Sunderland ukulele group moves to historic Dun Cow pub and welcomes new members

People are being invited to add another string to their bow as a music club moves to a new base at an historic city pub.

The Strumbles ukulele group has moved to the new upstairs function room at The Dun Cow pub, High Street West, after losing their room at The Stumble Inn.

The club has come full circle as it formed at the city centre pub in 2015, before having to move on due to the upstairs room then becoming a restaurant.

But with the room recently undergoing a renovation to turn it back into a multi-purpose function room, The Strumbles have been able to return.

Strumbles Ukulele Band at The Dun Cow Sunderland

Group founder Charlie Lally, from Seaburn, said: “We moved to The Stumble Inn in 2016, but after hearing they wouldn’t be renewing their lease, we were left looking for somewhere else.

"I made enquiries about The Dun Cow and they were really keen to get us back and are letting us use the room free of charge, which is really good of them. It’s a fantastic pub and the owners have really made an effort to smarten the place up.

"We meet every other Friday in the room, but obviously if it was being used for a function, we’ll just skip a week.”

The humble ukulele has undergone a revival in recent years and Charlie says it’s a great introductory instrument for people.

Charlie Lally group leader

"It’s a really popular instrument at the moment,” he explained. “It’s relatively easy to handle, but also in a short space of time you can play something people can recognise, unlike something like a guitar which takes a lot longer to perfect.”

Charlie says around 15 people currently attend the group, but it’s open to all.

"Whether you’ve just received a ukulele as a present or you’ve dug it out of the attic, anybody can come along,” he said. “It’s free of charge, you just need to bring your own ukulele.

"We also have access to an online song book, with everything from tracks by The Beatles to The Foo Fighters and Paolo Nutini, which you can download and bring along.”

Strumbles Ukulele Band at Sunderland

The Grade II-listed Edwardian pub has undergone major renovation in recent years including including stonework improvements, an internal revamp, new roof and repairing the clock which had not worked since the 1980s.

The pub was built in 1901 and has seen many stars pop in for a tipple after performing at the Empire Theatre next door.

Operated by Pub Culture, it’s a sister bar to the neighbouring Engine Room bistro and £11m Fire Station Auditorium, which recently went into its second season.

Renovation works also included improving the north entrance so people can more easily go between the venues.

Charlie Lally group leader

Other new additions across the sites include the opening of a new terrace at The Engine Room.

Work is also forging ahead on a new outdoor stage being built on a former car park at the back of The Fire Station.

:: The Strumbles meet every other Friday between 1pm and 3pm in the upstairs room at The Dun Cow. They first met on September 9, and will meet fortnightly after that.