Memories of summer in Sunderland in 1963

Sunderland Baths were a hive of activity in 1963.

Sunderland Baths were a hive of activity in 1963.

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“I’m bored” was often the traditional cry of children in the last few weeks of their summer holidays.

But the children of Sunderland begged to differ in 1963. They had loads to keep them occupied and we delved into our archives to find out more.

The Red House Estate children who put on their own summer show.

The Red House Estate children who put on their own summer show.

Many of them became keen fundraisers.

On the Red House Estate, a dozen youngsters had a wonderful time by putting on a show to raise money for the Skopje Disaster Fund. That year, Skopje in Macedonia suffered an earthquake which killed more than 1,070 people, injured thousands more and left more than 200,000 people homeless.

The caring children asked Lillian Wilkinson of Ramsay Square if she would help to put on a show. They enlisted not only her help but her house and garden.

And when it began to rain, actors and audience all poured into her home - all 50 of them.

The shallow end was a wriggling mass of happy water babies who find companionship and a lot of good fun in splashing each other. At the other end were the elite who prefer to try out fancy dives

Echo reporter, 1963

Between, showers, though, the event was declared a great success.

Elsewhere in Sunderland in 1963, friends Susan Graham, 12, and Susan Brown, 8, raised 26 shillings for Oxfam by holding a jumble sale.

But there were other ways that children enjoyed their holidays.

Take Shireen Smith, for instance, who lived near Fulwell Mill. Her friend at breakfast time was her five-year-old pony Beauty who would often trot into the house to find out where Shireen was, and when she was going to take Beauty for a ride. And because Beauty was a Shetland pony who stood only ten hands high, it wasn’t much different from having a pet dog in the house, said Shireen’s mum Florence.

Susan Graham and Susan Brown.

Susan Graham and Susan Brown.

Sunderland baths were another great source of fun and often, 120 youngsters at a time could be seen there in the summer months.

Do you remember the summer holidays of the 60s and what were your favourite memories?

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk

Shireen Smith and her Shetland pony Beauty.

Shireen Smith and her Shetland pony Beauty.