Take a trip down Sunderland’s memory lane

Winter Gardens 1935 old ref number 4/480   Sunderland Calendar 2012
Winter Gardens 1935 old ref number 4/480 Sunderland Calendar 2012
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SUNDERLAND’S historic gems will come under the spotlight this week. Today we take a look.

WEARSIDERS are being urged to take a trip down memory lane as part of a national celebration of local heritage.

A series of free talks focusing on the city’s rich history will take place this week as part of the Heritage Open Days programme.

Among the treats on offer is Sunderland Between the Wars, by historian Philip Curtis, to be held this Friday at Monkwearmouth Library from 2pm.

“I’ll be covering the social and economic life of the town from 1919 to 1939,” said Philip, secretary of Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

“Among the topics will be the East End, old shops, markets, cinemas, theatres, football victories and the 1937 Coronation.

“I’ll be including the home movies of Sunderland boxer Jack Casey, footage of strong man Samson Besford and a great many vintage photographs too.”

Sunderland Gothic – an illustrated talk focusing on Wearside’s Gothic architecture – will be given by Dr Michael Johnson on Saturday. “The spectacular churches and chapels of the Victorian period are among the finest buildings in Sunderland,” said the design history lecturer.

Michael’s talk will be held at the City Library, in Fawcett Street, from 10.30am, and places are limited to 30. To book, call 561 1235.

“Particular gems include the Tudor-Gothic Nicholson House, now Carlton House, which was built in 1851 for William Nicholson,” he said.

“Then, of course, there is the Elephant Tea House, designed by Frank Caws to look like a cross between an Italian Gothic palace and a Hindu temple.”

Other talks will include From Pit Heap to Premier Park, to be held in the Rangers Building at Herrington Country Park on Saturday from 1pm-2pm.

And Elsie Ronald, of the Friends of Sunderland Museums, will host Step Out, Step In – a history of Mowbray Park and the museum – at the art gallery on Thursday from 2pm.

“Public opinion has saved the park three times from being built on. It really is an important part of the history of Sunderland, as is the museum,” she said.

“I’ll be looking at many aspects of history, such as whether former US President Ulysses Grant actually attended the laying of the museum’s foundation stone.

“Although his name is on the stone, there is a debate over his attendance.

“I’ll also be looking at what was on the menu at the banquet in his honour, amongst other things.”

l To find out more, pick up a Heritage Open Days booklet at tourist information centres or libraries, or log on to www.twhods.org.uk.