First calendar to spotlight Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage launched

Welsh City, from Laing's, pictured on June 5, 1977.
Welsh City, from Laing's, pictured on June 5, 1977.
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The first calendar to spotlight Sunderland’s shipbuilding heritage has been launched.

Former tug worker Anthony Renton, who runs the Sunderland Tugs and Shipbuilding in Pictures Facebook page, has produced a limited run of 100.

Houston City, Doxford's, pictured July 18, 1962.

Houston City, Doxford's, pictured July 18, 1962.

But he has already been deluged with orders for the calendar – which features photos from across the decades – selling dozens within days.

“I’ve always been passionate about tugs and ships. Even as a kid, when my mates were playing football, I just wanted to hang around the docks,” said Anthony.

“My dad was in the Royal Navy and shipyards, and my older brother worked on the tugs. I saw my first launch at five and was bitten by the bug.”

Sunderland was once hailed as the largest shipbuilding town in the world, with thousands of wood, iron and steel ships built on the Wear since at least 1346.

Silverbriar.

Silverbriar.

Indeed, during World War Two the yards launched 245 merchant ships, winning Royal and political praise for keeping Britain supplied with food.

“I worked on the tugs for a couple of years in the 1980s, and had a whale of a time. I was like a kid in a toy shop,” recalls East Ender Anthony.

“Now I run my own contract cleaning firm in Glasgow, but I still remember those days with great fondness. I’ve even got a tug on our company logo!”

Indeed, such is Anthony’s passion for ships that he launched his Facebook page three years ago, gradually branching out from tugs to shipbuilding history.

Almost 4,000 people now follow his page, which features old photos and ship-related facts -– prompting him to publish his first calendar.

“The page is a labour of love. I don’t get paid for it, but I get a buzz out of making people happy and tracking down information,” he said.

l The calendar costs £7.99 plus £1.99 UK postage. Contact Anthony via Facebook, email at anthandcarole@aol.com or on 07941 662493.