When Sandie Shaw came to the Sunderland cooker factory

Scouts from San Street Mission on Bob a Job.
Scouts from San Street Mission on Bob a Job.
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From James Bolam to Bob A Job Week.

From Sandie Shaw to Colin Suggett.

Sandie Shaw.

Sandie Shaw.

They were all names who played a part in shaping the Sunderland we knew and loved in the 1960s.

And they are all highlighted in the new book Sunderland in the Sixties Revisited.

It has been written by Alan Brett and Philip Curtis, and is the latest book from Black Cat Publications.

They have shared it with us.

Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw and Lulu were always welcome visitors in the 1960s. Not only did they play venues like the Empire, Wetherells and the La Strada but made personal appearances at Autumn Fayres and even an electric oven factory.

Philip Curtis

Everyone has heard of pop queens such as Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw and Lulu.

They were always welcome visitors to Wearside in the 1960s and they were not averse in playing their part in local life, away from the big stage.

Not only did they play venues like the Empire, Wetherells and the La Strada but made personal appearances at autumn fayres and even an electric oven factory.

It was Dusty Springfield who got involved in the community spirit when she paid a visit to Hetton Lyons Boys’ Club’s autumn fair.

Peter O'Brien.

Peter O'Brien.

Sandie Shaw, meanwhile, was a very welcome visitor at the electric cooker factory in 1967.

These stories and many more are featured in Sunderland in the Sixties Revisited.

The celebrities of the era certainly shaped city life.

When wrestler Billy Two Rivers appeared on television, his Mohican hair cut was copied by a number of Sunderland men in 1960.

One of them was Arthur Atkinson thought his Mohican might help him in his job as a door-to-door salesman.

Instead of having the door closed on him Arthur wanted them to stop and stare instead of saying: “Not today, thank you.”

On television, the decade began with the launch of the hit soap Coronation Street which is still watched by millions today.

Hughie Green’s Double Your Money was such a favourite that he brought the show to the Empire for a week’s run in February 1962.

Sunderland’s James Bolam became a household name after starring in The Likely Lads.

Other entertainment on offer in 1960s Sunderland included bingo (which was held in churches, former theatres and even via radio), ten pin bowling and, despite cinema closures, going to the pictures.

Then there was the sporting entertainment.

Following the fortunes of Sunderland Football Club was another of the favourite pastimes.

Crowds at Roker Park cheered on favourites such as Nicky Sharkey and Johnny Crossan as promotion to the First Division was gained in 1964.

‘Slim Jim’ Baxter, Bobby Kerr and Colin Suggett then helped retain the club’s top flight status for the remainder of the decade.

Other locals made their own mark on the world.

They included Monkwearmouth shopkeeper Kitty Cunningham, musician Alan Price, broadcaster Kate Adie and comedian and charity fund-raiser Bobby Knoxall who are all among the other personalities to be featured in Sunderland in the Sixties Revisited.

The book, which is a follow up to Sunderland in the Swinging Sixties, also looks at Bob-a-Job Week which traditionally began in Sunderland with the cleaning of the Mayor’s car.

Who remembers scouts from Sans Street Mission carrying out the task?

It also looks at employment in the city in the 1960s. This was the era in which the River Wear’s shipyards built everything from luxury yachts and barges to giant oil tankers and bulk carriers.

But the 1960s also included the leisure side of Sunderland and it certainly prospered. Bargain hunting was a rising trend.

As well as famous department stores such as Blacketts and Binns, many will recall the elephant hide that stood outside Behrman’s shop.

Sunderland even had its own version of Billy Elliot in the early 1960s.

Thirteen-year-old Peter O’Brien from Grangetown was studying ballet at this time and, against all the odds, eventually became principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.

Sunderland in the Sixties Revisited is available from Waterstone’s, Sunderland Museum, Sunderland Antiquarian Society and by visiting the website at www.summerhillbooks.co.uk.

The book is available at £4.99.