town church railway bishop iron
DARLINGTON, a parliamentary and municipal borough, parish, and township of England, in the southern division of the county of Durham, is situated on the main line of the North-Eastern Railway, 39 miles south of Newcastle and 235 miles north of London. The town extends east and west to a considerable distance from the River Skerne, a small tributary of the Tees, which traverses it from north to south.
The traditional history of Darlington commences about 1000 years ago, when, as is asserted, the monks who fled with the body of St Cuthbert from the invading Danes rested for a short time on the site of the present town. This circumstance led Styr the son of Ulphus, prince of Deira, to bestow upon St Cuthbert, early in the 11th century, " Dearnington with its appendages." At this early date Darlington passed into the hands of the church, and from that time till the middle of the 19th century its history and its government were closely connected with the see of Durham. The bishop appointed a borough bailiff to manage the affairs of the town until 1867, when the office was abolished by the Act of Incorporation. Towards the close of the 1 1 th century a collegiate church was established in Darlington by Bishop Carilepho, and nearly 100 years later Bishop Pudsey built St Cuthbert's Collegiate Church, which is still deservedly esteemed the most notable ecclesiastical edifice in the county after the cathedral at Durham. The bishop of the diocese had a manor house at Darlington, and a deanery was established in connection with the church by Bishop Neville. So closely identified was the town with the church that it is not surprizing that its inhabitants looked with a scant sympathy upon the Reformation. In both the ill-fated attempts to restore the ancient rites, which filled the north with bloodshed, Darlington sided with the rebels. Apart from ecclesiastical affairs there is little of general interest in the early history of the town. Its later history is closely associated with that of the small but enthusiastic sect, in whose eyes all war is criminal. Under the later Stuarts, the Society of Friends, which had effected a settlement here, was subjected to an intermittent persecution; but after the Revolution the Friends laid the foundations of that prosperity which has enabled them for more than a century to occupy the most prominent position in Darlington. To them, and especially to Edward Pease, Darlington owes the distinction of having been the birthplace of the modern railway. The Stockton and Darlington Railway, a short line of twenty-seven miles in length, seven of which were worked by stationary engines on the summit of inclines, and the other twenty by locomotives and by horses, was primarily constructed to cheapen the cost of carrying coal from the Auckland pits to Stockton and Darlington. This railway, of which George Stephenson was the engineer, was projected in 1818, and opened on the 27th of September 1825. The latter date marks the new birth of Darlington. Prior to 1825 it was a small market town, chiefly remarkable for the manufacture of linen, worsted, and flax. After that date it rapidly increased in population and importance, and became the centre of the industrial district of south Durham, which it did much to develop. At the census of 1821, when the construction of the railway was commenced, the population of Darlington, including some outlying villages, was returned as 6551. Twenty-five years thereafter the population had nearly doubled, the return being 12,452. At the census of 1871 the population was 27,730, and when the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the railway was celebrated in 1875, it was estimated that the population had increased to 31,000. The rateable value of property showed an even greater proportionate increase, having risen from £26,137 in 1829 to £125,017 in 1875. The government of Darlington - after having been vested in the hands of a borough bailiff, appointed by the bishop, a board of commissioners, and a local board of health - was in 1867 transferred by the Charter of Incorporation to a town council composed of 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. The- streets of the borough are wide and well laid out. The gas and water supply are both in the hands of the corporation. The covered market, with the town hall and clock tower, occupies part of the spacious market place, where markets are held every Monday for the sale of agricultural produce, live stock, &c., and on Friday afternoon for butter. There are two spacious and tastefully laid-out cemeteries and a public park in the possession of the municipality, which also owns the public baths and the fever hospital. The union workhouse is situated in Darlington. Among the educational establishments may be mentioned a new grammar school, erected at a cost of £10,000 on a foundation which dates from the reign of Elizabeth, and the British and Foreign School Society's training college for female teachers. A mechanics' institute, a small theatre, a subscription library, and reading rooms are among the other local institutions. Including St Cuthbert's Collegiate Church already mentioned, the Church of England has five places of worship in the town, and there are numerous chapels belonging to the nonconformist denominations. Petty sessions are held here weekly, and the county courts monthly. In antiquities the town is not rich. Excepting the collegiate church, which dates from the beginning of the 13th century, almost the only relic of the past is the engine "Locomotive No. 1," the first that ever ran on a public railway, which stands on a pedestal of stone at the North Road station. There is a monument in the town erected to Joseph Pease, "the first Quaker member of Parliament." Before 1825 the Pease family were wealthy mill-owners, and they still own mills containing 270 looms and employing 700 hands ; but their mining undertakings, which were not commenced until after that date, throw the mills completely into the shade. They employ 6500 workmen, and raise more than 3,000,000 tons of minerals per annum. The Darlington Iron Company, with a nominal capital of £350,000, employs 2000 hands, and turns out 90,000 tons of iron rails per annum. The Skerne Iron Company manufactures iron plates for shipbuilding, boilermaking, bridge construction, and other purposes. The South Durham Iron Works, with a capital of £130,000, are exclusively smelting works, producing from their three furnaces about 40,000 tons of pig-iron per annum. Among other industries of the town may be -mentioned waggon-building, malting, and tanning.