Take a first glimpse inside the new-look headquarters of this fast-growing Sunderland history society

A thriving Sunderland society has revamped its headquarters as it gets ready to welcome back the public.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 4:55 am

Take a glimpse at the new-look Sunderland Antiquarian Society base in Douro Terrace.

It will re-open on Wednesday, June 2 at 9.30am and then be open every Wednesday and Saturday from 9.30am to 12pm with an array of new attractions.

There are displays such as a mannequin from Notarianni’s and a poster display advertising boxing on Wearside. A giant 60-inch display screen shows historic photos of Wearside and new illuminated cabinets are filled with memorabilia.

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A warm welcome awaits everyone who visit the Sunderland Heritage Centre - home of the Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

Antiquarian Phil Curtis said: “We have got new signs, perspex screens in the research rooms, new carpets and we have decorated. A lot has been revamped.

"Our membership has gone up to and we are now standing at 1,040 members. We believe we are the largest society of its kind outside of London.”

Phil added: “We are looking forward to welcoming back our members as well as members of the public. You don’t have to be a member to come in.”

The pandemic has hugely helped the society because people have had more time to look at their own past and the history surrounding it.

Sunderland Antiquarian Society gets ready to re-open. Pictured are; front Phil Curtis with Trevor Thorne and Linda King.

The dark nights have also meant more people turned to the internet and local history during the winter, said fellow Antiquarian Linda King.

Enquiries to the society has gone up during lockdown. So has membership levels with recruits coming from countries including Australia, Canada and the Bahamas.

Anyone coming to the society headquarters should ‘bring their own pencils so that we do not have to re-sanitise’, said Phil.

The society has been closed since mid-March last year. The membership levels have shot up with 100 more since January this year.

Dividing screens have been installed in the research rooms at Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

Officials stress that safeguarding is very important and masks must still be worn except in the refreshment room. People must also use the hand sanitiser in the lobby.

The Antiquarian Society, founded in 1900, holds extensive archives amassed and donated by the people of Sunderland.

Sunderland Antiquarian Society which will re-open in June.

And to apply to become a member, email [email protected]

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Sunderland Antiquarian Society's Heritage Centre headquarters.
One of the research areas at Sunderland Antiquarian Society complete with screens.
One of the display areas at the Sunderland Antiquarian Society base.