SLIDESHOW: Back to the old school

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IT’S back to the blackboard thanks to Wearside Echoes readers – who have provided a bumper bundle of class photos.

Among the treasure trove of images featured today is a shot of the St Mary’s RC School football team in 1951/52.

Villiers Street School - 1920s.

Villiers Street School - 1920s.

The photo was provided by former pupil Lawrence Hurst, who played as centre-half until leaving the school in 1953.

“Our team was managed by Gerald Cunningham, who was a great teacher. He was very well respected by everyone,” he said.

“He always gave the team’s players loads of encouragement. He made you feel comfortable, and everyone loved him.

“Sadly, when his wife died, he moved to a monastery in Bristol. He’s died since then; at least several years ago.” Another of the images shows the senior class of Redby Boys School in 1949, when Derek Browell was in his final year.

“I left the following Easter, as you could back then. I do not think there will be many of us left now,” said Derek.

Echo reader Robert Foreman provided the photo of the Good Friday March in 1964 – once a great Sunderland tradition.

“It shows Park Road Sunday School in Borough Road. I thought it may have a lot of interest to readers,” he said.

Another shot – of Stansfield Street football team of 1934 – was sent in by Keith Hembrough, whose dad is in the photo.

“The team shared the Sunderland Schools championship trophy,” said Keith. “My father Bobby is in the front row.”

Other images featured – including Commercial Road football team in 1958-59 season – were provided by Bill Hawkins. Bill, a member of Sunderland Antiquarian Society, said: “Our group is keen to collect as many school photos as possible.

“Pictures of classes and teams are an important part of the social history of Sunderland. People find them fascinating.”

l Anyone who would like to see their school photos in the Echo should contact Sarah Stoner on