WEARSIDE ECHOES: Enjoying fun and games 1970s-style

It's all smiles at Barmston Carnival in June 1974.
It's all smiles at Barmston Carnival in June 1974.
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All the fun of the fair is on offer in today’s Friday Fun feature - with summer carnivals the focus of our photos.

Bonny Baby contests, band parades and fancy dress competitions were all big draws during the sunny months of the 1970s, as these archive Echo images of Southwick, Seaham and Barmston carnivals reveal.

Two Wearside youngsters "on parade" at Southwick Carnival in July 1974.

Two Wearside youngsters "on parade" at Southwick Carnival in July 1974.

“Carnivals, fairs, fetes and feasts have provided entertainment for generations of Wearsiders, with many of our popular events - such as Houghton Feast - dating back centuries,” said Echo archivist Susan Swinney.

“Others, such as Seaham Carnival, have their roots in more recent times. It started as a Civic Show in 1969, run by Seaham Urban District Council, but eventually morphed into an annual carnival.”

Rather older, though no less popular, was Barmston Carnival. One of the earliest took place in August 1919 - as a Peace Celebration for the parish following the end of World War One.

“It was organised by the Washington and Usworth branch of Comrades of the Great War and took place at Shafto Terrace field. Britannia was pulled along on a gun carriage by scouts,” said Susan.

Carnivals, fairs, fetes and feasts have provided entertainment for generations of Wearsiders. I hope these photos bring back many happy memories.

Susan Swinney, Echo archivist.

“The entertainment that day included a parade of cycles, as well as fancy dress and tableau competitions. The competitors had to parade through Usworth and Washington before being judged.”

Also pictured here is Southwick Carnival - an eagerly anticipated event throughout the 20th century, with thousands taking to the streets to compete in jazz band competitions, pushball contests, fancy dress parades and traditional games.

“It was exceptionally popular in the years before the Second World War, when a whole host of activities would be held at Margaret Thompson Recreation Ground - which was officially opened in 1933,” said Susan.

“I hope these photos will bring back happy memories.”

Learning about life in the army at Seaham Civic Show in September 1974.

Learning about life in the army at Seaham Civic Show in September 1974.

The Bonny Baby contest at Barmston Carnival in June 1974.

The Bonny Baby contest at Barmston Carnival in June 1974.