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In assembling the data on this site, I have often needed to learn exactly where a shipbuilder or a pottery - or a bridge or a statue perhaps - was located - not an easy matter for someone who has never been to Sunderland. Often I was, in fact, unable to locate what I needed to know. Despite the many maps that, over recent years, a number of kind people have provided to me - from their collection of Sunderland material. But many times also, the maps did indeed help me along the way in a significant manner.

I will try to present many of the maps on this page. Likely without any great comment as to their content - because they contain a wealth of detail far more than I can ever describe. And since you, the visitor, will likely have your own special need & objective in choosing to access them.

My concern, in showing these maps is that they are often very large indeed. And consume a large portion of my limited quantity of available bandwidth.

Corrections or comments, however small, in the data on this page are invited. Invited also is any other map that you can provide, which might usefully be made available here.

Just eight maps presented today. But more surely to come.

1 1790

The 'Rain's Eye Plan' of Sunderland, of 1790 - by James Rain.

2 1806

An 1806 map of the County of Durham by 'John Cary'.

3 1835

An 1835 map of Sunderland - by 'Creighton'.

4 1857

A map of River Wear at Sunderland - said to be based upon an Ordnance Survey map.

5 1883

An 1883 map of the North Sea waters off Newcastle & Sunderland - by 'Élisée Reclus'.

6 1898

The River Wear at Southwick - A part perhaps of an 1898 Ordnance Survey Map of Southwick Urban District.

7 1954

A railway map of Sunderland & area.


I will surely only be able to show you, on this page, a section of the 'Rain's Eye Plan'. A map by James Rain, likely published it would seem in 1790 & created over the period of 1785/90. The original map is in the Sunderland Museum & I have read that its detail is truly amazing.

What I am able to show you appears here thanks to Brian Hubbard (of the Friends of Sunderland Old Parish Church & also of the Southwick History and Preservation Society - do they still exist?), who kindly wrote to the webmaster & provided this (& indeed other imagery) for the site. (Brian we thank you! - Brian's picture is at that second link). His large image of the map is here, but beware it is very large indeed, I think the biggest image of all on site.

Now having never seen the actual map, or any of the publications that show it section by section, I thought that the large image just provided was of the whole map. I am advised however that it is about one half of the full map.

Let me add some words provided by Len Charlton. But words which may yet need to be further corrected. Len advises that the original map is in fact lost, & is not in the Sunderland Museum as is stated above. But many copies were made along the way including a redrawing in 1909 by architects Victor Bain & Norman Widgin who added borders, captions & decorations. This 1909 copy has been used for more modern copies. In the 1980s a copy made by Michael Clay (or Michael Clay, Geoffrey Milburn & Stuart Miller) - with added artwork - was used to make up a paperback book of 11" x 8" in size where each page carried a section of the map split into 24 parts numbered A1 through A8, B1 through B8, & C1 through C8, i.e. 24 sections in all. That volume is, I find, identified as 'An Eye Plan of Sunderland and Bishopwearmouth 1785-1790 by John Rain', reproduced & edited by Michael Clay, Geoffrey Milburn & Stuart Miller (Frank Graham 1984, ISBN 0 85983 187 6).

The 'Brian Hubbard' image I attach is, if I understand correctly, and giant as it is, about 1/2 of the whole map, the eastern portion. Covered I believe in a number of sections in the 'Michael Clay' volume.

Maybe someday it will be possible to show in these pages, the other half of the map.

John Rain, (or John Raine on other of his maps) was born in 1860, the son of John and Mary Rain of Plains Farm. He was, I have read, a farmer, & then a bricklayer. He must have trained as a land surveyor & became (in which year I wonder?) the 'Town Surveyor'. I almost said the Sunderland Town Surveyor which may or may not be correct. At that point in history, Sunderland was one of 4 townships, the others being Bishopwearmouth, Monkwearmouth & Southwick. Anyway, as 'Town Surveyor' he surely authored a great many maps, but 'Rain's Eye Plan', the subject of this listing & surely his most famous work, was, I read was commenced in 1785 (at the Bishopwearmouth end), & completed in 1790.

