.

Monkwearmouth Station in 1944.

Monkwearmouth Station in 1944.

Metro train passing Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

Metro train passing Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

Monkwearmouth Station in May 1964.

Monkwearmouth Station in May 1964.