Coordinates: 54°31′37″N 1°33′09″W / 54.5270°N 1.5526°W / 54.5270; -1.5526

Darlo town centre.JPG
Darlington town centre including the town clock
Darlington is located in County Durham

 Darlington shown within County Durham
Population 97,712 [1]
OS grid reference NZ289147
    - London 219 mi (352 km)  
Metropolitan borough Darlington
Shire county County Durham
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DL1, DL2, DL3
Dialling code 01325
Police Durham
Fire County Durham and Darlington
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Darlington
Website http://www.darlington.gov.uk/default.htm
List of places: UK • England • County Durham

Darlington is a market town in the Borough of Darlington, part of the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It lies on the small River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees, not far from the main river.[2] It is the main population centre in the borough, with a population of 97,838 as of 2001.[3] The town owes much of its development to the influence of local Quaker families during the Victorian era, and it is famous as the location of the world's first passenger railway. It is popularly known by locals as "Darlo". The railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line.



St Cuthbert's Church

Early history

The name Darlington derives from the Anglo-Saxon Dearthington, which seemingly meant 'the settlement of Deornoth's people' but by Norman times the name had changed to Derlinton.[4] During the 17th and 18th centuries the town was generally known by the name of Darnton.[4] Darlington started life as an Anglo-Saxon settlement.[4] It has an historic market area in the town centre. Built in 1183, the Grade I listed St Cuthbert's Church is one of the most important early English churches in the north of England.[5]

Visiting during the 18th century, Daniel Defoe noted that the town was eminent for "good bleaching of linen, so that I have known cloth brought from Scotland to be bleached here". He also disparaged the town, writing that it had "nothing remarkable but dirt" (the roads were probably unpaved at the time).[6]

The Durham Ox came from Darlington.[4]

19th century industry

At the beginning of the 19th century, Darlington was still only a small market town.[7] During the 19th century, powerful Quaker families such as the Pease family and the Backhouse family were prominent employers and philanthropists. Darlington's most famous landmark, the clock tower, was a gift to the town by the industrialist Joseph Pease in 1864.[8] Its face was produced by T. Cooke & Sons of York, and the tower bells were cast by John Warner & Sons of nearby Norton on Tees.[5] The 91 acre South Park was re-developed into its current form in 1853, with financial backing from the Backhouse family.[9] Alfred Waterhouse, who designed London's Natural History Museum and Manchester Town Hall designed the Grade II listed Victorian Market Hall in 1860, and Backhouse's Bank (now Barclays) in 1864, the latter taking three years to complete.[5] George Gordon Hoskins is responsible for much of the town's architecture from this period, such as The King's Hotel. The Darlington Free Library was built with funding from Edward Pease[disambiguation needed ], and opened in 1884.[10]


Darlington is known for its associations with the birth of railways. This is celebrated in the town at Darlington Railway Centre and Museum. The world's first passenger rail journey was between Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees via Darlington, on the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825.

The town later became an important centre for railway manufacturing, with three significant works. The largest of these was the main line locomotive works, known as North Road Shops, opened in 1863 and closed in 1966. Another was Robert Stephenson & Co. (colloquially: "Stivvies"), who moved to Darlington from Newcastle upon Tyne in 1902, became Robert Stephensons & Hawthorns in 1937, were absorbed by English Electric around 1960, and closed by 1964. The third was Faverdale Wagon Works, established in 1923 and closed in 1962, which in the 1950s was a UK pioneer in the application of mass-production techniques to the manufacture of railway goods wagons.

To commemorate the town's contribution to the railways, David Mach's 1997 work "Train" is located alongside the A66, close to the original Stockton-Darlington railway. It is a life-size brick sculpture of a steaming locomotive emerging from a tunnel, made from 185,000 "Accrington Nori" bricks. The work had a budget of £760,000.

For 19 years, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust[11] built a 50th member of the long withdrawn LNER Peppercorn Class A1 engine, called 'Tornado' and numbered 60163, from scratch in the 1853 former Stockton and Darlington Railway Carriage Works at Hopetown. Many of the original fleet had been built at Darlington Works locomotive works, in the late 1940's.

