I fondly remember my late mother telling me tales of when she would pop down to Seaburn to catch the air and wander around the much-missed fairground with its Big Dipper (I recollect the Echo article on when the crash occurred killing two people), the Dodgems and the one-legged local chap that would dive into a vat of burning water.
My late father, who lived up the road at Fulwell, told me of a one-legged window cleaner and a one-armed lamp-lighter in the area but that is by the by as I was on about the fairground.
The main ‘attraction’ was a headless woman in one of the tents kept alive artificially by accompanying machines and I was a bit suspect at the time but I believed my mother as she was well brought up being an Eastender and would not lie.
Subsequently, I indeed found proof of this lady’s existence in a somewhat strange place, there was her photograph and she was indeed festooned with tubes and wires to keep her alive, should you wish to see her photograph I suggest you purchase a copy of the Rolling Stone’s LP ‘Exile On Main Street’ and the photograph of said lady is on the bottom right-hand side on the inner cover.
Nowadays it is a different kettle of fish down Seaburn.
The fair is long gone along with the railway, the boating pool, the putt-putt, Seaburn Zoo and the myriad of kiosks along the front of the fairground that sold anything from your future from the Fortune Teller to the obligatory candy floss and fish and chips.
Recently, I went to see what we are getting for our £5million and I was suitably disappointed to find out that the fish and chip kiosk on the promenade in front of the lost and found shelter had also been pulled down, yet another old bit of Sunderland gone forever.
However, after a more recent visit to look at the ‘progress’, to my horror I found that even the lost children’s shelter, with its accompanying toilets, of course, is now a restaurant, so where will we go to find our wandering children now I wonder?
Alan ‘The Quill’ Vincent