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Ken Routledge

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Mowbray Park  - taken from the History of Sunderland  published 1919

Sunderland has four public parks. The oldest is the Mowbray Park, almost in the centre of the town, and consisting of the East and West Parks, opened in 1857, and the Extension Park opened in 1866 a total area of 23½ acres. This is one of the finest and most tastefully ornamented parks in the North of England.

It contains the Winter Gardens with its fine collection of tropical plants and ferns; a small pond with gold fish; a number of parrots and other birds in wire cages.

In the park, under a glass cupola, is a white marble statue commemorating a sad calamity at the Victoria Hall, in 1883, in which one hundred and eighty three children lost their lives. There are three bronze statues erected to the memory of Sunderland men; on the summit of Boyldon Hill stands that in memory of Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, K.C.B., whose services in the Indian Mutiny will never be forgotten. Close to this monument are two Russian guns, taken at Sebastopol in 1855 and presented by the Secretary of War to the town.

On a small knoll is the memorial to Jack Crawford, the Sunderland sailor who so gallantly nailed Admiral Duncan's flag to the mast of H.M.S. "Venerable" at the battle of Camperdown in 1797, when the Dutch were defeated.

The third statue is in memory of John Candlish, a Member of Parliament for the Borough from 1865 until his death in 1874. The park also has a small lake, a bowling green, tennis court, and bandstand. A very interesting feature of the Mowbray Park is Boyldon Hill, also known as Byldon, Bylding, and Building Hill. It is described in ancient records as "a certain close containing fourteen acres, or thereabouts, situated at the southeast part of, and within the township of Bishopwearmouth." Garbutt, writing in 1819, describes it as an eminence about a quarter of a mile to the south of Bishopwearmouth and says that it affords a great variety of interesting specimens of limestone. The hill has also been named the "Calton Hill of Sunderland."

It has always been a favourite spot for many of our townsfolk, for from the top may be obtained a grand view of the town and neighbourhood, the sea and the many ships in the offing. From time immemorial the inhabitants had liberty to dig and carry away stones from the hill for building, without any payment. A lime kiln was situated near the hill in ancient times. In 1779, when the notorious Paul Jones, the pirate, made his appearance at the mouth of the Wear, a beacon is said to have been lighted on the top of the hill ; bonfires were also lighted on the same spot on Midsummer Eve in ancient times.

Photographs of Mowbray Park

Photos of Mowbray Park     -     Mowbray Park in the snow


Photographs of events in the park
The Teesside Fettlers     -     150 year celebrations     -     Multi-culture event