Rare footage of Sunderland's trams in a fascinating 1954 film - re-live a bygone Wearside era

Take a look at this fascinating film footage of Sunderland in the 1950s.

Thursday, 9th June 2022, 4:55 am

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It is a rare chance to view the trams of Sunderland as they used to look.

What a great opportunity it is to view the last trams to travel through the streets of Wearside, complete with their advertising slogans for Binns, Vernons, Rediffusion and Tobler.

There’s a glimpse of one tram as it travels over the Wearmouth Bridge, passing a Northern Gas Board truck as it goes.

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Our thanks go to the excellent North East Film Archive (NEFA) for sharing the footage.

NEFA has a huge catalogue of over 70,000 items of original film, video tape, and born-digital material.

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Its team has painstakingly taken on the task of preserving, cataloguing, and digitising these vital collections of reminders of our past.

Clips from a rare film showing Sunderland's last trams. Pictures: North East Film Archive.

The clip we have featured is one small section of a brilliant 27-minute cine look at Sunderland life in 1954.

It was originally recorded by amateur filmmaker John Percival Staddon and the longer film, which is available on the NEFA website, shows Billy Smart’s circus in town, a visit to Marsden Rock, and a look at town centre traffic.

It is one example of NEFA's documentation of all aspects of North East life.

A still from the Sunderland cine clip. Picture: North East Film Archive.

The archive operates over two regional sites: Yorkshire Film Archive, based in York, and North East Film Archive, based in Middlesbrough.

Interested people can find out more about its work and collections by visiting the archive’s website at https://www.yfanefa.com

The registered charity also has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/YFAandNEFA

A tram in Sunderland in the 1950s.
A reminder of the era of trams in Sunderland. Picture: North East Film Archive.
The last tram in Southwick in the 1950s.