Celebrate Alice in Sunderland

18 June 2015

CELEBRATIONS are planned to mark the 150th anniversary of one of the greatest books in children’s literature, in the city which inspired some of the characters.

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are worldwide classics, with the former completed by the writer in 1865.

And now Sunderland is set to embark on a month of activities as a tribute to Lewis Carroll, who was a regular visitor to the area.

Carroll came to see his cousin, Margaret Wilcox, who lives in the Whitburn area of the city and the coast around her home is believed to have been the inspiration for the Walrus and The Carpenter.

At the same time he is also understood to have composed the opening lines of The Jabberwocky as part of a parlour game he was playing with his family at their Whitburn home.

To mark the occasion Sunderland’s Business Improvement District has created a full programme of events throughout August, to entice both local people and visitors to come into the city centre.

Activities begin over the weekend of August 8 and 9 where a giant maze is being constructed, presided over by a Philosophical Caterpillar which will ask passers-by to help solve a riddle.

The following weekend has been named Eat Me Drink Me, with walking and talking Mad Hatter tables, cooking activities with the Queen of Hearts and food tasting opportunities.

On Sat 22 and Sunday 23 magic doorways will appear around the city centre along with keyholes and secret entrances, all designed to try and trap the White Rabbit.

Visitors will get the opportunity to win a range of prizes by uploading pictures of themselves by one of the doorways which will be then projected onto a giant screen.

The final weekend – Sat 29 and Sun 30 – will see the activities move to the Sunniside area of the city, with a giant Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where everyone is being asked to dress up and take part.

Throughout the month the regular late night Thursday shopping events will also get in on the act, with an “I’m Late” theme and the opportunity to win prizes every time a clock chimes.

“These events offer some great opportunities not only for local people to take part in Alice themed activities but also for visitors to come and see what Sunderland has to offer,” said Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID.

“It’s an exciting time in the city, with us hosting the Tall Ship Race in 2018 and our bid for UK City of Culture in 2021.

“We’re a city with so many exciting things to see and do and we hope that people will take the opportunity to come and join in our summer events and find out for themselves.”