Through our past darkly, with Ron

A PASSION for pubs will see Ron Lawson leading a heritage tour of his favourite historic hostelries.

A PASSION for pubs will see Ron Lawson leading a heritage tour of his favourite historic hostelries.

Ron Lawson

A guided visit to five listed pubs will be Ron’s contribution to this year’s Tyne Wear Heritage Open Days event from September 6-9.

He has spent the last 20 years researching pub history in the North-East.

Ron served for 20 years as a magistrate in Sunderland, 10 of which were on licensing duties.

“I started to read the old court records and found them fascinating,” said Ron, who began to compile an archive of the names of people who had run pubs from the 1870s onwards.

Ron has also researched trade directories and the census for pubs in Sunderland and County Durham and is now moving on to Jarrow and Hebburn in South Tyneside.

Ron, archivist for Sunderland Antiquarian Society, has built up a collection of 10,000 photographs of pubs in the region, with major contributions from Vaux and Scottish and Newcastle breweries. His Magical History Tour of Sunderland pubs on Thursday, September 6 will take in:

The Dun Cow opposite Sunderland Empire. The Dun cow with its gothic, mahogany interior dates from 1901 but there has been a pub on the site since 1820.

The Mountain Daisy in Hylton Road, which features tiled portrayals of local scenes. There has been a Mountain Daisy pub on the site since 1841.

The King’s Arms, which fronts on to five streets, dates from 1834 and was rebuilt in 1880.

The Saltgrass in Hanover Place, which may have got its name from a nearby mill which used esparto grass to make paper. There is a record of a pub on the site from 1842.

The Clarendon in High Street East, which dates from 1818, although there has been a pub on the site since 1753 – the longest continuously licensed site in the city.

Ron, who lives in Middle Herrington and whose local is the Stables, said: “It is a very time-consum-ing hobby, but it gives me a kick. Sunderland was a major port and at one time in High Street East, every third building was a pub. In Low Street there were once 60 pubs and there are just two now.”

To find a full list of Heritage Open Days in Tyne and Wear click here

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