Engineering and journalism

Darlington has long been a centre for engineering, particularly bridge building.[4] Bridges built in Darlington are found as far away as the River Nile and the River Amazon.[4] The large engineering firm Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company still has its headquarters in the town. The firm built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge and the Humber Bridge, among others.[12] One of the leading engine building firms, Cummins, has major premises in Darlington, and it houses the industrial headquarters of AMEC.[13]

In 1870, The Northern Echo newspaper was launched. It is based in Priestgate and is a long-standing part of life in the North East. Although a local paper, it is a full-bodied newspaper in its own right and includes national and international news in its scope. William Thomas Stead was a notable editor of The Northern Echo. Opposite The Northern Echo building is The William Stead public house, restaurant and beer garden. It was announced on 9 April 2011 that The Northern Echo are to relocate in way for a Cornmill Shopping Centre expansion.[14]

Recent history

In 1939, Darlington had the most cinema seats per head of population in the United Kingdom.[5] The town centre has undergone a full refurbishment entitled The Pedestrian Heart, which has seen the majority of the town centre pedestrianised.[15] Initially, the project received criticism surrounding changes to public transport, and removal of Victorian features along High Row.[16][17] There is now growing evidence, however, that the now-completed changes are meeting with local approval.[18]

In 2007 planning permission was granted for a new shopping centre to replace the dated and unsuccessful Queen Street shopping centre. Planned to open in 2010, the project has sinced stalled, with any works yet to take place.

In August 2008 the King's Hotel in the town centre was devastated by fire, severely damaging the roof and 100 bedrooms. Several shops, including Woolworths, were damaged and had to close for weeks afterwards. No one was killed in the blaze.


On 1 April 1997, the Borough of Darlington became a unitary authority area, which separated it from the non-metropolitan county of Durham for administrative purposes. The current MP is Jenny Chapman.


Darlington in 2004

Darlington is located in the Tees Valley, and is often slated as 'the gateway to the Tees Valley'. Although the Tees Valley is often known for its industry, comparatively little in the way of industry exists in Darlington.

Darlington is close to the Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales and Cleveland Hills; the North York Moors are also within easy reach of the town. Both the River Tees and River Skerne pass through the town, the River Skerne later joining the River Tees which then flows into the North Sea.

Darlington railway station (Bank Top) lies on the East Coast Main Line. There are also local services from the historic North Road railway station and associated Darlington Railway Centre and Museum.


There are several suburbs of Darlington. In the north are Harrowgate Hill, Harrowgate Village and Beaumont Hill and to the northeast are Whinfield are Haughton Le Skerne. To the east is Eastbourne with Firthmoor and Skerne Park to the south and situated in the west end are Hummersknott, Mowden and Blackwell. Finally, to the northwest are Branksome, Cockerton, Faverdale, The Denes, West Park, High Grange and Pierremont which is associated with the notable Henry Pease (MP).[19][20]

The suburbs to the south west and west of the town centre are the most affluent, featuring large detached homes in leafy streets; especially the suburb of Blackwell which features a golf course and a rugby football club. The suburbs to the north of the town centre are the least affluent areas of the town.

Running somewhat parallel to Woodland Road from Cockerton village towards the centre of Darlington is the area called The Denes which is mainly semi-detached and terraced housing surrounding valley areas of public park and recreation land. Darlington Memorial Hospital on Hollyhurst Road, lies in the corridor between Woodland Road and The Denes.

Twin towns

Darlington is twinned with:


Part of the town centre, newly refurbished pavements are noticeable
Darlington memorial hospital
Darlington market hall
The Cornmill Centre

Orange are the largest private sector employers in the town, hiring 2500 people.[22] Nevertheless there are major engineering sites, with both Cleveland Bridge and the industrial arm of AMEC headquartered in the town. Cummins also operate a major engine building site.

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Darlington at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[23] Agriculture[24] Industry[25] Services[26]
1995 1,115 8 377 729
2000 1,192 6 417 768
2003 1,538 6 561 971

Darlington is historically a market town with a well established weekly outdoor market and a thriving indoor market located underneath the town clock on Prebend Row. Also located on Prebend Row is the Cornmill Shopping centre which is the main retail area of Darlington. The market square is one of the biggest in the country.[27]

Darlington attracts people from a wide area to its newly pedestrianised town centre. The retail is remaining strong even through the economic downturn of 2009. House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer both have outlets in the town centre, with Debenhams scheduled to open in 2014.[28]


The Civic Theatre is a popular arts venue in the town, hosting a mix of musicals, dramas, plays and pantomimes. The smaller but well-used Arts Centre, founded in 1982, features smaller events, film screenings and more experimental material.

The Rhythm'n'Brews festival is a music and real ale festival normally held in early autumn, with many rock, blues and jazz acts playing at various venues around Darlington, as well as a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) run bar at the Arts Centre.

The Forum Music Centre, opened in 2004, hosts regular live music events, from Ska and Punk to Indie and Classic Rock. Also runs a popular comedy club. As well as live music, the facility houses a state of the art recording studio and several rehearsal rooms. The Carmel Rhythm Club is another place for music. Held at Carmel College in the Hummersknott end of town. A charitable organisation for the Carmel PTA (Parents and Teachers Association) attracts many large bands in the genre of rhythm and blues.

Darlington town centre has built a strong focus on independent shopping, giving a breathing space from the usually high street national stores and introducing a varied and popular shopping experience. Grange Road has a number of expensive and attractive designer stores, Duke Street houses art galleries and restaurants and nestled between the two is Skinnergate, which holds the greatest variety of interesting and original stores.

