Local History Month 2019

Celebrate Sunderland's rich cultural heritage during Local History Month in May.

The programme of talks, walks, exhibitions and activities gives people the chance to find out more about the history of their communities and their city.

The biennial local history month has been organised by Sunderland City Council's Heritage Team and Sunderland Heritage Forum, to give people the opportunity to discover more about the city's fascinating cultural heritage.

Some of the highlights include the following:

  • Vaux Memories: Display of Vaux related memorabilia marking the 20th anniversary of the closure of Sunderland's world famous brewery
  • Magical Mystery Tour: Hop aboard a vintage bus for a trip around three of the city's heritage sites, and stop off to explore
  • Sunderland's First Female MP: Learn more about Dr Marion Philips who was elected as an MP in the first General Election in which women were allowed to vote and represented the city between 1929 and 1931   
  • Medieval Mayhem: Enjoy a free fun day at Hylton Castle with medieval themed activities for all the family to enjoy   
  • 'Victor Noble Rainbird': An illustrated talk about the brilliant Royal Academy prize winning artist whose promising career was ended by his experiences on the Western Front
  • Snippets of Sunderland's heritage: Join the Time Bandits in the Bridges Shopping Centre to discover some fascinating facts about the city's history and heritage     
  • Explore Edwardian Bishopwearmouth: free walking tour plus behind the scenes tour of the Sunderland Empire with a social appearance by a famous music hall star

Stuart Miller, Chair of Sunderland Heritage Forum, said: "Sunderland Local History Month has become a hugely popular event, and I hope even more people will get involved next month.

"Our city has a rich cultural heritage and fascinating history and this is a great opportunity to find out more, and get involved in events and activities designed to cater for a huge range of interests.

"We have community based activities such as guided walks through historic parts of the city, and regular library, city centre and museum based events for people to enjoy."    

Dave Young, who will be giving the talk and has researched Rainbird extensively, added: “One of the highlights will be discovering more about the life of local artist Victor Noble Rainbird, from a prize winning student to his time as a private soldier in the Great War and finally to his return to the North East and his decline and eventual death in Sunderland in 1936.

"We will examine some of his paintings, look at his influences as an artist and try to answer the question of why he ended up in a pauper’s grave in a story of great tragedy, lost opportunity and eventual rediscovery.

"If anyone who owns a painting by Victor Noble Rainbird would like to bring it along to the talk, there will be an opportunity afterwards to find out more about it in terms of its quality, originality and likely value.”

For full details and information look for the leaflet in libraries and other visitor attractions or click the attached PDF


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Sunderland is one of the few cities in the UK to have a river, beautiful coastline and two award winning beaches at Roker and Seaburn.


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