Help solve Sunderland photo mysteries

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A picture perfect mystery is on offer today. Sarah Stoner takes a look.

WEARSIDE Echoes readers are today invited to take a trip down memory lane – and help solve a few picture puzzles too.

GLASS ACT: Hartley's Glass Works in 1895.

GLASS ACT: Hartley's Glass Works in 1895.

“All the photos featured here have been donated to Sunderland Antiquarian Society over the decades – for which we are extremely grateful,” said local historian Bill Hawkins.

“Unfortunately, although we know where – and roughly when – most of them were taken, we are unable to put names to most of the faces. It would be marvellous if readers could help.”

Among the treasure trove of images featured are staff at H.A. Burlinson’s Builders in 1898, the Dene Terrace feeding centre at Southwick in 1926 and Hartley’s Glass Works in 1895.

“The craftsmen who produced the hand-blown glass unique to Hartley’s used techniques that had changed little since Saxon times,” said Bill. “More than 700 worked there in 1860.

“One of their biggest contracts was for the roofing on Monkwearmouth Station train shed in 1848, but they were in demand for stained glass windows in churches and cathedrals too.”

Also featured on these pages are pictures of Fulwell gardeners – no date known – cricketers at a Sunderland pavilion circa 1905 and the opening of Backhouse Park Aviary in 1937.

“The park was originally owned by Edward Backhouse, a Quaker philanthropist and writer on church history, who one of the founding fathers of the Sunderland Echo,” said Bill.

“We know that Sir Walter Raine is shown on the aviary photo, standing third left with a grey coat and suit, but would very much like to know the names of the others as well for our files.”

Sir Walter, who grew up in Beechwood Street, was the managing director of a coal export firm and elected as Mayor of Sunderland in the 1920s before becoming an MP for the town. The businessman also served as president of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Great Britain, and was chairman of Sunderland AFC when the team won the FA Cup in 1937.

“He died the year after this picture was taken, at the age of 64, after a long illness,” said Bill. “But the aviary continued long after his death, and proved extremely popular with visitors.”

Ropery girls from Glaholm and Robson’s Monkwearmouth firm in 1917 and Hendon Paper Mill circa 1900 are also featured here.

“The mill was in business for more than 100 years, employing around 400 people in the early 20th century,” said Bill. “It manufactured a wide range of fine stationary and printing papers.

“The ropery was also a thriving business at one time. It was started by Thomas Glaholm, the son of a steam flour miller, with his brother-in-law, Samuel Sinclair Robson, in 1857.

“In the 1860s it employed a young Samuel Storey as a salesman. Glaholm and Storey shared the same political ideals and, a decade later, they became founder members of the Echo.”

Pictures of Hendon FC Juniors – League Winners in 1946 – as well as North Ford Farm workers at Pallion in 1891 are shown too – with further information required for each.

“If a photo has no description, it leaves you in the dark,” said Bill. “We just hope that Echo readers, who have been brilliant in the past, will be able to put some names to faces.

“We would also encourage people to keep bringing their artefacts to us, so we can preserve them for the future. We appreciate every donation, from single photos to whole boxes of documents.”

l Sunderland Antiquarian Society is based at 6 Douro Terrace. The archive is open to the public each Wednesday and Saturday mornings for research.