TODAY’S the day the City of Sunderland gets the key to the door. It was 21 years ago today that Sunderland finally became a city – 60 years after it made its first bid.
The town was finally granted city status after four previous unsuccessful attempts, making it Britain’s 54th city at the time.
The announcement was made on Valentine’s Day 1992 to mark the Queen’s 40th anniversary on the throne, and the Echo footed the bill for commemorative letters to the city’s 54,000 schoolchildren and full-time students.
Mayoress Barbara McClennan was then a journalist at the Echo and was tasked with reporting on the historic occasion.
“There was a huge buzz on that day in the civic centre, across industry and business,” she recalls.
“But I don’t think it really hit the people on the street until we received the Letters Patent from the Queen. We felt we’d arrived and that we’d been recognised for our heritage and where we were going.”
•Read Katy Wheeler’s feature on Sunderland’s 21 years of city status in today’s paper