The Shipowners Charity Cup

The Shipowners' Cup was inaugurated in the 1898-99 season by Alderman Ralph B. Annison. The money raised from the competition went to the Boys' Orphanage on the edge of Sunderland's Town Moor.

A Wearside League club were the first winners, when Royal Rovers had the first of their triumphs. They beat Whitburn 2-1 in the final, after a drawn game, raising £50 for the Orphanage.

The Orphan Asylum was built in Sunderland's East End at a cost of £4,000. It opened for 'inmates' on October 17th, 1861. The boys in the Asylum were from the homes of lost seaman.

On average there were 40 boys at the Orphanage at any one time. Their education had a strong nautical flavour. There was a sailing ship in the grounds for instruction in rigging etc. It was not surprising, therefore, that many of the boys went to sea.

Between 1901 and 1902 alone, one old boy received the freedom of the borough for service in South Africa, one passed as Extra Master, one as First Class Engineer, one as Mate while another was appointed Master of a Workhouse in Northumberland.