Wednesday, June 2, 2010

20th May 2010

Last night Milo came home from school all in a tizzy..... he said that tomorrow his teachers friend was coming into school to sing some songs for them and he was in a band. It bugged him for a while because he couldn't remember the bands name and then it hit ,,,,,, his teachers friend was in a band called The Futureheads !!!!

I had a little chat with said teacher and she very kindly took a couple of pics of Milo and Stamps with Barry the lead singer .

The Futureheads do come from Sunderland and are possibly the second biggest thing to hail from here -- the first being Pyrex glassware ..

A big thank you to Miss A and to Barry .

17th May 2010

Continuing on from my last post I thought we'd keep with the theme of Sunderlands history - well a bit of it anyway , for the next couple of posts.

Sunderland has been building ships since at least 1346 and was once proclaimed to be “the greatest shipbuilding port in the world” . By 1840 there were 76 yards. During 1846-54 Wearside produced almost one-third of all ships built in the UK. The last wooden ship was built in 1880, and the last sailing ship in 1893. In the 1880s, steel replaced iron and cargo ships and tankers were the main type of vessel built in Sunderland. Many of these cargo ships and tankers were produced for overseas customers and during 1888-1913 around 22% of the ships built on the Wear each year were made for export.

The 20th century saw many changes to shipbuilding on the Wear. During the two World Wars, Sunderland’s main work was in the production of cargo ships to keep supply lines open and replace those ships lost at sea, although it also undertook a great deal of naval construction and repair work. Demand was so great that women were employed in the yards for the first time. In 1914-18 there were just 16 shipyards on the Wear: a result of the change to iron and then steel construction. In 1939 there were only 8 yards.

After the war, Sunderland continued to lead the way in shipbuilding however production increased worldwide and it became more difficult for British yards to compete. Throughout the 1950s and 60s more yards closed or merged. In 1977, the shipbuilding industry was nationalised and substantial job losses followed. In 1978, 7535 people worked in the yards: by 1984 this was reduced to 4337. The two remaining shipyard groups merged in 1980 but, despite strong opposition, Sunderland’s last remaining yards were closed on 7 December 1988.

Today the river is quiet in comparison but there are several statues and monuments which commemorate our shibuilding history.

Giant nuts and bolts are scattered along the St Peters walkway.

The metamorphosis of a shipyard crane into a steel tree stands on the base of a former crane with its giant shadow captured in the paving stretching towards the mouth of the River Wear.

I've probably battered your heads now with that history lesson so hope you can bear with me for just a tiny bit more.

This is a picture of the bridge from the 1930;s. The smaller bridge behind is the original railway bridge.

This is the view looking from the bridge to the river mouth and shows the path we walked on the left hand side going past part of the University and the Port of Sunderland and the Fish Quay on the right .

I hope you enjoyed that . I think, in fact I know that because of Stamps visit I've learned more things about my city - it really is amazing what happens/happened on your own doorstep.

14th May 2010

It was near enough a year ago exactly that I heard about a little knitted hedgehog setting off on his travels around the world ,so of course I had to put our names down on the list in the hopes that he would come visit us in Sunderland.
He's already been to several places in America including Wisconsin, New York and Oregon. He has most recently been to Yorkshire and still has Scotland, Wales, France , Finland and Australia to visit - phew.
So I'd like you all to meet Stamps ... isn't he cute?

He hardly had any time to rest before he was whipped off for a day at school with Milo and his pals , unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any photos of the actual lessons but he was well quizzed by Milo's teacher and the school are now thinking of doing something similar by sending a little someone between other schools. Guess who's been asked to make the little traveller !!

Anyway , after a little rest we started Stamps tour of Sunderland with one of the oldest most historic sites in the world..... yep , I said world.

St Peters Church was built in A.D 674 and is one of the UK's first stone built churches. Parts of the original buildings survive today , the tower and west wall are original Saxon features and the church also has on display fragments of the oldest stained glass in the country, made by 7th Century European craftsmen. Unfortunately we were unable to get inside as it only opens at certain times and we were too early .

Stamps tried knocking and climbing in a window but we think the Vicar was still having his cup of morning tea.

Originally there were quite a few headstones in the grounds but only a few remain, most of the writing has faded with age but on this one we managed to make out the year 1799.

St Peters is the UK’s nomination for World Heritage Site status in 2011. Other World Heritage Sites regionally, nationally and internationally include Durham Castle and Cathedral, Stonehenge, the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Sydney Opera House. If it achieves World Heritage Site status, this incredible site and its inspirational story will receive the world-wide recognition, and protection for the future, that it richly deserves.

Fingers crossed x.