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Darlington town centre including the town clock
Darlington shown within County Durham
|OS grid reference|
|- London||219 mi (352 km)|
|Ceremonial county||County Durham|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DL1, DL2, DL3|
|Fire||County Durham and Darlington|
|EU Parliament||North East England|
The town lies within the Tees Valley economic area, 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 106,000 as of 2011.3 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.The railway station is an important stop on the East Coast Main Line.
Darlington started life as an Anglo-Saxon settlement.4 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
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". However he also disparaged the town, writing that it had "nothing remarkable but dirt" (the roads would typically be unpaved at the time).6
During the early 19th century, Darlington remained as a small market town.7 As the century progressed, powerful Quaker families such as the Pease family and the Backhouse family were prominent employers and philanthropists in the area. Darlington's most famous landmark, the clock tower, was a gift to the town by the industrialist Joseph Pease in 1864.8 The clock's 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, 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. An early railway works was the Hopetown Carriage Works (est.1853) which supplied carriages and locomotives to the Stockton and Darlington Railway. The engineering firm of William and Alfred Kitching also manufactured locomotives in the 19th century. The town developed to have three significant works; the largest of these was the main line Darlington Works, whose main works were known as the North Road Shops which 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 Trust11 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 locomotive works in the late 1940s.
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 Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge and the Humber Bridge, as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.12 One of the leading engine building firms, Cummins, has major premises in Darlington, and it houses the industrial headquarters of AMEC.13 The engineering companies Darlington Forge Company (cl.1967) and Whessoe also originated in Darlington.
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 to make way for the Cornmill Shopping Centre expansion.14
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.1617 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 since 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. Work on the restoration of the building was completed by the end of 2011.
On 1 April 1997, the Borough of Darlington became a unitary authority area with the formation of Darlington Borough Council, which separated it from the non-metropolitan county of Durham for administrative purposes only, as the town is still within County Durham for ceremonial purposes. A safe Labour seat, the current MP is Labour's Jenny Chapman. Former Members of Parliament for the town include Alan Milburn, the former Secretary of State for Health under the Tony Blair Labour Government.
Darlington is located in South County Durham close to the River Tees which acts as the border between Durham and North Yorkshire. Both the River Tees and River Skerne pass through the town, the River Skerne later joining the River Tees which then flows through Teesside and into the North Sea.
There are several suburbs of Darlington. In the north are Harrowgate Hill, Harrowgate Village and Beaumont Hill and to the northeast are Whinfield and Haughton Le Skerne. To the east is the suburb of Eastbourne with Firthmoor and Skerne Park to the south. 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).1920
Darlington is twinned with:
EE are the largest private sector employers in the town, hiring 2,500 people. Another major employer in the area is the English division of the Student Loans Company, Student Finance England, who are based at Lingfield Point and employ over 1,000 people.22 Nevertheless there are major engineering sites, with both Cleveland Bridge and the industrial arm of AMEC headquartered in the town. Another major firm within the engineering industry based in the town is Cummins which has a large scale engine building facility in the Morton Park area of Darlington. UK retail company Argos have their largest warehouse distribution centre in the North of England located in Darlington, within Faverdale Industrial Estate to the North West of the town. Other large service sector companies with offices in the town include Darlington Building Society, Bannatyne Fitness Ltd and the national vehicle rental company Northgate, which is headquartered in the town; also within the Morton Park area.
As well as the large engineering sites based in the town, Darlington is also home to many businesses within the modern and developing industries including Information Technology. With large firms such as Infoserve Ltd having offices within the Morton Park area to the east of Darlington, located next to the A66 Darlington Eastern Bypass.
Close to the Darlington A66 Bypass is also the Link66 redevelopment scheme, which is a large plot of land close to the Morton Park site. It is hoped developers will see potential in the site due to its excellent transport links with fast access to the town centre and central park regeneration zone via the new Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor constructed in 2008. While also being in close proximity to the A1(M) Motorway which heads south to London and north to Edinburgh.
In November 2012, a deal was signed between Darlington Borough Council and developer Terrace Hill for a £30 million re-development of the site of the former Feethams bus depot. The proposed development includes a new multiplex cinema run by Vue Cinemas Entertainment to serve Darlington, south Durham and the northern parts of North Yorkshire, as these areas currently have no multiplex cinema. Residents currently have to travel to Teesside for the nearest multiplex cinema. The development will also house a new 80 bedroom riverside hotel, and various food and drink venues. The proposal has an expected completion date of late 2014.23
Darlington Borough Council has announced the neighbouring site currently used as a car park for the town hall is also to be redeveloped to house riverside office space for the Department for Education in an effort to safeguard Darlington jobs.
The international telecommunications company BT Group recently announced Darlington as one of the economically important locations in England to have BT fiber-optic cables installed underground as part of the companies BT Infinity superfast broadband rollout project. BT Group cites their decision to include Darlington in the national rollour of multi-provider fiber optic (cable) broadband as necessary due to the towns relatively large amount of IT demanding firms and future plans for developments including space for high-tech firms. Darlington Borough Council, residents and local businesses praised the decision by BT Group and it is hoped the investment will attract enterprise to the town, potentially creating employment for residents and boosting the economy.
