Sunderland ~ November 2017

Sophie lives in Sunderland and had spotted the signs for the Diwali Festival so we decided that would be a cool thing to attend with our cameras. We knew parking would be a bit of a nightmare so we  walked to the Festival which was being held at the National Glass Centre. Of course I took pictures along the way, so before we get to the festival, this post will be of our walk on the way.

The old Fire Station on Station Road West is a wonderful Edwardian building, with immense heritage value and importance. It has lain derelict for 22 years but has now been redeveloped, The Engine Room is a ground floor bar and bistro that forms part of The Fire Station. It retains many of the original features, including the names on the tiles of former firefighters at the old station.

The Sunderland Empire Theatre is a large theatre venue located in High Street West, it is one of the largest venues in the North East. It was opened on 1 July 1907 and the dome on the 90 ft tower featured a revolving sphere bearing the statue of Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of dance and choral song. The Empire Theatre’s immediate neighbour to the east is the lovely green copper-domed tower of the beautiful Dun Cow public house, its tower perfectly complementing the tower of the theatre. In County Durham a Dun Cow was a dun-coloured (greyish) cow, strongly linked to legendary connections with St Cuthbert and the foundation of Durham.

We crossed The Wear Bridge, not as pretty as the Tyne Bridge.

We love churches so popped in to Sunderland Minster, formerly St Michael and All Angels Bishopwearmouth. It was first built around 900AD but due to many alterations little remains of the earlier constructions.

We were accosted by priests who were lovely and pleased for us to take photo’s,  one chap followed us around and told us bits and pieces of the history, though it did feel like he was checking we weren’t stealing the silver!

The Stained Glass Window depicting Christ in Glory contains the words of the Creed, the Borough of Sunderland coat of arms, St Michael slaying the dragon and the historical figure of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra and patron saint of sailors. The window was designed in 1950 to replace one damaged by enemy action during World War II.


I was quite fascinated by the list of Rectors from the past, especially of Aymer de Lusignan who was Rector here in 1252. Aymer de Lusignan was the half-brother of Henry III of England.He was the son of Hugues (X), count of La Marche, and his wife, Isabella of Angoulême, widow of King John. Aymer was born around 1228 in Poitou, probably at Valence, near Angoulême, and had three elder brothers, Guy, Geoffrey and William de Lusignan. He had been promised the lordship of Couhé in 1242 and in June 1246 was presented to the church of Tisbury in Wiltshire and by the following summer was residing in England with his brothers. Other benefices which he received included Wearmouth and Chester-le-Street in the diocese of Durham, Kirkham (Lancashire), Blakeney (Norfolk), Deddington (Oxfordshire) and St Helen (Abingdon) and the prebends of Holme (York Minster) and Oxgate (St Paul’s, London). Aymer was said to be a very ignorant and vicious man who was able to gain positions in the Church through his relatives.

There’s a link HERE to information on many of those early names.

The south transept houses the tomb of Thomas Middleton of Silksworth, which is now in poor condition. It depicts a knight with crossed hands, a sword by his side and his feet resting on a lion.


We also came across St.Peters which is the twin to St.Pauls from my previous post.  Home of the Venerable Bede in the 7th century AD, part of the Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, St. Peter’s was built on land given by King Ecgfrith to St. Benedict Biscop in 673 AD. It is the earlier of the twin site to come to life, and in the church can be seen the original carved stone within a reconstruction of the abbot’s seat among many artifacts uncovered during the 1960’s archaeological excavation, though it wasn’t open so we’ll be going back to see that at some point.

Sunderland haas recently had a new city square, called keel Square. It has an art installation called Propellers of the City, which has named pictures of people who worked in the ship building industry incorporated into it, sent in by locals. British sculptor Stephen Broadbent was commissioned by the city council to create the artwork, which celebrates the city’s industrial heritage.

Sophie and I had a go at turning it, like a ships wheel, but it was hard work!

The square also has new water features

Then we went under an underpass to get to the venue for the Festival.  There we found it doesn’t matter how pretty you make somewhere when this hits you in the face,

Ice Cream? Gateaux? Rice Pudding?


and I sighed as all the culture, old and new, that I’d been soaking up, was wiped away by bigotry, ignorance and bad spelling.  But that’s Sunderland for you. 🙄

Stay tooned for next time when we get to the Festival!




47 thoughts on “Sunderland ~ November 2017

  1. That grey building next to the wheel thingy. I went to a restaurant above that, I’m sure, when my stepson was at Sunderland University. No wheel there then, or water feature of course. That graffiti is sad enough to read, and the spelling mistake certainly does show the mentality of the person who wrote it.
    Really nice shots here, FR, all first-rate indeed. And you haven’t even got to the festival yet!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another wonderful post. I loved that old firestation. It’s so cool that they actually have retailed some of the features 😀
    I also loved that picture of the tomb that unfortunately has fallen in a bit of disrepair. On the other hand it also suits it somehow.
    Real shame about that very stupid and ignorant graffiti though 😢😢

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Fraggle, this looks like a lovely spot I’d love to see in person — though your pictures do it wonderful justice! Sunderland Minster was just lovely. I love old churches, too, but can relate to feeling somewhat self-conscious taking pictures in them! And that graffiti about Muslims… So sad! But your caption was perfect. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m looking forward to the pictures of the Diwali Festival – though the Sunderland Minster photos are fascinating. I am intrigued by the list of rectors (I particularly like the “intruders” – I like the idea of my name being carved in stone with just such a comment about my status.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Somehow I missed this post, but I’m so glad I found it, Fraggle. LOL re the spelling. Personally, I’m desperate to go back to the dessert (chocolate perhaps?) or the desert (southwest anyhow).
    Seriously what lovely buildings. I so want to see inside the Sunderland Empire Theatre! Off to Google that. And the stained glass windows are breathtaking. Huge hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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