There is a generation of Wearsiders who still get nostalgic when they hear the name ‘Sunshine Corner’ mentioned, as Philip Curtis of Sunderland Antiquarian Society reports.
It even had a theme song;
“Sunshine Corner, Oh it’s jolly fine, It’s for children under ninety-nine, All are welcome, seats are given free, Roker Sunshine Corner is the place for me.”
It was held on Sunday afternoons and evenings during the summer months of the mid 1930s on the beach at Roker. It was led by members of an evangelistic mission and aimed primarily at children.
A small stage, sheltered by a windbreak, provided the setting. Large crowds of children gathered around while their parents were usually seated on deck chairs behind them.
The main leader was William Harvey (known as Uncle Will) who lived in Kirkstone Avenue in Fulwell and regularly preached throughout the country during the winter.
A small stage, sheltered by a windbreak, provided the setting and regularly attracted large crowds of children who gathered around while their parents were usually seated on deck chairs behind themPhilip Curtis
Uncle Will sang and played popular hymns on his piano-accordion, inviting the children on stage to sing solos. The children eagerly listened to Bible stories whilst sitting in the sunshine.
Sunshine Corner usually began in early June and lasted until September. Children very soon knew most of the hymns and songs off by heart.
Also in the 1930s, Sunshine in the Big Tent was held at Seaburn on Sundays by members of Ewesley Road Methodist Church led by Tom Holland. The tent was pitched on the site on which the Seaburn Hotel (today The Marriott) would later be built.
Like Sunshine Corner, meetings were held twice on Sundays at 3pm and 7pm with community hymn singing.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 brought an end to Sunshine Corner with access to the beaches being prohibited owing to the threat of invasion.
Do you remember Sunshine Cordner?