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Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in North East Englandmarker. It is the major settlement in the unitary authority area and borough of Stockton-on-Teesmarker. For ceremonial purposes, the borough is split between County Durham and North Yorkshire as it also incorporates a number of smaller towns including Billinghammarker, Yarmmarker and Thornabymarker. The combined size of the borough equates to approx 180,000 people and makes it larger than Middlesbroughmarker in terms of population and square miles.


Stockton began as an Anglo-Saxon settlement on high ground close to the northern bank of the River Teesmarker.

The manor of Stockton was created in around 1138. It was purchased by Bishop Pudsey of Durhammarker in 1189 and since then has undergone many changes.

Stockton's market can trace its history back to 1310, when Bishop Bek of Durham granted a market charter - to our town of Stockton a market upon every Wednesday for ever.

Stockton Castle is first referred to in 1376. It was captured by the Scotsmarker in 1644 and was occupied by them until 1646, but was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. There is now a shopping centre, called the Castlegate Centre, where the original castle stood. There are no known accurate depictions of the castle in existence.

In June 1890 Major Robert Ropner offered a piece of land to the people of Stockton which could be used as a public park, providing the local council would lay it out tastefully and keep it forever. Just over three years later, on 4 October 1893, the park was officially opened by the then Duke & Duchess of York. After a century of regular use by the people of Stockton, the park was refurbished and renovated between 2004-2007 to its former glory by Stockton Council, thanks to a £2.65m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes a new bandstand, based on the original design, a Park Ranger's Office and a cafe, (run by the local charity, the Friends of Ropner Park).

Transport links

Several bus services operate in Stockton. Most services pass through the High Street. The services cover large areas of the region including Middlesbroughmarker, Teesside Parkmarker, Thornabymarker, Billinghammarker, Sedgefieldmarker, Durhammarker, Sunderlandmarker, Peterleemarker and Newcastle upon Tynemarker. Among the companies operating bus services, Stagecoach on Teesside and Arriva North East are the major providers, while six minor providers also operate in the area.

At Christmas, Arriva and Stagecoach bus drivers dress up in santa suits and raise money for certain charities.


Major industries in Stockton have included ship-repairing, steel and chemicals, although most ship building was performed in nearby Hartlepool.

The town is famous for its associations with the Stockton and Darlington Railway on which ran the world's first steam hauled passenger train in 1825. The town also has the world's oldest railway station building, and also contains much Georgian architecture, one notable example being the world's oldest Georgian theatre, constructed in 1766.

During the twentieth century the town's heavy industry declined dramatically, along with that of the surrounding Teesside area. Since the 1980s the town has seen an increase in service industries.

Work is under way to develop the north bank of the River Teesmarker as part of the North Shore development, which will include new offices and housing.

The Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative is a 20 year vision for regenerating the urban core of the Tees Valleymarker, the main focus being the 30 km² area along the banks of the River Teesmarker between the two centres of Stockton and Middlesbroughmarker. The master plan has been drawn up by environmental design specialists Gillespies, the eventual aim being to create a distinctive high-quality city of over 320,000 citizens at the heart of the Tees Valley, by connecting both Middlesbrough and Stockton along the Teesmarker corridor. The project will include not only the existing developments at North Shore, Stockton and Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, but many others over a 15-20 year period.


Notable people

It was the home, 1781 - 1859, of John Walker, who invented the friction match in 1826. Until recently, a roundabout in the centre of Stockton commemorated this fact, but the roundabout has since been demolished to make way for a new road system.

Thomas Sheraton, the famous furniture designer, was born in Stockton in 1751; he moved to London in 1790, where he died in 1806.

Other notable people born in Stockton include Will Hay and Jimmy James the comedians; Ivy Close Miss Great Britain; Brass Crosby Lord Mayor of London; Joseph Ritson waspish critic and editor; 'Flying' Freddy Dixon the record-breaking racer; the actors Stephen Tompkinson; Francis Bainbridge the great physiologist; Charles Foulkes Canadian general; Also Tony Scott (brother of Ridley Scott), director of Top Gun, was born in Stockton. He and his brother studied at Sheraton School.

The Member of Parliament for many years, 1924-29 and 1931-45, was Harold Macmillan, later Prime Minister, 1956 to 1963. He was created Earl of Stockton in 1984, 20 years after his retirement from politics. William Rodgers, one of the Gang of Four which broke from the Labour Party to form the Social Democratic Party also represented the town in parliament from 1962 to 1983.

