Unveiling the Sunderland Echo calendar 2015

FEBRUARY:  Ships in River Wear with barrage balloons June 1941.
FEBRUARY: Ships in River Wear with barrage balloons June 1941.
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It’s time to make a date with next year as nostalgia writer Sarah Stoner unveils the 2015 Wearside Echoes calendar.

THE sights and sounds of steam trains and ship launches are now just a memory in Sunderland - as are pit ponies and horse-drawn carriages.

JUNE: Union Street bus station 1954.

JUNE: Union Street bus station 1954.

Tugs, trams and the Wheatsheaf lighthouse have all disappeared too, alongside the old Union Street bus station and tragedy-hit Victoria Hall.

But a new calendar published by The Echo for 2015, dedicated to Sunderland’s rich heritage, is sure to bring memories flooding back.

“Whatever the event, from ship launches to political visits, our snappers have captured the occasion on camera,” said editor John Szymanski.

“The Echo’s archives hold a treasure trove of images, capturing the ever-changing face of Wearside - and the calender reflects those changes too.

“Many of the scenes will be familiar to readers, others a reminder of past times. There is certainly something for every generation.”

A shot of Sunderland’s old railway station in October 1938 takes pride of place on the front page. Within just a few years it would be bombed, then rebuilt.

Other highlights include a wartime shot of the River Wear, a 1930s photo of the taxi office near Sunderland station and Union Street bus station in 1954.

“My favourites are the quirky ones, such as the boat parked outside a row of houses in the 1950s,” said Susan Swinney, photographic archivist for the Echo.

“I also love the one of the packed Cat and Dog steps in 1974, as well the sunny scene at Mowbray Park in 1967 - as they both bring back happy memories.

“The photo of the visit by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to Sunderland in 1959 is interesting too, as I love the smiling faces of the people in the crowd.”

Other i,ages in the calendar collection include Pallion railway station in 1959, Wearmouth Colliery pit ponies and the Wheatsheaf corner in 1954.

A snowstorm at Mowbray Park in 1941, as well as the cargo liner Hertfordshire being towed under Wearmouth Bridge in 1972, are featured too.

“We’ve taken a trip down memory lane to put this collection together,” said Susan. “Hopefully the mix of quirky and historical shots will prove very popular.”

l The 2015 calendar is available from Echo outlets and newsagents now priced £4.25.