Wearside Echoes: Help wanted

MYSTERY TREASURE: Do you know where this Doxford treasure is now?

MYSTERY TREASURE: Do you know where this Doxford treasure is now?

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TODAY we feature a page of pleas. Can you help?

ORGANISERS of a Sunderland sporting celebration are facing a race against time.

MYSTERY FAMILY: Do you recognise any of the men in this photo?

MYSTERY FAMILY: Do you recognise any of the men in this photo?

An appeal was today launched to track down Wearsiders with athletic ancestors to help mark the 125th anniversary of Ashbrooke Sports Club later this month.

“Ashbrooke opened up with a Whitsuntide Sports event on May 30, 1887, and it would be interesting to know more about those involved,” said club historian Keith Gregson.

“We also have a book documenting the cyclists and athletes who competed in similar sports between 1893 and 1904, and we would like to know more about these, too.”

The Whitsuntide sporting contest proved a popular draw during Victorian and Edwardian times, with the 1893 event alone attracting at least 20 running clubs and ten cycling clubs.

TRAM MYSTERY: An old Fulwell Road train crossing to the docks. Do you know when this picture was taken?

TRAM MYSTERY: An old Fulwell Road train crossing to the docks. Do you know when this picture was taken?

Keith has spent weeks tracking down dozens of the competitors, via census records on The Genealogist website, but is hoping readers will be able to help out too.

“Among the athletes I have found a James Hazard from Sans Street and James Mustard from Deptford Road. These are two good local sporting surnames,” he said.

“But poor young Maurice Stack from Cresswell Villas and Charles Commons from the Elms West must have been disappointed, as the AAA cancelled their junior race one year.”

Other stars traced by Keith include cyclists George Huntley from Crowtree Terrace, James Horn of Grangetown and Lawrence Crosby, who may later have become a tobacconist.

MYSTERY PHOTO: Readers are being asked if they can identify where this picture was taken.

MYSTERY PHOTO: Readers are being asked if they can identify where this picture was taken.

Athletes William Hymas, a shop boy from Charles Street, apprentice fitter Edward Sedgwick, of Alma Street in Hetton, and Ryhope collier Robert Todner also competed in the games.

“Some of the competitors have been difficult to trace in the 1891 census,” said Keith. “It is possible that they were moving about.

“For example, I would like to find out more about athletes Thomas Pace from New Silksworth and James Parker from Fuller Road in Hendon.

“Scratch cyclist Joe Armstrong, of Newbottle, also remains something of a mystery.

Chinese laundry bag from a laundrey that was in Chester Road, Sunderland.

Chinese laundry bag from a laundrey that was in Chester Road, Sunderland.

“But it is exciting to think that some of the athletes and cyclists will still have close relatives around in the city, and many of the surnames are instantly recognisable.”

** Keith is keen to hear from anyone who has a sporty Ashbrooke ancestor. He can be contacted at keith.gregson.t21@btinternet.com or via his website at www.keithgregson.com.

Sidebar: Appeal

WEARSIDE Echoes readers are being asked for their help in solving this picture puzzle.

“My father, Raymond, is standing fifth from the left on the back row, whilst my mother, Mabel, is the second lady from the right standing,” said John Habgood.(CORRECT)

John believes the picture may have been snapped while his father was working for Wearside department store J. Jones Ltd, sometime between 1946 and 1951.

“I would be interested to know if any of Echo readers recognise anyone in the photo, or can throw any further light on it,” he said.

“My mother would have been 100 on May 14 this year, so it is unlikely that anyone in the picture survives. But readers may recognise parents or grandparents in the picture.”

** John can be contacted on 01234 391722.

Sidebar: Chinese

THIS photograph of a Chinese laundry bag holds many memories for Kathleen Kelly.

“I’m 83 now, and I must have been about six when I used to take a neighbour’s fancy shirts to be laundered at the shop in Chester Road,” she said.

“My neighbour was a dentist and used to go to fancy parties in frilled shirts. I expect it would have been quite difficult to clean them properly at home.”

Kathleen remembers the laundry, which always seemed busy and filled with customers, as being close to The Chesters pub - on the hospital side of the road.

“No-one else seems to remember it at all, now, and it was a long time ago. But I’ve still got one of the laundry bags from the shop - so I know I’m not imagining it!” she said.

Sidebar: Family

THE granddaughter of an Irish musician who moved to Sunderland in Victorian times is appealing for help in tracking down ancestors.

Irene Davison, from Wiltshire, is hoping readers may be able to recognise the person holding a fiddle in the middle of this family picture.

“I think his name may be Michael Corcoran. He is either my great-grandfather or my great uncle,” she said.

“My grandfather, Thomas Corcoran, was from Cork and moved to Sunderland as a young man in the late 1880s or early 1900s and married my grandmother.

“He played the bugle in the South Africa campaign in 1902 and I wondered if the musical genes ran in the family.”

** Irene can be contacted at: 1 Oberek Lane, Eagle Glade, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN25 1TR.

Sidebar: Plaque

THE ‘Doxford House Dish’ - or plaque, to give it its proper title - was once set into the oak panelling at Doxford House.

But, after thieves broke into the building in the 1990s, it was removed and placed in ‘safe keeping’ - never to be seen again.

One Echo reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “It was approximately 33ins long and 22ins wide, hand painted and etched in gold leaf.

“The plaque was made by the important artist Wagner, from the School of Vienna, in the 19th century. The painting on the porcelain was Diana the Huntress.

“Lady Doxford bequeathed the building, so I would assume also the contents, to the people of Sunderland. I believe it should be on show in the museum.”

Sidebar: Tram

THIS fine photo of a Sunderland tram was provided by Fulwell man Geoff Dickens - but do you know when it was taken?

“The picture shows the old Fulwell Road train crossing, which led to the docks,” he said.

“The white building, T. Cowell, was a butchers but is now a chiropractors. It still has the white 20s/30s art effect on the top.”

** Information on requests without contact details should be emailed to sarah.stoner@northeast-press.co.uk or sent to: Sarah Stoner, Sunderland Echo, Pennywell, Sunderland, SR$ 9ER.