"The City of Durham is distant 256 miles N.N.W. from London; 132 S.S.E. of Edinburgh; 67 N.N.W. of York; 15 south of Newcastle; 48 south of Alnwick; 67 E.S.E. of Carlisle; and 13 S.E. from Sunderland. It contains seven parishes, the townships of Crossgate, Elvet (part of), the extra-parochial places, with the rights of townships, of Castle Precincts, Bailey North, Bailey South, Durham College, Gilligate, Magdalen Place, and St. Nicholas, and a barony and a borough. Its population in 1891 was 14,863, of which 7110 were males and 7753 females. There were 2625 inhabited houses, 199 uninhabited, and 7 in course of building. The parliamentary electorate numbers 2420, of which 373 are freemen; and the ratable value of the borough is £47,991.
"This ancient city, the capital of the County Palatine, see of a bishop and the seat of a university, is situated amidst most beautiful surroundings nearly in the centre of the County. From all the neighbouring points of view, the appearance of this interesting city, is striking and unique. The older portion of the city occupies a high rocky peninsula, formed by the river Wear; and its situation and figure is so peculiar - in connection also with its historical associations - as to have occasioned its being emphatically called the "English Zion." "
[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]