The treasured heirlooms that Wearside people have kept for generations

We set you a challenge when we asked if you kept prized family posessions for generations.
Jacqueline Watson shows her prized possession.Jacqueline Watson shows her prized possession.
Jacqueline Watson shows her prized possession.

And, of course, Echo readers didn’t disappoint when they replied in typically huge numbers.

They got in touch to tell us of the cherished things they have kept in their families over the years.

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And it led to a list of items across Wearside which ranged from shawls to aprons – all used by successive generations of people.

It all started when we originally featured the story of Sunderland woman Hazel Oliver earlier this month.

The 79-year-old from Silksworth told us that she still had the veil and robe from her christening.

She told us how the veil and robe had remained in the family for more than seven decades in its original wrapping, and she even had the original receipt.

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And the 11 shillings and 10 pence outfit from Risdon’s is still in the same pristine condition as it was when she was christened in it at the Independent Methodist Church in Silksworth.

Both Hazel and her mum shopped at Risdon’s, which stood on the corner of John Street and High Street West, and it had a reputation for being the best shop in town for baby wear, as well as for prams and cots.

Hazel told us in the original story: “It had everything. You name it, Risdon’s had it.

“I got my son’s pram there as well.

But it got us thinking – who else would have items they had cherished and had kept in perfect condition.

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We posed the question on social media: Is this the oldest family heirloom in the area or do you know different?

Plenty of you got in touch.

Jacqueline Watson, from Harraton in Washington, was among the first to reply and hers was an equally impressive story.

She said: “I have in my possession the robe which my sister aged 82 was baptised in.

“It is even older than that as my sister thinks it was second hand. It is cream silk crepe and lace and all the family have been baptised in it.”

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That’s quite a list of ceremonies, as Jacqueline told us. “Since 1934, the robe has been used at least 11 times.”

But Jacqueline was certainly not alone in telling us more.

Our original social media posting reached more than 12,000 people.

Others to respond included the following.

Ann Keeble said: “I have a tray cloth I embroidered with a old fashioned lady on it which I did 65 years ago.”

She said people would put their own transfers on it which were all in a book which came with the original silks.

Lynn Lemon said: “I have my christening shawl. I am 65.”

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Since then, said Lynn, three siblings and her own three grandchildren have all used it. And she added: “Ready for next one.”

A similar posting came from Bernadette Gibson, who told us: “I have my Christening shawl too. Myself, two sisters, brother and my two daughters used it. It’s beautiful.”

Thank you too to Christine Carroll who said: “All of our family have used mine too.”

Christine added: “I have my christening shawl. I am 61 years old.”

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A posting from Paulandkelly Smith said: “My great nana cameo I have had it 35 years so God nos how long she had it before it got passed to me.”

Karen Johnson has another item which goes back more than five decades.

She said: “I have a tablecloth that my mum embroidered 53 years ago.”

Janet Scott Welsh said she had her “great grandmothers apron.”

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And Adeleine Stubbs told us: “My daughters Christening Shawl 55yrs old !”

Thank you, also, to the people who followed our posting on social media.

The huge list included Jules Forth, Joanne Stalker, Lauren Scott, Joanne Marie Willis, Carol Watt, and James McBeth.

We are indebted too to Lee Hargreave, Kellie Collin, Mary Noble, Wendy Newton, Ann Storey and Stephanie Johnson for their support.

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We would like to hear from more people willing to tell us about the items they have kept in their families for generations.

Perhaps there’s a trophy, a medal, a book which goes back centuries.

Or perhaps you would just like to share another aspect of your family history.

Get in touch and tell us more.