KATIE BULMER-COOKE: A wander down memory lane

A picture from 1944 of the Donnison School
A picture from 1944 of the Donnison School
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I’ve had a little wander down memory lane this week, firstly thanks to a lovely gentleman who popped into my pop up shop last week.

We got chatting and he started to tell me about a Sunderland-based project that he volunteers at called The Donnison School, a school dating back to the 18th century, that with a lot of hard work, kind donations and volunteer help, has been restored to it’s former glory.

As we chatted a little more the gentleman told me that the school was based in Hendon and had a huge library of old photographs of the Hendon area and wider Sunderland.

So this week me and my dad headed down to the school to take a look, and as our family roots are in the East End, we were keen to look at the old photographs.

It was the hardest place ever to find as it’s tucked away behind the church but it was well worth searching for. It’s a total hidden gem, packed with local history and extremely friendly volunteers who are more than happy to give you a look around and share their wealth of local knowledge.

There is so much to see, from an old school room and amazing photograph collection to a walled fruit and flower garden and old war shelter.

For something so good I can’t believe more people don’t know about it. The school has a big calendar of events packed with everything fromVictorian style afternoon tea to historical talks. It’s certainly worth a visit.

Now the nostalgia didn’t end there this week as I was also given the opportunity to listen to the first draft recording of a brilliant song, written and perfomed by Sunderland’s own Glenn Miller, entitled ‘Santa Lived At John Street.’

The ex-Joplings employee recounts in the song, the festive spirit in the store at Christmas time and how magical it was. The song is lovely and now Glenn is going to be collaborating with East Herrington Primary School to record the song, so make sure you keep an eye and an ear our for the official track!

There’s nothing better than a trip down memory lane, especially in Sunderland, and the events of this week have certainly had me reminiscing.

I remember the old bus station, and my grandma taking me into Bookless (the fruit and veg shop) in the Bridges to get a bunch of grapes to eat on the bus ride home.

I also used to love going to the old museum next to The Winter Gardens and looking at all the stuffed animals with my dad most saturdays, it’s amazing that I never got bored of looking at the same things over and over again.

These are just little things that I used to do when I was a kid, but they are special memories. Why not share your favourite old Sunderland memories by tweeting me (@KatieBulmer1) and the Echo (@SunderlandEcho) and let’s all get nostalgic together!