Great pictures of Sunderland – and they’re almost 130 years old

A wonderful set of photographs – showing Wearside in the Victoria era – have been revealed.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:33 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 4:38 pm
These boys are getting ready to enjoy a swim.

These four shots are among a whole batch of images which have all been donated to the Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

We are indebted to society member Norman Kirtlan for sharing them with us and he is hoping Echo readers can help.

These strange looking contraptions on wheels may have been the predecessor to an ice cream van.

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Echo readers are asked for their help today in identifying some of the mystery.

Society Archiver, Norman explained: “A batch of photographs dating from 1898 was recently donated to us, and although most are of well-known locations, one or two are complete mysteries.

“One in particular that we need Echo readers to help with, shows a horse drawn tram, packed with passengers, being pulled along a cobbled road, surrounded by a number of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen.”

Norman added: “The house in the distance looks familiar, but as yet, no one can identify the location.”

Scenes of a horse-drawn tram passing a busy street.

Another mystery photograph shows two strange looking contraptions on wheels.

“One is possibly an ice cream vendor, with a group of children looking on,” said Norman.

“In the background is a fine dwelling house surrounded by metal fencing and covered in climbing roses.

“The third photograph that we need help with, shows boys enjoying a swim – some of them disrobing in front of the camera. Does anyone recognise the location?”

Norman Kirtlan.

If anyone can help with information concerning the photographs, contact Norman by emailing [email protected] or calling 0747 337 3339.

And to find out more about the Sunderland Antiquarian Society, visit the website at

Alternatively, people can get along to the society’s base in Douro Terrace. It is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 9.30am and noon.