Tomatos That I Grow

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Gardeners Delght seedlngs sown on the 23-02-18 seed bought from Wilkos

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Image of the aluminium greenhouse where I grow my tomato’s the greenhouse is very old and I have been using it for about fifteen years

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I was preparing the tomato’s for the coming season and you can see I have got about half of the greenhouse planted out the seedling are in the background amongst the chaos I have created

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The tomato’s in this image have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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Notice the grape vine growing on the right hand side

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Close up of the tomato’s which have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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The tomato variety shown in this image are my favourite Gardeners Delight which to grow very well and are not suspetable to many growing problems or diseases

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The tomatos look happy enough and seem to be growing well in their grow pots I always use grow bags as the base component for gowing them in

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Notice the grape vine which is a strawbery tasting type in the back ground its looking really healthy and the main thing it tastes great and there are no pips

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It normally takes about a week to get all the tomato plants into their grow pots and the other containers I use

The Blue Bell Hendon

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Notice the new houses on the right of the Blue Bell these where built in the 1970s and are privately owned

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The roof of The Blue Bell was once a beautiful tiled structure but over many years of neglect sadly it is now nothing like it was in its hey day notice the attic window and the chimney pots and the TV mast

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The Blue Bell was situated in Zion Street Hendon Sunderland which was a street in the Jewish quarter of Hendon

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The Blue Bell looks very sad in its derelict condition and was pulled down shortly after I took these images

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My white Berlingo van can be seen on the left of the image

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Holy Trinity church can be seen in the background the church was opened in 1719 for the growing population of Sunderland as the ship building industry grew

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The attic window of The Blue Bell I wonder what history it can tell us about the pub

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Close up of the Blue Bells attic window now sadly looking very delapitdated after the pub closed shortly after the Blue Bell was pulled down and made into a car park

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Notice the broken windows the drain pipes and the Sky antenna on the wall

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Close up of the broken windows and the drain pipes and the size of the bricks these were the old style a lot smaller than the ones used for building these days

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This was the main door of The Blue Bell the windows are now sadly boarded up with chip board

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Grass and weeds are now growing freely around The Blue Bells main door and on the pavement

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The licence sign of The Blue Bell sadly now looking rather tired and old

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The front of The Blue Bell you can see Holy Trinity Church clock tower on the right of the image

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Notice the broken windows and the curtains hanging out they look vey old

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There is even an original Sky mast next to the drain pipe

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Me and my father Billy Bell often had a drink in The Blue Bell on an afternoon

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The windows of the attic and the first floor are all broken now and the pub now looks a shadow of its former self

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The Zion Street sign looks tattered and weary now is as if to say I have had enough

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In this image you can see nearly all of the boarded up front of The Blue Bell

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The chimney and the attic window can be seen clearly in this image and notice the seagull perched on the attic window

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This image shows The Blue Bells rear extension in Moor Street not quite sure what the function of the extension was but it has been suggested that it could have been the pubs kitchen

Asparagus That I Grow

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This image is of an asparagus plantlet called Sweet Purple I purchased about a dozen of these plantlets of a guy called Keith Wheeler in May 2018
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The roots of the asparagus plantlets can be seen just before I repotted them into larger plant pots

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I use different size pots when transplanting the asparagus seedlings and always mix perlite with the compost I use for transplanting the asparagus

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These images of are of asparagus UC 157 F2 the one of the most popular varieties grown in the world and was developed in the early eighties

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A view of the asparagus plantlets ferns they are looking very healthy and green all these plantlets were grown from seed in my unheated conservatory

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More images of the asparagus plantlets after they had been repotted by me in the conservatory on the allotment

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Image of the ferns of asparagus Sweet Purple planlets which are about seven months old I grew the plantlets from seed in my unheated conservatory

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Wednesday, 24 April 2019
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Gray Road Hendon

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This a bit of a blured image of the front room of 33 Gray Road in the image you can see a photograph of my late mam and dad celebrating their wedding anniversary also an image of my oldest daughter Lisa

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The fire side in the front room of 33 Gray Road when we were children this was a coal fire but in my mam and dads later life was replaced by an electric fire

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The famous green phone which all of my family hated but my dad loved

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The bay window was a typical type used in the mid seventies on property in Hendon and Sunderland

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Billy Bell my father better known as Hendons historian because of his slide shows and his knowledge of Hendon and Sunderlands history

