Butchers, drapers and shoe makers: The golden years of shopping in Crowtree Road
Of all the shopping streets in the city, perhaps Crowtree Road has seen the most radical changes.
Just about every conceivable type of shop has had premises there at some time during the twentieth century.
Philip Curtis from the Sunderland Antiquarian Society expertly guides us through the changes.
The keen Sunderland shopper could enjoy visits to a huge range of outlets in the 1930s.
There were household names such as Johnson’s the Tobacconist, Salmon’s gents outfitters, Berg Brothers and Wearside Furnishing.
You could browse around Tate’s electricals, Reynold’s Army Stores, and buy that Sunday roast at the three butchers shops which were Stiers, Gray’s and Jeffrey’s.
There was Styles Drapery, Moore’s Stores and Hodgson’s and if you needed a break from all that retail therapy, how about a trip to the theatre or some refreshments.
The street also boasted the King’s Theatre and Louis cafeteria.
In fact, this bustling area was so popular the trade even extended beyond Crowtree Road itself. At that time, part of the road and most of the adjoining Maritime Place were taken up by almshouses.
Few shops then existed in Maritime Place, and the long established Burnand’s shoe shop was the most prominent.
But change was coming and it brought a very different look.
“In the late 1950s, the almshouses were demolished and new shop units were built on the site,” said Philip.
For the stylish men amongst you, Greenwoods gents outfitters moved into the corner unit and they are still there today.
Other arrivals included Tate’s Electricals, Stylo shoes and Moore’s Store taking up the units in Crowtree Road.
Kennedy’s relocated from High Street West and occupied the large unit close to Blandford Street.
These made both Crowtree Road and Maritime Place very popular shopping centres and Lloyds Bank moved into premises opposite Kennedy’s.
Wearsiders will also recall the Red Radio Shop and Brechner’s both in Crowtree Road, the latter carrying on the old traditions of the arcade with a lot of stock out on the pavement in front of the shop.
Over the past half a century, most of the units in Maritime Place have changed hands but perhaps the most popular outlet there in the 1970s was the boutique,
There was Sgt Peppers, which always seemed to be packed with teenagers looking for the latest fashions.
Philip added: “For many years, Kennedy’s continued in the street but today this once great department store of the city no longer exists.
“All the old established shops in Crowtree Road were swept away with the building of a Leisure Centre and Bus Station and most of the road was eventually developed for inclusion in the extension to the Bridges Shopping mall.”
Which were your favourite stores and do you have your own Sunderland shopping memories?
Email [email protected]