Darlington Dog Show has been a championship event since 1969. It was normally held in September on the showground in South Park, although in more recent years it has moved to Ripon.

Football teams in the town are Darlington, a team in the Football Conference, and Darlington Railway Athletic, a team in the Northern League. The rugby teams are Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. who play in National League Three and Darlington RFC. Cricket clubs are Darlington Cricket Club and Darlington Railway Athletic Cricket Club. The Darlington 10K road run is held every August, and attracts several thousand competitors. The Dolphin Centre, which provides a wide range of sporting facilities, was opened by Roger Bannister in 1982, and received a £5 m refurbishment in 2006 and was later given a new official opening by Redcar athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Darlington Library, an impressive Grade II listed building situated in Crown Street, was a gift to the town from Edward Pease, a leading Darlington Quaker. Edward Pease (1834–1880) left £10,000 in his will to build either a free library in Darlington or to be used for other educational purposes. The people of Darlington voted to adopt the Free Libraries Act and the town's first free library was officially opened on 23 October 1885, by his daughter, Lady Lymington.[29] The building now houses the Central Lending Department, Reference Library and Centre for Local Studies.



The Great North Road, now known as the A1, used to run directly through the centre of Darlington. It connects Darlington to Edinburgh, Sunderland and Newcastle in the North and Leeds, York and London in the South. The road has since been diverted to the west of the town; the original route is now the A167 via North Road in the town centre. The £5.9 m five-mile (8 km) A66 Darlington Eastern Bypass opened on November 25, 1985 and is currently undergoing major reconstruction in an effort to reduce congestion at rush hour. The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor, linking Central Park (Haughton Road) north-east of the town centre to a new roundabout on the A66, was opened in the summer of 2008. The A1(M) Darlington Bypass opened in May 1965.


Darlington is served by Darlington railway station (or Darlington Bank Top railway station) which is on the East Coast Main Line and has regular services to London Kings Cross, Leeds City station, Wakefield Westgate, Edinburgh Waverley, Manchester Picadilly, Manchester Airport and Newcastle. North Road railway station is situated just outside of Darlington town centre. Darlington Bank Top railway station also serves as the mainline interchange for Middlesbrough railway station, which itself has few intercity services. Darlington railway station boasts a large Victorian clock tower which, in the relatively low rise town centre, can be seen throughout large areas of the town.


Arriva buses in Darlington

Bus transport in the town is provided by Arriva North East and Scarlet Band. Darlington lost out on considerable public receipts when the municipal bus operator Darlingon Transport Company was placed into administration during an attempted privatisation, due to continuing financial difficulties and the Darlington Bus War.

Arriva run most of the bus services in the town, and Scarlet Band operate five routes, primarily the services with fewer passengers. Arriva used to run the routes now operated by Scarlet Band but Darlington Council re-tendered them due to financial trouble in early 2009 after the re-shuffle of the Bus system. .

Stagecoach used to operate in the town (since the Bus War) until 2007, when they sold their operations to Arriva. Arriva therefore became the main bus operator, operating nearly all routes in the town, until Scarlet Band became present in early 2009.

Darlington was chosen by the Department for Transport as one of three national Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns (together with Peterborough and Worcester) in 2004, and has successfully delivered a three year research and marketing programme to promote sustainable travel choices under the brand name 'Local Motion'. It was also chosen as one of six cycling demonstration towns in October 2005, receiving £3 million worth of funding from the government and local authority money.[30] The money has been spent over the course of three years on improving cycling facilities and routes, and linking the town to the national cycle route network. Darlington is the only place to win both sustainable travel and cycling demonstration town status.[31]


Five miles east of the town centre is Durham Tees Valley Airport (formerly Teesside Airport), which has flights to a few domestic locations across the UK and international flights to locations across Europe. The nearest larger airports are Newcastle Airport (47.6 miles) and Leeds Bradford International Airport (62.0 miles). Darlington also has direct rail links with Manchester Airport (124 miles).


The town has the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College (former grammar school). There are many other schools including: Haughton Community School,Abbey Junior School, Branksome Science College, Longfield School, Hummersknott School & Language College, Carmel RC Technology College, Hurworth School, Haughton School which is now known as the Darlington Education Village, is a pioneering partnership of 3 schools providing inclusive learning to all. It includes Beaumont Hill School, Springfield Primary and Haughton School. Darlington College is the newly built FE College. Teesside University opened a Darlington campus in 2011 offering higher education in the town to students and businesses. The town has other schools that have become Academies, this includes Eastbourne Comprehensive School, which has now become St. Aidan's Church Of England Academy. The town is also home to two independent schools - Yarm at Raventhorpe (formally Raventhorpe Preparatory School), and Polam Hall School which caters for boys and girls aged three to eighteen. A third independent school, Hurworth House School in the neighbouring village of Hurworth-on-Tees, closed in 2010.