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David Bell outside 33 Gray Road visiting his father Billy Bell at 33 Gray Road this was just after my Mam had died

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Notice my Berlingo van parked on Gray Road the new buildings on the left was once an old vicarage

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These houses were buitl in the late eighties and were typical of the houses built in Hendon and Sunderland at that time they where well built and looked good

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Image show the repairing of the gable end of the house after wind damage on a house in Gray Road Hendon

The Sportsmans Arms

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The Sportsman’s Arms now Known as the Scullery

The Sportsman’s Arms closed on the 05-02-2010 when it closed it was left empty for a few years until a plumbing business opened up a showroom and office in the premises the company owners decided as they were not using all of the building so decided to rent out the old lounge at the rear of the pub

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The Sportsmans Arms Silksworth was once one of the most important buildings in Silksworth

Images taken by Dave Bell

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I took these images from the bottom of High Newport Allotments in May 2010 when the Sportsman’s Arms sadly closed and ended one of the last places that was used and built for the miners and their families of Silksworth very little remains of the miners heritage in Silksworth nowadays

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The once proud sign of the Sportsman’s Arms now looks tired and weary

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Notice the boarded up windows and The Sportsmans Arms sign still swinging as if everything was ok image taken on a wet and windy very cold day

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Close up of the sign on the rear wall of The Sportsmans Arms which closed in May 2010 because of lost revenue caused by very few local people using the public house

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The Sportsmans Arms puplic house built for the miners of Silksworth in 1871 as Silksworth Colliery grew new houses were built for the miners and their families and not forgetting why The Sportsmans Arms built for the miners when they had finished their shifts and to socialise when not working

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Silksworth Colliery shaft was sunk in 1869 In 1871, according to the Census there were approx 800 people living in the Silksworth and Tunstall areas, the local area was mainly farmland and where most people worked on the land.

Jack Crawford and the Winter Gardens

Perhaps the best-known monument in Mowbray Park is that dedicated to the Sunderland sailor, Jack Crawford. The monument was unveiled in 1890 and depicts Jack in his most famous act: nailing a flag to a ship’s mast. Strangely the monument was erected rather late as Jack died in 1831 and the heroic act for which he was famed took place in 1797.

Crawford was born in Sunderland’s ‘East End’, the port area of ‘Old Sunderland’ as it is known. He worked for a time as a keelman before he was enforced into the Royal Navy by a press gang in 1796.

On October 11, 1797 a British fleet under Admiral Duncan was engaged in the Battle of Camperdown off the coast of Holland against the Dutch fleet when the mast of the Admiral’s ship The Venerable was shot down along with his flag.

Lowering of the flag signified a surrender, so the brave – or perhaps drunken – Jack, climbed what remained of the mast  – he was probably ordered to so so – and nailed the flag in place. He performed this heroic act as the Dutch fired their bullets upon him, with one piercing his cheek. Crawford’s actions are believed to have given rise to that well-known phrase “nailing your colours to the mast”.

Jack Crawford nailing his colours to the mast, Mowbray Park
Jack Crawford memorial

Victory followed and Jack was proclaimed a national hero. He was even presented before the King. Sadly, Jack fell on hard times and poverty in later life, when he was often found to be drunk.

Jack Crawford died in 1831. He was one of the first victims of the horrific cholera epidemic that entered the country through the port of Sunderland. The disease swept across the nation where it killed around 32,000 people. Originating in India, this epidemic had already killed millions before entering Britain via Sunderland where the first fatality was a 12-year old girl called Isabella Hazard who lived near the River Wear. She died only a day after contracting the disease.

Museum and Winter Gardens

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens overlook a lake at the northern end of Mowbray Park near the terminus of Fawcett Street which runs to the north. Beginning its life in Fawcett Street’s Athenaeum Building, the Sunderland Museum was the first publicly run museum in the country outside London.

As its collections grew the museum was relocated to its present site. The first stones of the new building were laid by the Sunderland Mayor (and Sunderland Echo founder) Samuel Storey, with the recently retired President of the United States, Ulysses Grant in attendance. The new museum opened in 1879, along with the glasshouse of the adjoining Winter Gardens, based on London’s Crystal Palace.

Today, exhibits in the museum include a fossil of Britain’s oldest-known flying reptile, a 250 million year old Coelurasuravus found at Eppleton near Hetton-le-Hole. There are many displays relating to the history of Sunderland including an impressive collection of paintings and many beautiful examples of Sunderland lustreware pottery.

