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Looking back on Sunderland’s newest nightspot in 1990

A look inside Strutts nightspot in 1990. Does this bring back memories.
A look inside Strutts nightspot in 1990. Does this bring back memories.
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A little under 30 years ago, a Sunderland nightspot was undergoing a transformation.

Who remembers Strutts? Which came onto the scene in 1990 in Victoria’s – described in the Echo at the time as “Sunderland’s original fun pub”.

A view of Strutts from the outside.

A view of Strutts from the outside.

It was a complete refurbishment of the Victoria Buildings for which the foundation stone was first laid in 1887.

Our reporter described the change as having “transformed it into a completely new leisure environment”.

It came complete with a new state-of-the-art sound and light system and a video wall, which was thought to be the best in the region at the time.

It had 25 monitors supported by a further 19 with computer controlled functions.

A great place to meet and socialise.

A great place to meet and socialise.

All this was spread over two floors and our reporter said it would “leave your senses so shocked you will want to stay all night”.

Strutts was noticeable for its grey, black and red design, a centralised dance area and a DJ who played all the latest tunes as well as favourites on request.

It was a great new addition to the scene, but what else was happening in Sunderland in 1990?

Let’s take a further look.

You could enjoy country and western nights at St Peter’s Wharf cellar bar with Les and Lorraine, or have a go at the Sunday afternoon pool and domino handicaps at The Hycroft.

The Dagmar had its own domino handicap with £50 added and Sunday night was disco and cabaret night featuring Ritzy Lady.

Over at Cheers Club in High Street, there was live entertainment for a £1 admission charge.

And at Steels Social Club, the live acts came thick and fast including Bob Gray and the Express Duo, The Pictures, Dynamite Daze and The Tom Wolfe Duo.

Alfie Jay, Project and The Whole Caboodle were all on at the Red House Workmen’s Club, and what about having a go at the latest craze. Japanese karaoke had arrived at Idols in High Street West.

The Puffin Billy Motel – at Ocean Park in Whitburn Road, Seaburn – was encouraging people to dig out their old gear and enjoy the sounds of the ’50s and ’60s. Did you get along?

Perhaps you preferred some big screen entertainment. There were plenty of choices at cinemas in the area..

Uncle Buck, starring John Candy, was on at the Cannon and so was She Devil which starred Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.

The Studio was showing Nuns On The Run with Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane, and Washington Fairworld had Look Who’s Talking on the bill.

There was always the option of stopping at home and watching the box.

If you did, Ursula Andress was one of the guests on Wogan, while the latest ‘Allo ‘Allo episode was all about Leclerc being accused of stealing Gestapo money.

For children, there was Newsround, Round The Twist and Eyespy all on BBC 1.

But this was a summer of sport.

And if you were a football fan, it was a year to remember for England fans as the World Cup arrived in Italy, complete with Nessun Dorma. Des Lynam was leading the way for the BBC coverage for games including England against Holland in Cagliari.

Tyne Tees offerings included Surgical Spirit, Island Sun starring Richard Chamberlain and the 64,000 Dollar Question hosted by Bob Monkhouse.

And on Channel 4, there was Fifteen To One, I Love Lucy, Cheers, Roseanne and Vic Reeves Big Night Out.

On the radio, there was Mark Goodier, Mike Read and John Peel playing the hits on Radio 1, and Dance Band Days and Big Band Special on Radio 2.

Or perhaps a night at the races was in order.

In 1990, the Sunderland Greyhound Stadium re-opened after a £1million investment “making the stadium a premier venue”, said the Echo at the time.

The revamp included £100,000 spent on the track, new kennels to house 130 dogs, a smart new frontage and plush interior.

The opening night promised to be an impressive occasion with Ravage Again, one of the country’s top sprinters, lined up to race. It was a grand re-opening after a refurbishment programme lasting more than a year.

We would love your memories on Strutts, World Cup 1990 and more. Did you watch as Gazza, Lineker and the lads fought all the way to the semi-finals?

Get in touch. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk