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Darlington is a town in the ceremonial county of County Durham, Englandmarker, UKmarker, and the main population centre in the Borough of Darlington. Darlington has a resident population of 97,838 as of 1997. 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 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. Darlington's leading Rugby Union club is Darlington Mowden Park RFC.

Geography

Darlington is located in the Tees Valleymarker, 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 Moorsmarker are also within easy reach of the town. Both the River Teesmarker and River Skernemarker pass through the town, the River Skerne later joining the River Tees which then flows into the North Seamarker.

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

History

Saxons

Darlington started life as a Saxon settlement on the River Skernemarker . It has an attractive historic market area in the town centre. St Cuthbert's Church is one of the most important and impressive Early English churches in the north of England.

Railways

Darlington is known for its associations with the birth of railways. This is celebrated in the town at Darlington Railway Centre and Museummarker. The world's first passenger rail journey was between Shildonmarker and Stockton-on-Teesmarker via Darlington, on the Darlington and Stockton 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 worksmarker, 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 Tynemarker 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.

Northern Echo

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 the first editor of the Northern Echo - opposite of the Northern Echo building is the 'The William Stead' public house, restaurant and beer garden.

Recent history

The town centre has undergone a full refurbishment entitled The Pedestrian Heart, which has seen the majority of the town centre pedestrianised. Initially, the project received criticism surrounding changes to public transport, and removal of Victorian features along High Row. There is now growing evidence, however, that the now-completed changes are meeting with local approval.

In 2007 planning permission was granted for a new shopping centre to replace the dated and unsuccessful Queen Street shopping centre. Debenhams is to be the anchor store for the retail and leisure development. It is due to open in 2010.

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.

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, and to help promote The Darlington Experiment 2.0, the town's social media campaign.

Twin towns

It is twinned with:

Transport

Road

The Great North Road, now known as the A1marker, used to run directly through the centre of Darlington. 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.

Rail

Darlington is served by Darlington railway stationmarker (or Darlington Bank Top railway station) which is on the East Coast Mainline and has regular services to London Kings Crossmarker, Leeds City Stationmarker, Wakefield Westgatemarker, Edinburgh Waverleymarker, Manchester Picadillymarker, Manchester Airportmarker and Newcastlemarker. North Road railway stationmarker is situated just outside of Darlington town centre. Darlington Bank Top railway station also serves as the mainline interchange for Middlesbrough railway stationmarker, which itself has few intercity services. Darlington railway station boasts a large Victorian clock tower, which in the relitively low rise town centre can be seen throughout large areas of the town.

Bus

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. Arriva began trials of articulated buses in August 2009 with a view to future use within the town.

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. 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.

Airport

Five miles east of the town centre is Durham Tees Valley Airportmarker, which has flights to many domestic locations across the UK and international flights to places across the EU, North Africa and North America.

Education

The town has the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form Collegemarker (former grammar school), which gets the best A level results in North East England. There are many other schools including: Branksome Science College Hummersknott Schoolmarker, Carmel RC Technology Collegemarker, Hurworth Schoolmarker and Longfield School. Darlington Collegemarker is the newly built FE College. The town has other schools that have become Academies, this includes Eastbourne Comprehensive School, which has now become Eastbourne Church Of England Academy, soon to be St. Aidan's Church Of England Academy. The town is also home to three independent schools - Yarm at Raventhorpe (formally Raventhorpe Preparatory School), Hurworth House Schoolmarker in the neighbouring village of Hurworth-on-Teesmarker, and Polam Hall School which caters for girls aged three to eighteen and boys in the nursery school and sixth form.

Economy

Darlington, including the town clock.
Darlington memorial hospital
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 Agriculture Industry Services
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.

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 arriving in a few years time as part of the new Commercial Street Shopping and Lesiure Complex, or 'The Oval' which is to relpace the existing Queen Street Shopping Mall. The new shopping centre will include 30 retail units, 5 restaurant units, a multiscreen cinema and 'The Winter Garden Convention Centre'.

Culture

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 Alemarker (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 Collegemarker in the Hummersknottmarker 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 Riponmarker.

Football teams in the town are Darlington, a team in the Football League Two; 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 Redcarmarker athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Media

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, broadcasts from the town.

Famous natives and residents



Suburbs

There are several suburbs of Darlington. In the north are Harrowgate Hill, Harrowgate Villagemarker and Beaumont Hillmarker and to the northeast are Whinfieldmarker, Haughton-le-Skernemarker and Red Hall. East is Eastbournemarker with Firth Moormarker and Skerne Parkmarker to the south and situated in the west end are Hummersknottmarker, Mowdenmarker and Blackwellmarker. Finally, to the northwest are Branksomemarker, Cockertonmarker, Faverdalemarker, The Denesmarker, West Parkmarker, High Grange and Pierremont.

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

References and notes

  1. Census 2001 - Population Pyramids - Darlington UA
  2. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  3. includes hunting and forestry
  4. includes energy and construction
  5. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


External links




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