Mowbray Park

Overlooked by Sir Basil Spence’s Sunderland Civic Centre of 1970, Mowbray Park occupies an area of Sunderland that was historically called Building Hill. Here certain local people held rights to quarrying the magnesian limestone close to the centre of town. The quarry is said to be called Building Hill because the stone was used for building purposes but the real origin seems to have been Billdon – a bill-shaped hill.

In 1844, Sunderland council purchased the undulating quarry land from the Mowbray family with the assistance of a government grant. Their intention was to develop a public park for Sunderland. The park was opened in 1857 by the Sunderland Lord Mayor and local MP, John Candlish, who was a noted glass bottle manufacturer in the town and also owned a glassworks in Seaham. Candlish is commemorated in one of the park’s monuments.

There are a number of other notable memorials in the park. The most moving is that to the Victoria Hall disaster. Located on the Toward Road side of the park, it stands near the site of the Victoria Hall Theatre where, tragically, on June 16, 1883, an incredible 114 boys and 69 girls died in a crushing incident caused by a door that could only be opened one way.

The incident occurred during a special performance for children and the crush occurred as excited youngsters in the upper tier of the theatre rushed towards a lower tier of the theatre where performers were throwing free toys to the audience.

Following the tragedy, new safety measures were introduced to public buildings across the world. The Victoria Hall theatre continued to operate until 1941 when it was destroyed by a German parachute bomb.

Memorial to the Victoria Hall tragedy Sunderland
Memorial to the Victoria Hall tragedy Mowbray Park

Another monument in Mowbray Park recalls Sir Henry Havelock , who was born at Ford Hall in Bishopwearmouth in 1795. A military man and son of the Sunderland shipbuilder, William Havelock, Sir Henry is recalled in the names of many street-names and town-names throughout the world. He became Adjutant General of the British Army in India and was in command at the time of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 when he became famous for recapturing the garrison of Lucknow. Havelock died of dysentery in India later that year

The Indian Mutiny was an event that could have been avoided as it resulted from British insensitivity, ignorance and disrespect for Indian traditions. Havelock had no direct responsibility for this but it is debatable whether he would be so favourably looked upon as a hero by the standards of modern thinking.

Close to the lake overlooked by the Winter Gardens one of the most amusing features of the park is a sculpture of a walrus reclining alongside the water with the seagulls for company. It commeorates the Lewis Carroll rhyme, the Walrus and the Carpenter which has strong associations with Sunderland. Lewis Carroll was a regular visitor to Whitburn on the northern outskirts of Sunderland.


Sunderland Minster

St Michael’s church became the Sunderland Minster in 1998, in keeping with Sunderland’s city status granted in 1992. The minster is now officially ‘The Minster Church of St Michael and All Angels and St Benedict Biscop’. Despite its minster status, it not the oldest or most historically significant church in Sunderland. That honour belongs to the 1,300 year old church of St Peter across the river at Monkwearmouth.

Neverthless Sunderland Minster is a site with quite a remarkable history. There is thought to have been a church on this site since 930AD and very probably earlier given the extensive area of land associated with South Wearmouth

Although parts of the present building can be dated to the 13th century and carved stones of Saxon times have been found, much of the present building owes its origins to a restoration of the 19th century with further work carried out during the 1930s.

Historically, an extensive rectory and rectory lands were attached to this church, stretching right down to the river from a site now occupied by the Empire Theatre. Considered one of the best parsonages in England, the rectory building was demolished in 1855. Its incumbents had included several significant figures. Notable Wearmouth rectors went on to become bishops, archbishops and one even became a pope, namely Robert Gebenens, a Wearmouth rector in the 1370s, who became Pope Clement VII during the Great Schism.
The Oxford Connection

The most notable Wearmouth Rector was however William of Durham (William De Dunelm) who was rector from 1229. Making a good living from the Wearmouth rectory lands, William left, upon his death, a bequest for the founding of a college. That college was none other than University College at Oxford, the first college of one of the most esteemed educational establishments in the world.

Industry gradually colonised the rural ‘Rectory Park’ lands during the nineteenth century and a significant part of the park was home to Vaux Breweries (founded 1837) that stood here from 1875 up until closure in 1999. Presently, the site is set to become a focus for major business development.