What I show below is a section only of the giant image I have available. But which section to show? I thought it most appropriate to show the map section which identifies James Rain, the author. It may help you to orient yourself to know that the River Wear is the clear area at the very top of the image. I usually try to only show images in a size which requires no scrolling. This image is an exception to that normal rule.

Should you wish to purchase a print of the map, 7 feet long & 2 ft. tall, to frame & hang on your wall, you used to be able to go to a '' site to purchase a copy for GBP 7.50 plus postage etc. But the link no longer is operative.

Do please be in touch, if you can add to the map history.


A scan of the following 1806 map was provided to Genuki, back in 2001 it would seem, by a Mr. David Henderson. Now I have tried to locate David, who would appear to have been in Australia, to seek his approval for the inclusion here of his scan. But I have not been successful - the e-mail address for David at Genuki ( is no longer valid & I have been unable to locate a current e-mail address. We thank David Henderson, for his very fine scan, so appropriate on this page.

John Cary, (1754/1835), of The Strand, London, was an engraver & publisher of maps & many hundreds of maps were published by him. This particular map, from what I can see, was published in 'Cary's Traveller's Companion, or a Delineation of the Turnpike Roads of England and Wales', published by John Cary in 1806. It was republished in 1814 & maybe at other dates also. An extensive list of 'Cary' maps, currently available for sale, can be seen here.

Do please be in touch, if you can tell us about it.


I cannot tell you anything at all about this map, which has been in my files for many years & I suspect was from a long ago eBay item.

Stan Anson has kindly advised as follows:- This map shows the Parliamentary Borough of Sunderland created by the Parliamentary Boundaries Act of 1832. It was engraved by Robert Creighton for Samuel Lewis's A Representative History of England, with Plans Describing the Electoral Divisions of the Several Counties, and the Former and Present Boundaries of the Cities and Boroughs, which appeared as a supplement to the third edition of his A Topographical Dictionary of England (London: Samuel Lewis, 1835). We thank you Stan!

Do please be in touch, if you can tell us anything more about it.


A wonderful map that covers a stretch of the river from the bridges area west to beyond where Queen Alexandra Bridge was later built. A map which is particularly helpful to the webmaster, and may well be helpful to site visitors also, since it records the names & locations of the major businesses of the time. 'Saltgrass Dock', at the top of the 'peninsula' is the site which became the James Laing, later Sir James Laing & Sons Limited, Deptford, shipyard or at least a part of it. I am advised that a pub at that location is still named 'The Saltgrass'.

The map is, I am told, based upon an 1857 Ordnance Survey map - which may well be so but it is quite unlike any Ordnance Survey Map that I have ever seen before. There were Ordnance Survey maps that early? Do please be in touch, if you can tell us more exactly the origins of the map which was provided by a site visitor.


Jean Jacques Élisée Reclus (1830/1905) was a most famous French geographer. I think that the image which follows, which came from a long since expired eBay item, was a page from his most famous work - 'La Nouvelle Géographic universelle, la terre et les hommes', published in 19 volumes over the years of 1875 thru 1894. The map page I present, is undated, however my image reference refers to 1883. You can read about 'Reclus' & see a couple of photographs of him here.

Do please be in touch, if you can tell us more about it. I see that a copy of the map was available via e-Bay in Mar. 2015 - here.


This map, kindly provided by a site visitor, appears to be a portion only of an 1898 6 in. Ordnance Survey Map of Southwick Urban District. I show only a small portion of the map. You can see the full map, or as much as I have of it, here. It contains a wealth of detail. And was prepared 10 years or so before Queen Alexandra Bridge was built in 1909.

Do please be in touch, if you need to comment.


The webmaster is not aware of the origins of the map which follows, which shows the routes of the many railways that existed in 1954 (or so it would appear), before the coal mines closed. The map was provided to the webmaster by a kind site visitor.  Who advises that now (in 2009) there is just one line though Sunderland (from Seaham to Newcastle), that Silksworth Colliery (Pit) is now a ski-slope & Herrington Colliery (Pit) is now a country park.

Do please be in touch, if you wish to comment.

May I suggest that you navigate the site via the index on page 001.PRIOR PAGE / NEXT PAGE

Thomas M. M. Hemy Data Pages 01, 02 and 03 are now on site. Plus all of the other image pages, accessible though the index on page 05.

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