Sunderland comes of age celebrated in new exhibition

Sunderland's coming of age is being celebrated in an exhibition to mark 21 years of city status – and residents born the year of the changeover are being invited to join the party

Sunderland fans wait for their team after the FA Cup Final in 1992
Sunderland fans wait for their team after the FA Cup Final in 1992

Sunderland's coming of age is being celebrated in an exhibition to mark 21 years of city status – and residents born the year of the changeover are being invited to join the party.

Photographs and news cuttings have gone on display at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens but it was in March, 1992, that Sunderland officially became a city, with the Queen granting the all-important city status in her 40th anniversary year on the throne.

While bringing no special privileges, a change of status to a city – traditionally linked to whether or not the town boasted a cathedral – carries with it prestige and the proud campaigners of Sunderland, who had previously endured four failed attempts, were in doubt they would now see their new city prosper.

And it certainly began well with a change in status too for the polytechnic as it became a university and Sunderland reached the final of the FA Cup.

The new exhibition, Celebrating 21 Years, is an even more timely opportunity for residents to take stock of how the city has been shaped over more than two decades.

On show in Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens’ Pottery Room from yesterday until November 4, it will examine the highlights of those years and the changes that have taken place.

Local people have been adding their memories to the mix too, with many tweeting their recollections to events organisation Sunderland Live.

And to get even more residents personally involved, a special reception will be held next Tuesday for those who also celebrating their 21st birthday this year.

Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We know that 4,494 people were born and registered in Sunderland in 1992, and he said: “We’d love for as many of them as possible to get in touch with us and join in our celebrations.”

The exhibition is the latest in a number of events to mark Sunderland’s 21st birthday.

Coun Watson added: “I’d like to thank everyone who got in touch with their memories. They have helped us pull together this exhibition that celebrates how Sunderland has developed since becoming a city 21 years ago.”

Anyone born in Sunderland in 1992 is asked to contact the city council by noon on Thursday for details of next week’s event.

For more details email community.news@sunderland.gov.uk

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