Here’s your chance to contribute to Fulwell’s history

Howards in Sea Road.
Howards in Sea Road.
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Do you have special memories of old Fulwell?

If you do, you are invited to share them at Fulwell Library, this Friday, between 1pm and 4pm.

Jack Lunn in the 1890s.

Jack Lunn in the 1890s.

Local historians Norman Kirtlan and Sharon Vincent are busy researching the people, places and events that went to make up the story of this remarkable little village.

The information that they are uncovering will soon be published in a new book on the History of Fulwell Village

Norman said: “From the days when it was known as the Debtor’s Retreat because of its isolated location, through the war years and into recent times when some of the best housing and shopping could be found, the story of Fulwell is afascinating one”.

Many characters have graced the streets over the years, including people like Jack Lunn.

We have already received some wonderful photographs like the one of a family living in Annie Street half a century ago, and we hope that Fulwell folk will call in on Friday and bring along their old family snaps

Norman Kirtlan

Jack was one of the many farmworkers who served the community when it was a rural village.

This charming image of him was found in an old album which is kept at the Sunderland Antiquarian Society. It shows William (Jack) Lunn hard at work back in the mid-1890s.

Yorkshire-born Jack came to Fulwell as a young man, along with his wife who was also from Yorkshire and who was called Isabella.

Although only in his mid 60s when this photograph was taken, he seems to be a man much older in years.

Norman said it was “no doubt due to the hard and constant work that he and folks like him had to endure in those days.

Norman added: “Other folks like Ow’d Matty, the village constable, are long gone, but their stories will be recreated in our book.”

Ow’d Matty’s life as the village police officer was an interesting tale in its own right and Norman explained more.

He was only paid five shillings a year and could never be found when he was needed.

He also held a record in that he never arrested a single person in the village, complaining that it was “too far to walk to Southwick to put them in a cell.”

As well as times long gone, the book will focus on more modern days.

It asks questions such as what was it like during the war years? What was it like growing up and going to school in Fulwell?

Norman added: “One area that I am particularly interested in, is the experience of shopping and working in Fulwell. Does anyone have memories of Fulwell’s Central Laundry, or the shops along Sea Road?”

Howards was one of the main stores on Sea Road, and many people still have appliances bought from there, even though it is three decades since they closed their doors.

Its another example of the quirky stories which the two historians are interested in.

Fulwell’s two main schools, both built in the late Victorian era, Fulwell Board and Redby, enjoyed a fierce rivalry, and both suffered during epidemics of measles and influenza. Norman and Sharon would love to hear memories from ex pupils of these schools, and also see old class photographs that could be incorporated into their book.

Norman told the Echo: “We have already received some wonderful photographs like the one of a family living in Annie Street half a century ago, and we hope that Fulwell folk will call in on Friday and bring along their old family snaps, so that we can copy and return them. This will help us to create an archive of Fulwell images, and also provide a valuable resource for our book.

“We will also record verbal histories and memories which we will include in our archives.

“My father was born in Lee Street, Fulwell, back in 1930, and my grandparents were Fulwell folk long before that. He and local historian, the late Dennis Bulmer were great friends, and it would be wonderful to produce a history of the village that they both loved.”

Sharon’s folks, the Vincent’s were also Fulwell people, so this is a labour of love.

Come along and share the history.