Darlington is home to the regional daily paper The Northern Echo and its sister weekly paper Darlington & Stockton Times. A radio station of the TLRC network, Star Radio North East, broadcasts from the town.[32]

In November 2009 the town appointed an official 'Twitterer in residence', the first of its kind in the UK. Mike McTimoney (known on Twitter as TheDarloBard) is a local regular Twitter user who has been officially charged with tweeting for and about Darlington,[33] and to help promote The Darlington Experiment 2.0, the town's social media campaign.


The town is home to the football team Darlington F.C., known as The Quakers because of the contributions made to the town by men such as Edward and Joseph Pease, members of the Religious Society of Friends. The town's football club play at the 25,000 capacity Darlington Arena which opened on Neasham Road in 2003 after 120 years at Feethams. In 2010 they were relegated from the Football League, 21 years after they suffered a similar fate where they were then promoted back from the Football Conference at the first attempt. In the 2010–11 season Darlington won the FA Trophy and will start the 2011–12 season in the Football Conference

Darlington's leading Rugby Union club is Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. who currently play in National Three.

Notable people

See also

  • Trolleybuses in Darlington

References and notes

  1. ^ 2
  2. ^ Darlington - LoveToKnow 1911
  3. ^ It lies on the River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees. Census 2001 - Population Pyramids - Darlington UA
  4. ^ a b c d e f Darlington
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.visitdarlington.com/images/icons_large/icon_pdf.gif
  6. ^ Vision of Britain | Daniel Defoe | Letter 9: Eastern Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland
  7. ^ A History of Darlington
  8. ^ Darlington town clock keeps up with the chimes (From The Northern Echo)
  9. ^ South Park - Municipal Park in Darlington, Darlington - Visit Darlington
  10. ^ http://www.visitdarlington.com/downloads/Heritage%20Trail%20Guide.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.a1steam.com/main.asp?companyid=1
  12. ^ Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd
  13. ^ Cummins adds to jobs bonanza (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
  14. ^ Terms agreed for Echo building sale (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
  15. ^ "Main Features of the Pedestrian Heart Scheme". Darlington Borough Council. http://www.darlington.gov.uk/Living/Planning+and+Building+Control/Planning+Services/Projects+and+Schemes/PedHeart/PedHeartFeatures.htm. 
  16. ^ "Town revamp 'may disrupt traders'". BBC News. 16 September 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4251676.stm. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  17. ^ "Trader hits out at the heart of the scheme". The Northern Echo. 24 April 2007. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/search/display.var.1349982.0.trader_hits_out_at_the_heart_of_the_scheme.php. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  18. ^ "Hearty thanks - Town centre scheme is praised". Herald & Post. http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/local-teesside-news/darlington-news/2007/10/18/town-centre-scheme-is-praised-84229-19970199/. 
  19. ^ An ice house was the perfect way for a mansion-owner to keep his cool (From The Northern Echo)
  20. ^ Home, sweet home (From The Advertiser Series)
  21. ^ "Darlington's Twin Towns". Darlington Borough Council. http://www.darlington.gov.uk/Democracy/Welcome+to+Darlington/Twin+Towns.htm. 
  22. ^ Another major employer in the area is theEnglish division of the Student Loans Company, Student Finance England, who are based at Lingfield Point and employ over 1,000 peopleDarlington Borough Council
  23. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  24. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  25. ^ includes energy and construction
  26. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  27. ^ Rough Guide to England, p1058
  28. ^ http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/darlington/9166924.Debenhams_confirm_takeover_of_The_Northern_Echo_s_Darlington_HQ/
  29. ^ Vowel play at work (From The Northern Echo)
  30. ^ "£3 m to make town a more friendly place for cyclists". The Northern Echo. 21 October 2005. http://archive.thenorthernecho.co.uk/2005/10/21/209401.html. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  31. ^ "Cycling comments needed". The Northern Echo. 2 February 2006. http://archive.thenorthernecho.co.uk/2006/2/2/217551.html. Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  32. ^ "Alpha 103.2 - Public Information File". Alpha 103.2 official website. http://www.alpha1032.com/about/legal/. Retrieved 11 March 2008. 
  33. ^ "IT teacher employed as Twitterer-in-residence". The Northern Echo. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4768811.IT_teacher_employed_as_Twitterer_in_residence/. 
  34. ^ "Second Raid On Humber Area Many Casualties, Other Attacks In North Midlands". Issue 48922; col C (The Times): pp. 2. May 10, 1941. 
  35. ^ Lloyd, Chris (March 19, 2003). "Echo memories - Tragic star whose light was snuffed out too early". The Northern Echo. pp. 6b. 
  36. ^ "Player profile: David Varey". EPSNcricinfo. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/22195.html. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 

External links

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