In 1964 a mate of mine lived in Burdon Villas in Burdon Road on the site of the Civic Centre. At the back of his house was a concrete box similar in shape to a sentry box. The door to this thing was sealed up but we found a way to jemmy it open. Inside was a spiral staircase leading downwards to a series of underground chambers that had been mothballed since the Second World War. It was pitch black inside and we spooked ourselves by looking around in candlelight. The place had evidently been used as an underground shelter during the War as the main ante-chamber also had rooms leading off which looked like they had been used as food and fuel storage areas. The interesting thing about this discovery came years later when i found out that the Civic Centre had been built over it and it had been converted to a nuclear war bunker for Sunderlands finest to escape in the event of an atomic war. The main entrance was directly over the road to the war memorial in Mowbray park but the steel gates at the entry were welded up. Now you know where to head should you encounter a "Dawn of the Dead" situation!