Dancing at the Rink and the Three Stooges at the Gaumont - it's a Sunderland Christmas in 1961

Have you ever wondered what Christmas would have been like decades ago?

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 3:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 4:33 pm

Wonder no more as we turn the Wearside clock back to December 1961.

It is a time for bargain hunting at Joplings and planning a visit to panto to watch Bobby Thompson at the Empire.

It’s a time for dancing the Christmas night away at The Rink or settling down in front of the TV to watch Max Bygraves.

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Life in Sunderland in 1961.

We have all this and more in a flashback to 1961.

If you were after a last-minute Christmas bargain, how about a Brownie camera from Joplings for 25 shillings and sixpence, or a Viewmaster viewer for 19 and 11.

Hodgsons in Crowtree Road was selling children’s duffel coats for 25/11 or donkey jackets for 39/11. If you popped over to Dundas Street, Ormistons had dolls clothes galore for sale.

Palmers in the New Arcade was great for prams and Dacks in Crowtree Road had typewriters aplenty.

The Marina cinema in Fulwell in 1961.

Perhaps your mind was on special days out for the family. The Empire Theatre had Mother Goose on with Craig Douglas and Bobby Thompson in starring roles.

Tickets were 7/6 for the circle, 6/6 for the stalls and a shilling for the balcony. Did you see it?

Or maybe you preferred a day at the pictures. Snow White and the Three Clowns, starring Carol Heiss and the Three Stooges, was on at the Gaumont with three showings a day.

Over at the Marina in Fulwell, Greyfriars Bobby was pulling in the audiences with the last show at 7.15pm.

Joplings was a great place for Christmas bargains.

If it was live music you were after, Bill Sowerby’s orchestra was playing at The Rink with a Yuletide Ball on Christmas Day. Entry was 6 shillings.

If you preferred to stop in, there were seasonal choices on the telly.

On Christmas Eve, the BBC was showing Elsa The Lioness for the children, or What’s My Line for the adults. On Christmas Day, you could watch Max Bygraves, This Is Your Life or Citizen James on the BBC.

Jungle Boy, Gunsmoke, Coronation Street and The Terrific Adventures Of The Terrible Ten were all on ITV.

Crowtree Road in Sunderland where Hodgsons, Dacks and Kays all had great offers at Christmas in 1961.

The Air Ministry was predicting a white Christmas for the North East, especially as Sunderland got snow flurries on December 23.

What are your memories of Christmases past? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

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Christmas parties, shopping in Vine Place and grabbing a bargain - we have it al...

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Predictions of a white Christmas for Sunderland in 1963.
Blandford Street in 1961. Did you shop there?
Bobby Thompson with fans at the Sunderland Empire in 1981. He was also starring in pantomime in 1961.