The Morton Park area of Darlington is currently undergoing a partial redevelopment, with areas of unused waste land being redeveloped into modern industrial and office space, the developments add to the plans for redevelopment of the current Council depot on Central Park which is also to be redeveloped into commercial space and the Link66 scheme also close to Morton Park. Other commercial spaces in Darlington include North Road Industrial Estate, which includes a Morrisons superstore supermarket; Cleveland Trading Estate and Faverdale Industrial Estate.
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 Added24||Agriculture25||Industry26||Services27|
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.28
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 2014.29
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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, featured smaller events, film screenings and more experimental material; however this closed in 2012.
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. It 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, at Carmel College in the Hummersknott end of town, is another music venue. 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, and offers a more varied shopping experience than in many other UK towns and cities which have a higher concentration of national and international chainscitation needed. Grange Road has a number of "designer" stores, Duke Street houses art galleries and restaurants and between the two is Skinnergate, which holds the greatest variety of original stores.
Darlington Dog Show was a championship event from 1969. It was usually held in September on the showground in South Park; but it has now 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 were promoted as champions from National League Three in 2011-12 and played in National League 2 in 2012-13, 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. It received a £5m refurbishment in 2006 and was later officially opened 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 (1834–1880), a leading Darlington Quaker. He left £10,000 in his will to build a free library in Darlington or 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.30 The building now houses the Central Lending Department, Reference Library and Centre for Local Studies.
Darlington Memorial Hospital is on Hollyhurst Road, in the corridor between Woodland Road and The Denes.
Darlington has excellent road transport links with the North East's major trunk route the A1(M) bypassing the town to the west which was completed in 1965 replacing the Great North Road route which is now known as the A167. The town is served by 3 close junctions of the A1(M): Junction 57 A66(M), Junction 58 A68, Junction 59 A167. Junction 59 is the access exit for Darlington Motorway Services (Newton Park), with an onsite Jet filling station, Hotel and a 24-Hour McDonalds restaurant with a drive through. While also being in close proximity to other major trink routes including the A66 transpennine route connecting Darlington to Teesside in the East and the M6 motorway in Cumbria to the West via the A1 Scotch Corner junction. And the A19 via the A66 which is parallel to the east of the A1(M) serving the coastal areas of County Durham, Teesside, East Tyneside and North Yorkshire. The £5.9 m five-mile (8 km) A66 Darlington Eastern Bypass opened on 25 November 1985 and is currently undergoing major reconstruction in an effort to reduce congestion at rush hour. The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor, linking the Central Park regeneration zone (Haughton Road) and Darlington town-centre to a new roundabout on the A66, was opened in the summer of 2008.
Darlington railway station is well served by the rail network and lies on the East Coast Main Line and has regular services to London Kings Cross, Leeds City station, Wakefield Westgate, Edinburgh Waverley, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport and Newcastle. Darlington 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. Darlington also has access to the Tees Valley Line connecting all the main settlements of the Tees Valley and runs from Bishop Auckland to Saltburn via Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough among many other smaller settlements. There is a proposal for the Tees Valley conurbation's Tees Valley Line to undergo an extensive upgrade and rebranding of the service to be known as the Tees Valley Metro, much like that of the Tyne and Wear Metro currently in use across the Tyneside conurbation.
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 four routes (all withdrawn from 30 December 2012), 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.31 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.32
Darlington has its very own Airport Durham Tees Valley Airport which it shares with the rest of County Durham and Teesside located within the Darlington (borough), five miles east of the town centre. The Airport was formerly named Teesside airport, however was rebranded in 2004. It 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).
The town has the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College (former grammar school). There are many other schools including: Haughton Community School,Abbey Junior School, Darlington School of Mathematics and Science, Longfield Academy of Sport, Hummersknott Academy, 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 newspaper The Northern Echo and its sister weekly newspaper Darlington & Stockton Times. Local County Durham radio station Star Radio North East broadcasts from the town.33
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,34 and to help promote The Darlington Experiment 2.0, the town's social media campaign.
In 1998 the County Durham town of Darlington hit the national headlines after local man David James Harker murdered his girlfriend Julie Paterson before eating parts of her body in the Harewood Grove area, close to the Sainsbury's Datlington superstore; followed by the dumping of her torso which was later discovered in bushes by residents and reported to Durham Police. Harker was later diagnosed by experts as having Antisocial Personality Disorder, and is remembered as the Darlington Cannibal Killer.
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 played at the 25,000 capacity Darlington Arena when it 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 when they were then promoted back from the Football Conference at the first attempt. In the 2010–11 season Darlington won the FA Trophy but were relegated four divisions to the Northern Football League Division One for season 2012–13. Darlington currently play at Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland.
Darlington's leading Rugby Union club is Darlington Mowden RFC. Mowden were promoted as champions from National League 3 North in 2011–12 and now play at the Darlington Arena, in the fourth tier of the English league system, the National League 2 North. Darlington RFC play at Blackwell Meadows in the sixth tier, North 1 East.
