When Sunderland welcomed US president and American Civil War hero Ulysses S Grant

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Up to 16,000 people greeted him in Fawcett Street

Sunderland has hosted visits from many famous names.

But one of them even caused a campaign for Wearsiders to be given a holiday so they could meet him.

He arrived on a specially arranged train

It was Ulysses S Grant and he had not long finished his US presidency when he arrived in town in 1877 - 100 years before Jimmy Carter came to the North East.

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An excerpt from a Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette report on the preparations for the visit.An excerpt from a Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette report on the preparations for the visit.
An excerpt from a Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette report on the preparations for the visit. | ugc

He was known throughout the world as commanding general of the victorious Union forces in the American Civil War and for being a two-term president of the United States,

The gem of information from Sunderland’s past has been shared with us by historian Derek Holcroft.

The preparations which were made for Grant’s arrival were huge. Committees were set up to discuss the visit.

Members met in the Three Crowns Inn on High Street West to draw up the final details. There were recommendations that the day be observed as a public holiday.

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High Street West in the late 1800s.High Street West in the late 1800s.
High Street West in the late 1800s. | se

A band and a display of marching

On the day itself, President Grant arrived on a specially arranged train at Monkwearmouth Station.

Monkwearmouth Station where Ulysses S Grant received a huge welcome from Wearsiders in 1877.Monkwearmouth Station where Ulysses S Grant received a huge welcome from Wearsiders in 1877.
Monkwearmouth Station where Ulysses S Grant received a huge welcome from Wearsiders in 1877. | se

Hundreds of boys marched from the Wellesley training ship to meet the VIP visitor at the station, before heading a band in a procession along Bridge Street.

Grant then spent more than an hour at Hartley’s glass factory and was shown the full workings of the plant.

16,000 people waited to greet him

He moved on to a nearby park where a crowd of up to 16,000 people had gathered in an enclosed area between Fawcett Street and Frederick Street.

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A report in the Echo about the prospect of the day being declared a general holiday.A report in the Echo about the prospect of the day being declared a general holiday.
A report in the Echo about the prospect of the day being declared a general holiday. | ugc

They got to witness the foundation stone being laid for the building which later became Sunderland Museum.

Three hundred women were given seats in their own ladies gallery for the occasion and there was a reception at Victoria Hall.

Victoria Hall in 1938.Victoria Hall in 1938.
Victoria Hall in 1938.

So many great Sunderland stories

Our thanks to Derek for unearthing so much detail.

Why not follow some of his other fascinating reads including;

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