Mystery Monday returns: Can you help with these pictures of old Sunderland?

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WEARSIDE Echoes readers are invited to take a step back in time – and help solve the riddles behind this new collection of old mystery snaps.

“This is the latest selection I’ve unearthed from the Echo’s glass plate collection - most of which haven’t seen the light of days for years,” said archivist Susan Swinney.

MYSTERY: The original caption for this reads "New Army  (AA)  PT display  October 1943".

MYSTERY: The original caption for this reads "New Army (AA) PT display October 1943".

“Sadly, only a few have any relevant details attached to them.

“If people recognise a mystery place, or can put names to faces, I’d like to add the details to our archive.”

Among today’s collection are photos of Ashbrooke Hall – later Corby Hall - in 1933 and a 1930s shot of a thriving Bridge Street – possibly taken from the window of the old Echo office.

Also featured are members of the Air Training Corps marching past the Town Hall in 1942, Austin’s Pontoon in 1939 and an explosive exhibit at Sunderland Art Gallery in 1942.

“All these photographs are from the first of several dozen drawers of old glass negatives, and you just never know what you are going to come across,” said Susan.

“So far the drawer appears crammed with World War Two images - depicting home front scenes that may never have been published due to strict wartime censorship.”

Other photos featured include Wearside’s wartime firefighters, chefs on parade and an Australian lumberjack chopping a log - in just his socks – at a mystery football ground.

A group of mystery soldiers, as well as a military dinner, a festively bedecked military store, a cadet marching band and some Australian cricketers are also pictured.

“I’m planning to methodically search and scan every photo in every drawer, as it is a great way of preserving our archives for the future - but it’s great fun too,” said Susan.

“In addition to the wartime scenes, there are photos of people, places, ship launches, Royal visits and street scenes – all dating back decades and absolutely fascinating.”

l Do you have information to share on any of the images? Email

l Sunderland Antiquarian Society will host a talk on The Williamsons of Whitburn, by John Yearnshire, on February 17 at St George’s United Reformed Church in Stockton Road. Talk starts at 7.30pm.