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Mowbray Park - taken from the History of Sunderland published 1919
Sunderland has four public parks. The oldest is the Mowbray Park, almost in the centre
of the town, and consisting of the East and West Parks, opened in 1857, and the Extension
Park opened in 1866 a total area of 23½ acres. This is one of the finest and most
tastefully ornamented parks in the North of England.
It contains the Winter Gardens with its fine collection of tropical plants and ferns;
a small pond with gold fish; a number of parrots and other birds in wire cages.
In the park, under a glass cupola, is a white marble statue commemorating a sad calamity
at the Victoria Hall, in 1883, in which one hundred and eighty three children lost
their lives. There are three bronze statues erected to the memory of Sunderland men;
on the summit of Boyldon Hill stands that in memory of Major-General Sir Henry Havelock,
K.C.B., whose services in the Indian Mutiny will never be forgotten. Close to this
monument are two Russian guns, taken at Sebastopol in 1855 and presented by the Secretary
of War to the town.
On a small knoll is the memorial to Jack Crawford, the Sunderland sailor who so gallantly
nailed Admiral Duncan's flag to the mast of H.M.S. "Venerable" at the battle of Camperdown
in 1797, when the Dutch were defeated.
The third statue is in memory of John Candlish, a Member of Parliament for the Borough
from 1865 until his death in 1874. The park also has a small lake, a bowling green,
tennis court, and bandstand. A very interesting feature of the Mowbray Park is Boyldon
Hill, also known as Byldon, Bylding, and Building Hill. It is described in ancient
records as "a certain close containing fourteen acres, or thereabouts, situated at
the southeast part of, and within the township of Bishopwearmouth." Garbutt, writing
in 1819, describes it as an eminence about a quarter of a mile to the south of Bishopwearmouth
and says that it affords a great variety of interesting specimens of limestone. The
hill has also been named the "Calton Hill of Sunderland."
It has always been a favourite spot for many of our townsfolk, for from the top may
be obtained a grand view of the town and neighbourhood, the sea and the many ships
in the offing. From time immemorial the inhabitants had liberty to dig and carry
away stones from the hill for building, without any payment. A lime kiln was situated
near the hill in ancient times. In 1779, when the notorious Paul Jones, the pirate,
made his appearance at the mouth of the Wear, a beacon is said to have been lighted
on the top of the hill ; bonfires were also lighted on the same spot on Midsummer
Eve in ancient times.