Subscribe to our mailing list

Our regular e-bulletin keeps you up-to-date about our news and activities, and occasionally re fundraising appeals. You can opt out at any time. Full details of how we look after data are available in our privacy policy on our Web site.

If you agree to being contacted in this way, click the ‘Subscribe’ button below. Your information will be sent to MailChimp for processing - https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy.

* indicates required
Last updated:28 May 2015

Commemorative jug

April's object was a Sunderland pink splash lustre ware commemorative jug

Cliff Stockton, volunteer chose this month's object:

‘I think these pieces are wonderful social and political records of national and local history, and the Library is very fortunate in owning this iconic piece of history'

This commemorative jug was made by Dixon and Co. at the Garrison Pottery in Sunderland about 1820. It is pink splash lustre ware with transfers.

The jug shows on one side the then largest cast iron single span bridge in the world, opened on 9th August 1796 under the patronage of Rowland Burdon Esq. M.P.

The bridge was based on a design by Thomas Paine (author of the ‘Rights of man' and the ‘Age of reason'). The span was 263 ft with 214 tons of cast iron and 46 tons of wrought iron.

On the other side is a Royal Navy ship called “Northumberland 74” meaning, it carried 74 cannons. This vessel had a splendid record during the Napoleonic wars against the French, but came to fame by carrying Napoleon to his captivity in St. Helena in 1816.

There is a verse under the spout decorated with squares and compasses suggesting Freemasonry involvement.

“Let masonry from pole to pole her sacred laws expand, far as the mighty waters roll, to wash remotest land: that virtue has not left mankind, her social maxims prove, for stamped upon the masons mind are unity and love.”

April 2009

Click here for more information about Thomas Paine


Resources about the history of Sunderland in the library collection

JW Smith and TS Holden, Where ships are born: Sunderland, 1346-1946 - a history of shipbuilding on the River Wear (1946) - Shelfmark: E16

William Cranmer Mitchell, History of Sunderland (1972) - Shelfmark: B50

John Ruskin, Time and tide, by Weare and Tyne: twenty-five letters to a working man of Sunderland on the laws of work 2nd ed. (1868) - Shelfmark: A31

George Garbutt, A historical and descriptive view of the parishes Monkwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth and the port and borough of Sunderland (1819) - Shelfmark: D75