Famous Germany sign returns to Sunderland seafront after theft

Claire Hafferty is pleased to see the return of the "to Germany" sign outside the Bungalow Cafe, Roker.
Claire Hafferty is pleased to see the return of the "to Germany" sign outside the Bungalow Cafe, Roker.
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A PIECE of Sunderland heritage has returned to the city’s coastline.

The sign pointing to Germany, which may date back more than 90 years, was vandalised by yobs last year – much to the dismay of many locals and tourists.

Council bosses replaced the original battered white sign with a new black and gold post, but it was missing the German pointer.

But now the sign is back – and more accurate than ever before.

The council has worked with Sunderland RNLI to provide a new sign, which specifically points towards the mouth of the River Elbe, on the German coast.

Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for culture, said: “The sign has been there for over 90 years and has become a landmark with people, so we’re more than happy that it’s back there.

“It’s really important that it is there, and people have obviously shown an interest to have it back.

“It was always part of the regeneration plans to have it back, but unlike a village sign, which you can buy off the shelf, we needed to have the Germany sign made specially.”

No one knows for sure why the sign, outside the Bungalow Cafe in Roker, was first put in place.

Some Wearsiders believe the cafe, which could date back to 1910, was once used as a watchhouse, helping guard the coastline during the First World War.

Others remember a pair of binoculars next to the sign, which you paid an old penny to use. It was said that on a clear day you could see Germany.

Claire Hafferty, head chef at the Bunglalow Cafe, said: “We are over the moon it’s back – everybody is.

“People have been asking when it’s coming back because they are wanting to come and see it.”

The unusual landmark has become popular with tourists and people completing the Coast 2 Coast cycle ride from Whitehaven, and there were even calls last year for a petition to see pointer reinstated.

Sunderland RNLI’s senior helmsman, Paul Nicholson, said: “We were asked by the council if we could offer some support to provide the direction for the sign to go back to Germany.

“It gave our volunteers an additional purpose to their training – to use the equipment we’ve got on the boat to provide an accurate point for the sign.”

The new sign is part of A£5million regeneration scheme, to revamp the city’s seafront.

Twitter: @SunEchoSteven