Vol 5: Sunderland

Sunderland – volume 5

Gillian Cookson (ed.), The Victoria County History of Durham, volume 5: Sunderland (2015).

Full and authoritative history of Sunderland, from its origins to the present day. Famed across Europe during Bede’s time and the heyday of Wearmouth monastery, Sunderland found a less celebrated renown in the twentieth century with the distress of its heavy industries between the wars, and their final extinction in the 1980s. Between those very contrasting eras, its story is one of re-invention and of a growing industrial and commercial might. The coal trade transformed the town during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; shipbuilding came to the fore in the nineteenth, and Wearside became the nation’s, and the world’s, greatest shipbuilder. Though it lacked formal local government before 1835, this was a wealthy and relatively sophisticated town, with a great and spectacular early iron bridge (1796).
This volume covers the history of Sunderland from the earliest times and into the twenty-first century, including its landscape and buildings, government, trade and industry, politics and social institutions.

Sunderland Red Book


I would wholeheartedly recommend this volume to anybody interested in the rise and decline of industrial NE England. THE SOCIETY FOR MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

The present volume with its scrupulous referencing offers scope for future researchers to look into many other aspects of the city’s life rather than simply rehashing a familiar tale of rise and decline. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

Two paperbacks about the City of Sunderland were also published for the England’s Past for Everyone project:

Maureen M. Meikle and Christine M. Newman, Sunderland and its Origins: Monks to Mariners (2008) is a lavishly-illustrated early history of the Wearmouth settlements, up to the foundation of Sunderland parish in 1719.

Gillian Cookson, Sunderland: Building a City (2010) takes a long view of how the Wearside landscape evolved from medieval settlements to modern city.

Sunderland and its Origins.jpgSunderland Building a City.jpg

Joan Briggs, Rita McGhee, John Smith, Jennifer Tindell, Ann Tumman, Xenia Webster (eds.), Sunderland Wills and Inventories, 1601-1650 (Surtees Society, 2010).

A spin-off from the architectural research commissioned by the Victoria County History of Durham for its Sunderland project, Michael Johnson and Graham Potts produced a book on the Architecture of Sunderland, 1700-1914 (2013). See here for publication details.