From kerby to days at the disco - great times in Sunderland's East End

Ask Ann Mary Jackson about her time in the east end of Sunderland and it will bring back many happy memories.

Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 10:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 11:51 am
East Enders having fun.

It seems we struck a chord when we published our first article on the topic last week.

We appealed for memories of the area after Julie Ornsby set up a Facebook site to share memories of her days of living at The Garths in Sunderland.

The top balcony on the way to Crowtree.

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She invited others to post their own recollections and soon after she formed The Garths and East End of Sunderland site, 440 people had joined it.

Not long after, fellow Facebook site member Ann got in touch with her own personal and wonderful memories of the area.

It covered everything from the fantastic places she used to visit to the mischievous antics she got up to in her younger days.

They are all reminders of a time gone by - and one which we would love other people to share with us.

The Garths in Sunderland.

Ann said: “When I was young, me and my mam Muriel uses to have a jumble sale outside St Patrick’s Garth.

“People used to walk down Coronation Street and come and buy things from us.”

There were other ways to have fun as well, including the mobile toy service which came round.

“There was a bus which used to stop outside St Patrick’s Garth. It had toys on and games and drawing, and there used to be a library bus we could could borrow a book off.”

The top balcony on the way to Crowtree.

A picture was emerging of a neighbourhood with lots of things to do and it did not end there. The cultural side of Ann emerged in her recollections.

She added: “Just up past Covent Gardens, there was a building called The Art Place. We used to go in there and watch people do art, and asked to help. I loved it there.”

Like most people, Ann loved to dance and she remembered: “If we got too bored, we went to the Catholic Club. You could go in there and they had a disco.”

She remembered that Tommy Hair had the disco but sadly, “he passed away too young,” said Ann.

The Garths in Sunderland.

And if none of that took her fancy, there was always a game of kerby which didn’t need anything but a local street.

“There were two people one on one side of the road and one on the other side and you would see who could hit the kerb with the ball.”

Ann’s days of summer often took her to St Patrick’s Garth which has a special place in her heart.

“St Patrick’s was one of the best garths. It had a play park in,” she remembered.

“We used to climb on the Garths roof in the summer and sunbathe on the top when we had warm weather.”

She remembered how she and one of her friends sometimes sat on the top of the Eastenders pub with a purse on thread and “lie it down on the floor.

“When someone tried to pick it up, we would pull it up onto the roof so they couldn’t get it.

“We used to laugh our heads off,” said Ann.

Another prank was to “tie rope to someone’s door to the veranda so it was tight, knock on the door and run away.

“They couldn’t get out the house unless they climbed out the window.”

Ann had loads of memories of her times in the East End and there are lots more to be found by visiting the Facebook site at The Garths and East End of Sunderland.

It is a treasure trove of photographs, comments from the people who live there and a chance to put forward your own recollections and images.

Happy times and we hope even more people will come forward with memories of the East End.

Did you have links to the Garths of Wear, St Patrick’s, Walton, High and Burley or Covent Gardens

Are there people from your times at the Garths you would like to get back in touch with.

Why not put in appeal in Wearside Echoes, or just share your memories of times gone by.

Now, members can enjoy photos, memories and much more of the Garths and the east end. To find out more about it, visit the Facebook page at and submit a request to join.

But why not get in touch with us as well.

We would love to hear your memories. Email [email protected]

Alternatively, you can also give Chris a call on (0191) 5017473 and tell him all about the Garths and East End of Sunderland.