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The Point public house and eatery in Park Lane

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View lookin up from Holmside to the bus and Metro station in Park Lane

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On the right of the image you can see the Borough Public House one of the oldest pubs in Sunderland

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Image looking up Holmeside the Borough is on the left of the image and Hays the UKs largest independant travel agent is on the right further up the
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View from Holmeside looking towards the Bridges Shopplng Centre Debenhams is on the left and Collinsons the jewellers is on the right

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View from Holmeside of the pavement and don’t forget the Seagull waiting for its early morning feed

Holmeside on a very miserable Saturday morning the weather was awful and very cold

High Street and Fawcett Street

The area of High Street West facing the Minster is home to a number of notable Edwardian Baroque style buildings including the Empire Theatre of 1906 by the Sunderland architects Thomas and William Milburn. The brothers also built the former fire station nearby and the magistrates court. The Empire Theatre’s neighbour is the equally ornate Dun Cow pub of 1901 (by Benjamin F. Simpson) which like the theatre has a green copper dome.

Of similar style is the pub called The Peacock just to the east, built 1901-02 by Hugh Hedley It was originally named The Londonderry after the County Durham coal owner, the Marquess of Londonderry but was refurbished and renamed in 2017. The Peacock was the name of an earlier pub that had stood on this site. The year 2017 also saw the transformation of the Edwardian Old Fire Station into a wonderful new music, culture, dance, drama and arts hub which also includes the Engine Room restaurant.

The Peacock pub and magistrates court overlook the recently created Keel Square (2015) with its water fountains. The square has an extraordinary lengthy line of paving called the Keel Line with an inscribed year-by-year timeline featuring the names of all the Sunderland-built ships.

The two main streets of Bishopwearmouth in Sunderland city centre are High Street West and Fawcett Street. The High Street West is part of a mile long street following a centuries old routeway that begins near Sunderland Minster and continues east into the port area of ‘Old Sunderland’, where it is called High Street East.

The High Street was historically called ‘the Lonnin’ and part of the route, through the former open land between Bishopwearmouth and Old Sunderland was also called ‘Wearmouth Walk’. By the time the first Wearmouth Bridge opened in the 1790s, the whole of the street was colonised by buildings joining the two places together.

The opening of the first Wearmouth Bridge stimulated further growth including a new major street that was built in Sunderland adjoining the High Street and leading south from it. This was Fawcett Street, built on land belonging to a local landowner called Christopher Fawcett around 1814. Initially residential it had developed into Sunderland’s major commercial thorougfare by the late 19th century. There are several notable buildings in this street leading south towards the Civic Centre and Mowbray Park.

High Street West Sunderland
19th century view of High Street West near the junction with Fawcett Street

Wearmouth Green

Wearmouth Green

Historically, the old part of Bishopwearmouth was a village focused around Wearmouth Green and the Sunderland Minster which was formerly the church of St Michael and All Angels. It was in this area of Sunderland that a number of old routeways into the town converged.

South Wearmouth, as Bishopwearmouth was originally called, came into being in Anglo-Saxon times when it encompassed lands stretching south as far as Seaham and Hesleden. The lands were given to the Community of St Cuthbert at Chester-le-Street around 830-846AD.

The lands were then seized in 918 AD by the Dublin-based Viking ruler, Ragnald who gave them to his follower, Olaf Ball. They were later returned to the Bishops of Chester-le-Street (predecessors of the Bishops of Durham) by Athelstan, King of England in 934AD. Athelstan described the lands as “my beloved vill of South Wearmouth” Through its association with the Bishops of Durham, South Wearmouth became ‘Bishopwearmouth’.

Bishopwearmouth was a rather sleepy rural settlement at the time of the Boldon Book (1183) and retained its village-like appearance for centuries. You still get that feel today south of Sunderland Minster where the church still overlooks the village green.
Mowbray Almshouses, Sunderland
Mowbray Almshouses, Sunderland. Photo David Simpson

The green is bordered by neat cottage-like buildings in Church Lane and the rustic looking Mowbray Almshouses of 1863. The almshouses were originally founded in 1727 when Jane Gibson, widow of a Sunderland merchant made a bequest for “an hospital or almshouse, erected and endowed for the maintenance of 12 poor men or women”. The fund for the almshouses was administered by a notable Sunderland family called the Mowbrays, who rebuilt the almshouses in 1863. The green itself has long been common land and in less enlightened times was used as a venue for bull baiting.