In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Sunderland like this:
Sunderland.-- parl. and mun. bor., seaport town, and par., Durham, at mouth of river Wear, 12 miles SE. of Newcastle and 265 from London by rail - par., 220 ac. (52 water) and 113 tidal water and foreshore, pop. 15,333; parl. bor., 5130 ac., pop. 124,841; mun. bor., 3306 ac., pop. 116,542; 4 Banks, 4 newspapers. Market-day, Saturday. The bor. includes Sunderland par., on the S. side of the river, next the sea; the greater part of Bishop Wearmouth par., on the same side of the river; and the greater part of Monk Wearmouth par., on the N. ...
side of the river, which is here spanned by a famous iron bridge of one arch (108 ft. above low-water mark and 236 ft. span), erected in 1796, and restored and improved in 1858. In Monk Wearmouth (with which Sunderland was long more or less identified) is an ancient parish church, standing on the site of the monastery, of 7th century, in which the Venerable Bede spent the greater part of his life. Sunderland rose into importance as a seat of trade and commerce about the middle of the 18th century, and is now one of the chief coal-shipping ports in the kingdom. Its facilities as a port have been greatly improved of late years; a harbour has been made by two stone piers 590 and 650 yards long, extensive docks have been constructed, and a lighthouse has been erected on the N. pier-head, 64 ft. high, with 2 fixed lights 73 and 55 ft. above high water and seen 13 and 6 miles; on the S. pier-head is a fixed light 58 ft. above high water and seen 10 miles. The harbour, with the docks, is 78 ac. in extent. A large trade is done with the Baltic ports and with Holland. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) After its coal trade and shipping, the town depends chiefly upon its ship-building; it has also large marine engineering works, works for heavy iron-forging, and for the mfr. of glass, cordage, earthenware, &c. Sunderland has many handsome public buildings (including several charitable and educational institutions), excellent sanitary arrangements, and parks, museum, free library, school of art, and public baths. It was early chartered (under the name of the new borough of Monk Wearmouth) by the bishops of Durham, and was made a parl. bor. in 1832; it returns 2 members to Parliament.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Sunderland has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Sunderland. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Sunderland and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Sunderland in County Durham | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th May 2013
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