Roker Park
Landscape Sunderland Tyne And Wear

Roker Park

Landscape In Sunderland, Tyne And Wear

A Victorian Public Park dating from 1880.

Roker Park which can be found between an area of housing and Roker Beach in a ravine known as Roker Gill, opened in 1880 on the 23rd June. The land for the park was presented jointly by the Hedworth Williamson family and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners with the intention of upgrading the surrounding area and encourage house building (which obviously paid off).

A condition of the gift was that a road bridge was built spanning the valley (what is now the A183 Roker Terrace), to provide access to the land beyond. As Hendon Valley, Valley gardens and Victoria Gardens had all been developed for housing, Roker Dene was one of the few areas left for recreation.

Roker was quite a popular area as it was a resort that people visited to experience the health benefits of the sea air and sea bathing which had gained popularity in the Victorian era. The provision of a new public park would only add to the potential benefits.

The layout of Roker Park is quite simple with a belt of trees and shrubs around the boundary, to ensure visitors attention was not distracted by features outside the park, with serpentine paths throughout the rest of the park along with further tree planting for shade.

There is a bandstand, also built in 1880, the design of which was influenced by the Chinese style garden buildings popular at the time, which can be found on a small promontory that looks out to sea. The bandstand is currently in need of repair which the Council is looking to do soon.

Other features within the park include a boating lake, a drinking fountain installed to commemorate the opening of the park and Centenary of the Sunday Schools, a waterfall which falls into a grotto, a miniature railway, children's play areas, tennis courts and bowling greens.

The bowling greens at Roker Park provide a little link to half of the Fabulous North team's family as our Great, Great Grandfather James Byrne was one of the early members of the Roker Bowling Club, formed in 1883. We believe he was a member for 50 plus years, still playing at 82 years old, from 1885. Below is a clipping from the North Mail, dated 19th November 1935, about his Diamond Wedding Anniversary and love of bowls.

Roker Park is also transformed during the annual Sunderland Illuminations event with a number of installations within the park, this is usually ticketed so check out the local news for details. The park is of course, free the rest of the year.

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How To Find Roker Park

Where Is Roker Park?

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54.924792, -1.369158

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Where To Park For Roker Park?

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54.920372, 54.920372

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Parking is available at Marine Walk or Harbour View a short walk away.

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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Andrew Gardner

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