Sunderland pupils in Wonderland choosing new estate name

Avid young readers from a Sunderland primary school delved into the fantasy world of Alice in Wonderland and its literary link to the city to name a new housing estate.

Bernicia is building a new 37 home estate in a £6m development on the site of the former Southwick Primary School, which is nearing completion.

Pupils from the new Southwick Community Primary – situated just yards from the development – chose Cheshire Avenue, plus two named houses, Alice House and Adelaide House – as names for the new estate, celebrating author Lewis Carroll’s historic links to Sunderland.

The world famous author was a regular visitor to see family in Whitburn and his sisters lived in Southwick. His Alice in Wonderland story has won him fans across the globe featuring characters including the Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit.

As a thank you to the pupils, Bernicia has donated dozens of books to the school library to keep the young bookworms happy and fire their imaginations.

All children and staff dressed up as their favourite literary characters for World Book Day – including some as Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts to show their love for Lewis Carroll’s classic tale.

Gemma Alderson, housing services manager at Bernicia, said: “It’s been brilliant having the pupils help us decide on names for the new development.

“They picked the names after looking through a number of possibilities all tied into the history of Sunderland. Buying them books for their library was our way of saying ‘thank you’ for helping us come up with such appropriate names.”

Hayley Hetherington, Southwick Primary English Lead teacher, said: “We have been pushing reading at Southwick for a long time now. We like to look at different reading events so when the opportunity came up to name streets after some of our favourite characters – we jumped at the chance.

“The books we got were a great addition to our library too.”

Alice and the Cheshire Cat are of course main characters at the heart of the Wonderland story – the Sunderland pupils delved further and also chose Adelaide as the name for a property on the estate after the bronze statue of Alice which is the centrepiece of Rymill Park in Adelaide, Australia.

Bernicia bought the land formerly home to Southwick Primary School from Sunderland City Council to build the new housing estate.

It is constructing 37 new homes for affordable rent, comprising four bungalows and a mixture of two, three and four-bedroom homes specifically to tackle local housing need.

The homes will be advertised for rent through Sunderland City Council housing allocations team.