Pictures of old Sunderland go on show

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Sarah Stoner turns back time, thanks to these vintage views of Sunderland.

A FESTIVE trip down memory lane will be on offer to Wearsiders this weekend.

Roker Park pond around 1900.

Roker Park pond around 1900.

Sunderland Antiquarian Society is to host a Christmas Fayre on Saturday, featuring an exhibition of vintage views from Victorian and Edwardian times.

Hand-written SAFC match reports from the 1870s, a display of Sunderland Empire posters and maps of the town dating back 100 years will also be on show.

“Our fayre offers something for people of all ages, but especially those interested in Sunderland of yesteryear,” said Society president Douglas Smith.

“It will be a chance for visitors to take a look at what we have in our archives, as well as pick up some unique – and nostalgic – Christmas presents.”

The roots of Sunderland Antiquarian Society’s own history date to Victorian times, when plans to form a local historical group were first proposed.

Notice of a meeting to discuss the idea was sent out from the office of George W. Bain, of 46 John Street, on November 15, 1899.

But it was not until February 1, 1900, that the meeting was actually held - in the board room of the Industrial and Provident Society.

“Sunderland Antiquarian Society was formed on that day, with Dr Thomas Randell, Rector of Sunderland, appointed as its president,” said Douglas.

“The main objective then, and still is today, was to catalogue Sunderland’s history. Today it is oldest society in the city after the Law Society.”

Generations of volunteers have devoted their time to documenting prominent dates, places and people, building an archive of rare - and unique - material.

The minutes of the society, complete from 1900, also show that members have always ‘done their utmost’ to preserve the city’s historic buildings too.

Among the group’s successes over the years can be counted the saving of Hylton Castle, Washington Old Hall and the old alms houses at Trafalgar Square.

“Many, many wonderful treasures have been collected by our members since 1899 as well – and the fayre will give people a chance to take a look,” added Douglas.

“We would also welcome donations of anything from a single photo to books, documents or glass slide collections. We want to save our past for the future.”

In addition to the exhibition of vintage views, as well as a football memorabilia display, a host of Christmas gifts will also be on sale during the event.

Local history books, CDs packed with nostalgic shop photos and DVDs featuring archive film footage of by-gone Sunderland will be among the items on offer.

“Visitors will be able to enjoy a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and pick up some amazing Christmas presents as well,” said society secretary Philip Curtis.

l The Christmas Fayre will be held at 6 Douro Terrace, just up from the Civic Centre, on December 6 from 10am to 3pm. Admission £1, included free mulled wine and mince pie.