Lockets, prams and Fireball XL5 puppets - you got it all at Palmer’s Arcade in Sunderland

Palmers Arcade  pictured in 1970.
Palmers Arcade pictured in 1970.
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Prams, lockets and your first Beatles record - you got it all in Palmers Arcade.

Yes, it was leaky and was eventually demolished, but that didn’t stop thousands of you from reflecting on the little Sunderland shopping arcade which was eventually demolished but was a definite hit.

Joplings pictured in John Street in June 1962.

Joplings pictured in John Street in June 1962.

We wanted your memories of it and, as always, you didn’t disappoint. Nearly 40,000 of you were reached when we posted a photograph of it on social media. But which were the shops you recalled?

Graeme Harle said: “As a young lad, going into Willie Watson’s to buy football gear was just magical.”

Beryl Smith was another to respond and said: “I worked in Smiths Ltd. Furniture store in the High Street. 1958 - 1962. Bought my records in the Arcade. I haven’t been back to Sunderland since 1965.”

Stephen Mckenna remembered “walking through and the smell of the leather” while Derek Miller got his first bike from Palmers “as a reward for passing my 11+”.

My Gran would go into that tobaconist for her snuff and buy Frys chocolate gingers and Frys Parisian Creams on high days and holidays

June Wake

Norma Meehan remembered Lermans toy shop and Anthony Frazer said: “Got my train sets from there .and football gear from willie watsons shop.”

Thanks also to Janice Siddall who said: “Got my first transistor radio there” and to Sheila Jameson who “bought a push chair at Palmers.”

Johnny Mustard asked: “Did Davy Miller have his gun shop there.” Can anyone provide the answer?

Monica Warnaby remembered visiting “Liverpool House then Palmer’s and Joplings.good days.”

Liverpool House.

Liverpool House.

Jim Nesbitt praised the “excellent guitars” at Palmers music shop while Moya Brown said: “This is the best ‘Blast from the past’ ever!! So many memories for so many people!!”

Sandra Colvin was one of many who remembered working in the arcade and said: “I worked in Hugh Mitchells shoe shop just at the entrance loved it x.”

And still the memories kept on coming with Billy Morrison telling us: “Got my first fishing rod from players tackle shop near the high street end.”

Nana Gina said: “I worked there. Did the toy and tent deliveries driving a transit van. Silver Cross prams for Xmas. Worked the the Store with Mr Black and Mrs Clark. 1965 good times.”

Craig Mitchell commented: “My Mam worked in Palmers as her first job after leaving school” and Joan Glendenning said: “Brown’s the photographer did our wedding photos 50 years ago!”

Lynn Johnson certainly turned back the clock when she remembered getting Fireball XL 5 puppets.

Anthony Blacker said: “I remember former Sunderland footballer Willie Watson had a sports shop in the arcade” and Arline Westgarth said: “Used to love going to Palmers with pocket money to buy Lego x.”

Steven Knaggs outlined how he used to spend a great weekend in times gone by.

“A typical Saturday started with pictures at the Odeon then to The Arcade and drool over bikes and crossbows on show in the shop window. Then go and snatch a handful of sweets from Woolworths Pick n mix on the way to see the tropical fish at The Fishbowl. Those neon fish were amazing.”

Sharon Carney remembered: “Maynards sweet shop. And my first Teddy came from the Pram Shop 55 years ago.”

Maureen Herron said: “Got my engagement ring from reeds the jewellers in 1963” and Dorothy Stewart bought her daughter’s first three wheeler there.

Alan Quinn told us: “Used to go to the tobacconist shop to buy my Granddad a twist of pipe tobacco for his birthday it used to cost 3d.”

And David Arthur Ratcliffe said: ““Palmer’s Prams”. a good wool shop as well as other good shops.Gosh.”

Carol Long said she still has a gold locket from the jewellers in the arcade in early seventies.

Susan Gent said: “They used to have a massive teddy in the window which of corse i wanted and there was a tobaconist at the end where ee used to get my nanas snuff.”

June Wake commented: “My Gran would go into that tobaconist for her snuff and buy Frys chocolate gingers and Frys Parisian Creams on high days and holidays.”

There were so many of you who responded, we may well return to Palmers soon - especially if you have more memories and photographs of it that you would like to share.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.