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- Julie Bindel - born in Darlington - is a British Newspaper Journalist, Columnist, Political Activist, LGBT rights campaigner and activist
- David James Harker - Murderer and Cannibal - murdered his girlfriend Julie Paterson and ate parts of her body at Harewood Grove, Darlington in 1998
- Duncan Bannatyne - owns a house in Darlington and his company Bannatyne Fitness Ltd has offices located close to the Central Park regeneration area of the town
- Tony Blair - Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007) regularly visited Darlington as the neighbouring MP for Sedgefield and officially opened Darlington College in 2006
- George Allison – Football manager in the 1930s
- James Atkinson – (1780–1852) surgeon, artist and Persian scholar
- Garry Williamson Barnes – Footballer
- Zoe Birkett – Singer and runner up on television show 'Pop Idol'
- Aidan Chambers – Prize-winning children's author
- Tom Craddock – Footballer
- James Cudworth – Locomotive Superintendent for the South Eastern Railway (1845–76)
- Giles Deacon – British Fashion Designer
- J. M. Dent – Publisher who produced the Everyman's Library series.
- Frederick Dickens – Charles Dickens' beloved scapegrace brother. He is buried in the West Cemetery.
- Elizabeth Esteve-Coll (née Kingdon) b 1938, daughter of a Darlington bank clerk. She became director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – the first woman to head a national arts institution.
- Ruth Gemmell – Actress
- Ian Hamilton – Poet and editor
- Ralph Hodgson – Poet
- George Gordon Hoskins – Architect responsible for many of Darlington's Victorian buildings
- Glenn Hugillcitation needed – Actor and TV producer
- Richard Hurndall – Actor
- Mary Lawson – Stage and film actress of 1920s and 1930s3536
- Michael Lee – Drummer (Little Angels, The Cult, Page and Plant, Thin Lizzy)
- Neil Maddison – Footballer
- James Morrison – Footballer
- Edward Pease (1767–1858) – Quaker industrialist
- Joseph Pease (1799–1872) – Industrialist; the first Quaker M.P.
- Vic Reeves – Comedian and author
- Katherine Maria Routledge, née Pease (1866–1935) archaeologist who undertook first scientific survey of Easter Island archaeology.
- Willie Smith – Twice world billiards champion (from two entries).
- William Thomas Stead – Editor of The Northern Echo; Victorian social commentator who died on the Titanic
- Sir John Summerson – Architectural writer
- David Varey (born 1961) – Former cricketer37
- Paul Waltoncitation needed – Motoring Journalist
- Giuseppe Wilson – Footballer, Lazio's second highest capped player
- Darrien Wright – Strictly Dance Fever winner
- Darlington – LoveToKnow 1911
- Census 2001 – Population Pyramids – Darlington UA
- Vision of Britain | Daniel Defoe | Letter 9: Eastern Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland
- A History of Darlington
- Darlington town clock keeps up with the chimes (From The Northern Echo)
- South Park – Municipal Park in Darlington, Darlington – Visit Darlington
- Project Reference and Timeline
- Cummins adds to jobs bonanza (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
- Terms agreed for Echo building sale (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
- "Main Features of the Pedestrian Heart Scheme". Darlington Borough Council.
- "Town revamp 'may disrupt traders'". BBC News. 16 September 2005. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
- "Trader hits out at the heart of the scheme". The Northern Echo. 24 April 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
- "Hearty thanks – Town centre scheme is praised". Herald & Post.
- An ice house was the perfect way for a mansion-owner to keep his cool (From The Northern Echo)
- Home, sweet home (From The Advertiser Series)
- "Darlington's Twin Towns". Darlington Borough Council.
- Darlington Borough Council
- "£30m cinema and hotel development to transform Darlington town centre", The Northern Echo, 14 November 2012, retrieved 28 April 2013
- Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
- includes hunting and forestry
- includes energy and construction
- includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
- Rough Guide to England, p1058
- Vowel play at work (From The Northern Echo)
- "£3 m to make town a more friendly place for cyclists". The Northern Echo. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
- "Cycling comments needed". The Northern Echo. 2 February 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
- "Alpha 103.2 – Public Information File". Alpha 103.2 official website. Retrieved 11 March 2008.
- "IT teacher employed as Twitterer-in-residence". The Northern Echo.
- "Second Raid On Humber Area Many Casualties, Other Attacks In North Midlands". Issue 48922; col C (The Times). May 10, 1941. p. 2.
- Lloyd, Chris (March 19, 2003). "Echo memories – Tragic star whose light was snuffed out too early". The Northern Echo. pp. 6b.
- "Player profile: David Varey". EPSNcricinfo. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- Media related to Darlington at Wikimedia Commons
- Darlington Borough Council
- Statistics about Darlington from the Office for National Statistics Census 2001
- Darlington Tourist Information
- Darlington Railway Centre & Museum
- Historic Postcards of Darlington