Rain’s Eye Plan of Sunderland

This ancient map of Sunderland and Bishopwearmouth (a small section of which is shown here), is in the possession of the Society. It was drawn by John Rain, a local farmer, who had trained as a land surveryor before becoming the Town Surveyor for Sunderland. From an imaginary aerial viewpoint, and depicting all features in elevation, he drew the terrain from the sea westwards, including the old township and parish of Sunderland (i.e. the old east end of the town), parts of Bishopwearmouth parish with the ancient village, the lower reaches of the Wear and a narrow strip of the Monkwearmouth shore. The map therefore shows most of the area which, in the 19th century, was to become the urban heart of the rapidly growing town of Sunderland.    The map is large – it measures 84 ins x 21 ins and the scale is approximately over 4 feet to the mile.

   It is the earliest detailed plan of the town and is one of the best to use. For any historian or researcher the plan provides a unique source of information. A SMALL SECTION of the map can be seen above and FULL SIZE copies can be ordered from the Society .  Copies are £7.50 each plus pp (UK £1.75.  EuroCpe £2.75. Rest of World £4). Cheques should be made out to the Society and sent to Sunderland Antiquarian Society, 6 Douro Terrace, Sunderland, SR2 7DX  The Plan is also available in CD form. The CD contains over 20 images breaking the map down gradually from its seven feet length into smaller images that can be explored in greater detail.

   Also included on the CD are three additional antiquarian maps all broken down into numerous detailed images showing Sunderland from 1790 to 1915 - Robson's Town Plan 1827,  Meek and Morgan's Town Plan of 1851 and Moncur's Town Plan 1915.   CDs are £5 including pp. and can be ordered from The Sunderland Antiquarian  Society, 6 Douro Terrace, Sunderland SR2 7DX