Roker Park, Sunderland
The land for the park was indeed a donation by Sir Hedworth Williamson and the Church Commissioners. Of course, this was for the development based upon the Roker Ravine in 1880. However, there was a condition to the donation and that was the ‘Commission’ build a bridge to span the ravine. This was so that Sir Hedworth Williamson’s land to the North of the area could be open for development.
The park still retains its Victorian style through to the present day. Moreover, it provides visitors with an array of interesting features and attractions. These include, Victorian Street Lamps, Display Gardens, Floral Displays, Children’s Play Parks and Model Railways etc. Obviously, a programme of events and entertainments are operate during the summer season. But, much happens during the autumn too. In particular, the Sunderland Illuminations which focus on the park itself.
Roker Park Lake
This was by the local model engineering society and they were very popular indeed.
Roker Park Bandstand
Indeed, the location often saw vast numbers of visitors.
However, the name “Spottee” comes from a poor foreign sailor who was unable to speak English. But, he managed to pick up a precarious living in the neighbourhood. It was his multi-coloured spotty garments got him the name. Because he could not converse with the locals, many thought he was a lunatic. Indeed, The Bishoprick Garland refers to Spottee as such.
Furthermore, a long time ago, many people believe that three local people explored the cave for some considerable distance. However, when the cave came under examination in 1870, there was no trace of the passage. But some still believe the passage exists and that it was an escape route from St Peters Church in Monkwearmouth.
Of course, as usual with recreational parks, there is an abundance of floral displays. There are many ancient trees and the park has many kinds of shrubs. Together with various wildlife including squirrels, wildfowl and other birds, Roker park is ideal for a stroll. In fact, the recreational park is very large and is often in use for this type of activity by many people.
Some of the other features of Roker Park include bowling greens and tennis courts, of course. Indeed, there is even some basketball courts too. Then there are the children’s play areas off Side Cliff Road. So, many parents park here to allow their kids to play on the apparatus and sand features.
Roker Park Illuminations
Generally speaking, as part of the annual Sunderland Illuminations, Roker Park became a central hub. Although the attractions extend along into Seaburn, Roker Park is the focal point. Due to its sheer size and flexibility, the recreational park has a new lease of life during this period. As well as the usual lights, there is also lights with various themes. Obviously, the most popular being Alice in Wonderland. So, when you visit Sunderland Illuminations, ensure that Roker Park is on the agenda.
What are your memories of Roker Park in Sunderland? Let us know in the comments section below. Alternatively you could use our massive Sunderland Message Boards (SMB). The Sunderland Forum is a great place to socially interact with other Wearsiders, so pop over and create a post.
SD14 on the Boating Lake
Finally, since Sunderland was the biggest town in the world, here we have a suitable video. This is of an SD14 ship on the recreational lake in the park.