Historical and geographical information



“nothing remarkable but dirt” 


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General Sir Martin Farndale KCB





Dates are in red.

Hyperlinks to other pages are in dark blue.

Headlines of the history of the Darlington are in brown.

References and citations are in turquoise.

Contextual history is in purple.


This webpage about the Darlington has the following section headings:


·         The Farndales of Darlington

·         Darlington, an overview

·         Timeline of Darlington

·         Links, texts and books



The Farndales of Darlington


The following Farndales are associated with Darlington: John Farndale (FAR00168), Hannah Farndale (FAR00191), Grace Farndale (FAR00219), Joseph Farndale (FAR00299), Margaret Louisa Farndale (FAR00439), Emily A Farndale (FAR00496), William Farndale (FAR00515), Joseph Farndale (FAR00524), John Farndale (FAR00553), Sarah Ann Farndale (FAR00568), Asneath Farndale (FAR00575), Annie Farndale (FAR00700), Evelyn Mary Farndale (FAR00703), Clara Farndale (FAR00713), Lily Farndale (FAR00718), William Robert Farndale, FAR00720), Doris Farndale (FAR00730), Charles Farndale (FAR00734), Sidney Farndale (FAR00746), Alfreda Farndale (FAR00752A), Ethel Farndale (FAR00777), Reginald Farndale (FAR00799), Annie Farndale (FAR00812), Eva J Farndale (FAR00826), Elsie M Farndale (FAR00844), Kenneth Farndale (FAR00857), Cyril E Farndale (FAR00872), Kenneth Farndale (FAR00884), Colin R Farndale (FAR00932), Francis W Farndale (FAR00963), Olwyn R Farndale (FAR01000), Andrew D Farndale (FAR01131)


Darlington, an overview


Darlington is a large market town in County Durham. It lies on the River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees. 


The town owes much of its development to the influence of local Quaker families in the Georgian and Victorian era, and who provided much of the finance and vision in creating the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world's first steam locomotive powered, permanent passenger railway.


Darlington was an Anglo-Saxon settlement. 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. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the town was generally known by the name of Darnton.


The historic market area in the town centre was built in 1183.


St Cuthbert's Church is one of the most important early English churches in the north of England. The oldest church in the town is St Andrew's Church built around 1125.


In the eighteenth 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).


The Durham Ox came from Darlington


During the early nineteenth century, Darlington remained a small market town. As the century progressed, powerful Quaker families such as the Pease and Backhouse families 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. 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. These bells were in fact the sister bells to those which are inside the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament in London, the most famous of which is called Big Ben.


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The Darlington Mechanics Institute was opened in 1854 by Elizabeth Pease Nichol. 


Darlington is known for its associations with the birth of the modern railway. On 27 September 1825 George Stephenson's engine Locomotion No. 1 ushered in the modern railway age when it travelled between Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees via Darlington, on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which from its outset was designed for passengers and goods, to a standard gauge on a permanent main line with branches and powered by steam locomotives.


The town later became an important centre for railway manufacturing. The Hopetown Carriage Works were established in 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 nineteenth 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.


In 1870, The Northern Echo newspaper was launched.


Timeline of Darlington




Outbreaks of plague. It struck in 1543, 1597, and 1605.




There were a number of executions in Darlington following the Rising of the Northern Earls.




A fire started on 7 May 1585 between noon and 1 pm in Darlington and spread quickly. Water was scarce because of a drought, and people desperately used milk and beer to try and dowse the flames. In all 273 houses were destroyed in Darlington and 800 people were made homeless. However, Darlington was soon rebuilt.




An Act of Parliament formed a body of men with powers to clean the streets of Darlington and light them (with oil lamps). They also had the power to appoint night watchmen.




The Stockton and Darlington Railway (“S&DR”) was the world's first public railway to use steam locomotives. The first line connected collieries near Shildon with Darlington and Stockton in County Durham. It was officially opened on 27 September 1825.




A water company was formed to supply piped water.




South Park was laid out.




Horse-drawn trams started to run.


Links, texts and books