Sunderland was once known as ‘the largest ship-building town in the world’ although there is little evidence of that today. What has survived, however, are some excellent pubs and we visited a couple of these in July 2018 when an old school friend of mine, Pete Thom, returned briefly to his native North East from his Spanish exile for a few bevvies.
We were joined by Malcolm Wood, Tommy Lee, Terry Smith, Ian Elves and Tony Doyle, all former Peterlee Grammar Technical School alumni.
I’ve always wanted to use that word.
287 High Street West, Sunderland SR1 3ES
Some very relaxed young lads; from the left, Tony, Malcolm, Tom, Pete, Ian and Terry.
This pub is still known to most people in Sunderland as The Londonderry, but in 2017 it reverted to its original name of The Peacock. Between 1779 and 1834 there was an inn known as The Peacock on this site and this was eventually renamed The Londonderry before being demolished. The present building was opened in 1901 and was named after The Marquess of Londonderry, a local landowner and coalfield owner.
Malcolm and Pete in The Dun Cow
Garden Place, High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3HA
This magnificent pub is only 2 minutes’ walk from The Peacock. Even less if you hurry.
The Dun Cow and Londonderry in 2012
The Dun Cow and The Peacock are located to the west of the city centre, an area of redevelopment. The old east end of the city and former heart of the old town are also showing signs of a revival
The River Wear with two sailing ships in 2018.
Ship building in the town can be traced back to 1346
The Boars Head
134 High Street East, Sunderland, SR1 2BL
The Boars Head was built in 1724, but when I took this photograph in 2012 it was closed and looked ripe for demolition. Fortunately, this fate was avoided, and the Boars Head is now open as a bistro, coffee shop and boutique hotel.
A revitalised Boars Head in 2018
Much of the old town disappeared over the years, but some buildings remain.
This blue plaque is on a side wall passageway next to The Clarendon. This friendly pub claims to be the oldest in Sunderland in continuous use since 1724. There is a tunnel in the cellar that used to lead down to the docks.
143 High Street East, East End, Sunderland SR1 2BL
The Clarendon in 2018 with a sign showing the date the pub first opened
A small sailing ship entering Sunderland harbour during the Tall Ships event in 2018