PICTURES: Sunderland school days in 1974

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NOSTALGIA writer Sarah Stoner looks at classroom life 40 years ago.

“From canoe building to stage shows and sailing trips – Wearside pupils enjoyed much more than just reading, writing and arithmatic back in 1974.

Bede School Rehearsal - H M S Pinafore - 1974.

Bede School Rehearsal - H M S Pinafore - 1974.

“School was officially cool 40 years ago – at least that’s what youngsters told our reporters at the time!” said Susan Swinney, photographic archivist for the Echo.

“And there was certainly a whole host of activities for them to get involved with, as our archive photographs show. All the kids appear to be having a lot of fun.”

Among the photos featured here is a canoe-building session at Thornhill School in February 1974, as well as a Monkwearmouth School production of Iolanthe.

Musicians from Broadway, Hetton and Ryhope schools are pictured too, as is the cast of Gilbert and Sullivan musical HMS Pinafore at Bede School.

“My favourite photos, though, are the ones showing a group of lads from Thornhill aboard HMS Russell in 1974. What a smart set of boys!” said Susan.

•To purchase any of these photos visit