The wonderment of the Binns Christmas window

The wonder of the Christmas shop window brought back so many happy memories for Echo readers.

Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:41 am
The photograph that triggered thousands of words.

Joplings, Liverpool House, Joseph’s Toy and Sports Shop, and Blacketts were all wonderful places to go as the festive season approached.

We asked you to re-live those days in a post on social media and 55,000 of you - including expats from countries including Canada - saw the link which showed two women walking past the Binns display. Scores of you took the time to add your own comments and they were wonderful.

A queue for the Binns Christmas sale in 1977.

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Take Alf Littler, for instance, who said: “I remember being taken to see Santa Claus on a mystery sleigh ride, which was the lift, though I didn’t understand at the age of 4 or so. Anyway, he wasn’t much cop as we’ve only won the FA Cup once, since!”

Sadie Smithson remembered: “Yes when l was a child l used to go round all the department shops to view all the toys ,we were spoiled with choice.”

Claire Smith said: “My nana worked there! One year i remember them hiring a bus and we drove around throwing bags of sweets to crowds!”

Ricky Mussett told us: “I can remember Binns on both sides of the road, with spiral staircase and the tunnel. Christmas trees on the ledge outside. Used to be able to spend a whole day shopping in Sunderland as a kid.”

The window display from 1984.

Janice Hawkes added: “Wish we could bring those days back. binns and joplings windows were always fab. joplings always had a santas grotto ride down in the basement where the toy dept was. good memories as I used to work there.”

Others to comment included;

Jackie Roberts: “This brings back memories of living in the north east. My mum worked at Josephs toy store and my friends and I enjoyed going to Joplings and Binns.”

Carol Fulton: “Love it ! I worked at Binns in the cosmetics dept for Ultima 2 revlon thought I was the bees knees 40 years ago lovely times the town centre was always great to go too My mum Maureen Downey worked at Woolworths on the sweet counter when I was a child”

A queue for the Binns Christmas sale in 1977.

June Tipling: “I worked at Binns in the early 70s as a window dresser loved doing the Christmas Windows”

Elaine Mather: “i loved seen Santa at Joblins you would go on a ride see the elves and work shops then it would stop and you would get out and see Santa get your present ,which we could not open till Christmas eve.”

Sheila Anderson Swalwell: “My dad used to make the grotto every year and put the Xmas trees outside. Xx”

Julie Tasker “I worked on the Christmas window display in 1990”.

The window display from 1984.

Marian Roberts: “Dear old Binns. What a magnificent shop! Those were the days.”

Sam Murphy: “What wonderful memories I worked there and dressed those windows 1986-1992, such a shame it closed!”

Colin Branthwaite: “Those were the days when we had a town centre. And Fawcett Street was the centre of it all. Great image.”

Joan Marghani: “Loved the shops when they were decked out for christmas,especially the window displays.”

George Williamson: “A Sunderland Christmas tradition.”

Janette Proud: “You were posh if you bought in binns and ate in their restaurant.”

Evelyn Hudson: “Loved going to look at their windows at Christmas they did great displays.”

Chris Wilson: “Yea I remember the train and the grotto. It was a really magical time.”

Clare Craft: “Loved Binns - few relations worked there over the years. Special treat if we went to the cafe - Happy Days x”

Ruth Purvis: “This is a lovely pic when Christmas felt like Christmas in the days before everyone became gripped by consumerism x

Ann Riddell: “Used to love going across fawcett street using the tunnel. Brought you out at the deli i believe.”

Marie Dodds: “loved all the window displays but liverpool house was definately the best.”

Tracey Flynn Chalk: “Used to love the tunnel under the road and the spiral staircase.”

Alexa Williams: “I loved Josephs Toy and Sports shop.”

Pat Johnson: “I loved Binns. Ex pat.”

Gill Charlton: “I loved the Christmas rides in Binns and Joplings.”