The Sunderland streets which got their names from the people who lived there
There are streets in Sunderland which were actually named by the people who lived there.
And if you were one of the first residents to move into a block of terraced houses in the Fulwell area, chances were you would get the same privilege.
Today, with the invaluable help of the Sunderland Antiquarian Society, we look back at Sea Road.
We focus on some of the shops which developed there and how it became a flourishing area with a wide choice of outlets for the keen customer.
When Mr. J.W. Stores founded his grocery business at the corner of Sea Road, he was given some interesting advice.
Mr Stores was all set to get the grocers up and running opposite the Blue Bell Hotel in 1901.
But it happened with the message from locals ringing loud in his ears.
He was told that he was mad to go to Fulwell as there was nothing at all there. And he wasnt the only one to be advised that way.
Mr Joseph Kilner, who opened a similar shop farther down the road, apparently received the same ‘encouragement’.
But it wouldn’t stop the area’s entrepreneurs proving everyone wrong. The two grocers, along with Lynas, the newsagent and Cowling, the butcher, were the first shopkeepers in Sea Road.
Yet when recalling Fulwell of the 1900s, Mrs Stores stated that Sea Road was nothing more than a country track at that and that there was no hint that the street would eventually become a prosperous shopping centre.
Indeed during the late 1890s Sea Road had been dubbed the ‘debtors retreat’ because it was out in the wilds. It was a place where one could hide for a few days without risk of detection.
The first occupants of Sea Road chose the names of the blocks of terraced houses in the street. The first tenant in each block thought of a suitable name, with Sea View Road being Mr Stores’ idea.
The blocks included Marsden, Catherine and Leslie Terraces.
Many of the original shops in Sea Road were only converted front rooms of dwellinghouses but, as the 20th century progressed, so changes gradually took place with new buildings emerging.
Eventually the road could boast four banks as well as a cinema, post office, a Co-op store, six butchers and numerous confectioners.
Perhaps the most well-known building to exist in Sea Road was The Marina Cinema which was opened on July 31, 1935.
In its heyday it was extremely popular as it had double seats in the back row for the use of courting couples.
Mr Stores’ shop is no more. The site is now occupied by a DIY store.
* The Sunderland Antiquarian Society’s next meeting will be held in St George’s United Reformed Church, in Stockton Road.
It will be held on Tuesday, May 17, and the meeting will start at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7pm.
After the annual meeting, rare moving archive films of the old town will be shown.