Hudson Bay Company explorer and Norton native, Captain William Christopher, lived in Stockton for many years at 145 High Street. Under the employ of the HBC from 1760 through to 1783, he was charged with finding the NorthWest Passage to China. His discoveries include Baker Lake in Nunavut, Canada off the west coast of Hudson Bay.

Author George Orwell resided for a year in Greystones, near Carltonmarker, a village in the borough, from 1944–1945.

Peter Smithson (1923–2003) was born in Stockton. He and his wife Alison were a powerful influence on British architecture and are associated with the Brutalist style.

Scottish Entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne moved to Stockton when he was 30, well before he made his fortune. Whilst living in Stockton he bought his first Ice Cream Van and founded a nursing home business. He also opened his first health club in Stockton, Bannatyne's in 1997. He married his second wife at St Mary's Church, Norton and still resides in the area; living in Wynyard and now Norton.

Michael Marks, founder of "Britains's biggest clothes retailer" - Marks & Spencer - started his business career with a borrowed £5 peddling goods round Stockton on Tees in 1883/4. "Don't ask the price, it's a penny." He soon made enough money to open a stall on Kirkgate market in Leeds.

Bruce Thomas,(b 1948.) Bass-player with U.K. bands Quiver / Elvis Costello & The Attractions. Author: 'The Big Wheel' -the story of a band on the road (fiction) and Bruce Lee;'Fighting Spirit' (biography) He attended Grangefield Grammar School, and after leaving school, worked in the art-dept of the Evening Gazette local newspaper. In 1966 he joined local band The Roadrunners, along with Paul Rodgers (later of Free/ Bad Company/ Queen) and guitarist Micky Moody (later of Snafu / Whitesnake). Then in 1967, the band left Teesside to try their 'chances' as full-time musicians in London. Bruce Thomas has, since his acrimonious split with Elvis Costello in 1996, subsequently played wth artistes as diverse as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Suzanne Vega, John Wesley Harding. He was also seriously considered, as replacement bass-player for The Who, upon the sudden death of the legendary John Entwhistle. in 2002.

Other notable people include -


Stockton Town Hall
The town's High Street is reputed to be the widest in Englandmarker.

Stockton-on-Tees has many suburbs with individual identities: Eaglescliffemarker, Fairfieldmarker, Grangefieldmarker, Hardwickmarker, Hartburnmarker, Elm Tree Farm, Ingleby Barwickmarker, Nortonmarker, Roseworthmarker, Newtown, Bishopsgarthmarker, Oxbridge, Preston-on-Teesmarker, Thornabymarker and Yarmmarker to name a few.

Stockton town centre has undergone many developments in recent years including the Teesquay Millennium Bridge, the Queen's Campus of Durham Universitymarker which actually lies on the southern banks of the river Tees in Thornaby-on-Tees formerly North Yorkshire, several acres of office buildings erected along the south bank of the River Teesmarker within the Teesdale development and Wellington Square a modern shopping arcade erected upon the old Wellington Street area of the town centre. At Castlegate Quay there is moored a full size replica of Captain Cook's vessel, the Bark "Endeavour". Kellington was also resident on the river in Stockton between 1993 and 2009 when she was broken up in situ. In 1995, after 4 years in the building, the Tees Barragemarker was commissioned. A water sports centre, including White Water, is located there. In 2009, the Infinity Bridge was opened.

While Stockton has its own railway station near to the town centre, Stockton railway stationmarker, more and longer-distance services operate from Thornaby railway stationmarker across the River Tees.

Stockton is also home to the multi-million pound Arc, which opened in 1999 and whose resident drama company is currently the Arden Theatre Company. Stockton F.C. existed from 1882 till 1975, with Thornaby F.C.marker and Norton & Stockton Ancients F.C.marker taking over as the local sides.

Stockton has a firework display on the 5th November which has got bigger in recent years. The 2007 display attracted around 100,000 people and played host to a giant catherine wheel type firework.

Stockton holds the Stockton International Riverside Festival each year, Europe's largest free open air festival. Its 21st year was 30 July to 3 August 2008. The festival has a "5-day programme of outdoor theatre, street entertainment, circus, music and dance, by some of the world's best artists." The festival features acts from performers from all across the world and a carnival procession which travels through the high street. There is a fringe festival which has performances from "some of the biggest names in UK music".

Stockton is the location of HMP Holme Housemarker, a Category B prison for adult men. The prison hold inmates from the Tees Valley, South West Durham, East Durham and North Yorkshire.

Public services

Stockton-on-Tees falls within the jurisdiction of Cleveland Police. Prior to 1974, it was under the jurisdiction of Teesside Constabulary.


  2. Parishes - Stockton on Tees | British History Online

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