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Sunderland, for those who do not know, is a coastal city in Northeast England. Lewis Carroll spent some time there, mostly at Whitburn; it is where he wrote Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter, as well as deriving general inspiration for his future masterpiece Alice in Wonderland. At the time of Carroll’s visit, Sunderland was a thriving region known for its shipbuilding; now you are more likely to find litter on the beach and hen-dos on the streets.

Nevertheless, Sunderland has been commemorated in several ways. In 1965 a group called The Shadows put out a single entitled Alice in Sunderland. You can listen to it on Spotify. There is also a graphic novel with the same name by Bryan Talbot which playfully depicts Lewis Carroll in Sunderland. It also explores local legends such as the Lambton Worm and the monkey hanged in Hartlepool.

If you ever pay a visit to Sunderland challenge yourself–use your imagination to turn the prosaic into the extraordinary; for Wonderland is all around us, not just down a rabbit hole.  (It helps if you eat some magic mushrooms first!)

A very rare shot of Sunderland's old Central Station in the 1960s.