From Roman battles to warships - what's on display at Sunderland History Fair

Sunderland History Fair, the largest of its kind in the area, returns this weekend and there’s plenty in store for visitors.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 3:10 pm

Sign up to our Wearside Echoes Newsletters. A monthly round-up of our retro best bits

From Roman centurions battling it out on the grass outside to a model of 74-gun HMS Venerable, on which Jack Crawford ‘nailed the flag to the mast’ inside, the fair is set to be a real blast from the past.

The bi-annual Sunderland History Fair is returning for the first time since the pandemic and is set to be one of the largest of its kind, bringing together more than 50 groups from across Sunderland and Durham.

Taking place at Bede Tower in Burdon Road on Saturday, May 21, the fair will feature a broad selection of commercial tables, selling items such as maps and books, national groups such as the Churches Conservation Trust, and local heritage groups such as Sunderland Antiquarians and Sunderland Maritime Heritage.

Sunderland History Fair returns this weekend

Sign up to our Wearside Echoes Newsletters. A monthly round-up of our retro best bits

Re-enactment groups will include Roma Antiqua, Dunholm Vikings, Historia Normannis, Northern Historical Re-enactment Society and Time Bandits.

Vintage Victorian and Edwardian bicycles ridden by vintage Victorians and Edwardians will be weaving in and out of the crowds.

Sunderland Antiquarians and Wearside Masonic Temple in nearby Douro Terrace will also be open in conjunction with the event.

Stuart Miller, chairman of organisers the Sunderland Heritage Forum, said interest in local history has increased over lockdown and the forum is hoping for a good turn out.

Models of city landmarks by late master craftsman Fred Gooch will be on display

"Local groups have seen a surge in numbers and I think it’s because, with people locked up, they expanded their interests,” he explained.

:: Sunderland History Fair takes place on Saturday, May 21, from 10am to 4pm and entry is free. There’s a free car park on site and hot food will be available.

Here’s who’ll be at the fair:


Stuart Miller from Sunderland Heritage Forum with Sharon Vincent and Sandra Lane along with Sunderland Maritime Heritage board member Bob Crompton.

::Alan Godfrey Maps

::Architectural & Archaeological Society of Durham & Northumberland

::British Association for Local History

::Beamish Museum

::Bill Greenwell - writer

::Bowes Railway

::Carol Elva Greenwell - writer

::DBA Consulting for Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

::Discovery Museum/Tyne & Wear Archives

::Durham Record Office

::Fitzhugh Library

::Foundation of Light "Coals to Goals" Project

::Friends of Sunderland Museums

::Fred Gooch Models

::Friends of Mowbray Park

::George Nairn postcards

::Glenda Young - writer

::Hartlepool Headland History Group

::Hendon History Group

::Hetton Colliery Railway 200

::Hetton Natural History & Local History Society

::Houghton Rectory

::Ian Mole - writer

::It's a Wind-Up! (Justin Ball)

::Jack Simm - Military Historian

::Newcastle Lit & Phil/Newcastle City Guides

::Margaret Hedley - Genealogist

::Maritime Heritage

::Northumberland & Durham Family History Society


::North East Ancient Egypt Society

::North East England Mining Archive and Research Centre

::North East History Archives

::North East Institute of Mining and Mining Engineers

::North East Methodist History

::North East Police History Society

::North East War Memorials Project

::Peblsrock Sea Glass

::Rocks of the North

::Roker Pier Tours

::Ryhope Heritage Group

::Seascapes Partnership (Heritage Coast)

::Southwick Reach

::Sunderland Antiquarian Society

::Sunderland Civic Society

::Sunderland Culture

::Sunderland Heritage Forum

::Sunderland Old Township Heritage Society

::Townscape Heritage Project

::Tunstall Hills Protection Group

::Washington History Society


::Wearside Field Club

::Whitburn Resonance