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To see what's on in Local Studies, please visit the Events Page

Local Studies catalogue Local Studies catalogue

Local Studies books and pamphlets have now been added to the online library catalogue, click onto the Catalogue link above.

Following 3 years of hard work by staff and volunteers the main card catalogue for Local Studies is available online.However if you are looking for photographs, maps, newspaper indexing or family history resources please ask staff to help you use the card catalogues when you visit.

From the collection From the collection

Tea wrapper used by Jane Bryson


A very decorative tea wrapper used by Jane Bryson, grocer and tea dealer, 9 High Row, in the late 19th century.

From the collection From the collection

Edward Pease Public Library, Crown Street, with bust of Edward Pease and Portrait of the first Librarian, Frank Burgoyne,  Entrance of the Town Hall & Coniscliffe Road

by W. Walker Hodgson


This painting by W. Walker Hodgson who resided in Darlington for a while was given to the Library with the complements of Thomas Wood & Sons, November 1909

From the collection From the collection

Thread Mill and Dam, Darlington by S. Fothergill


If you like this painting call in to the Centre for Local Studies to see other framed paintings and images on display around the walls.

From the collection From the collection

Post House Wynd, Darlington by H.S. (attributed to)


We have no information about this artist. If you have further details, please contact us.

If you find this painting interesting why not call in to the Centre for Local Studies and see the other framed items on display around the walls.

From the collection From the collection

Brigham's Bookshop, Coniscliffe Road 

by S. Clark


From the collection From the collection

James Atkinson by an unknown artist

James Atkinson, Oriental Scholar and Artist, born at Darlington, 1780, died in London, 1852. This painting was presented to this Library in 1893 and shows Atkinson in his uniform as surgeon in the army.

From the collection From the collection

North Lodge Park Pond and Boat House, 1899

by P.P. Norman

Discover more of our collection Discover more of our collection

 On this page we will feature some of our most useful and interesting items of stock.

Some items you will be familiar with, others we hope to introduce you to!

November framed document of the month November framed document of the month

County Borough of Darlington

Darlington Welcome Committee on behalf of their fellow Townsmen & Women in grateful acknowledgement of Loyal & Gallant Services rendered to King & Country in the Greatest of all Struggles for Freedom and the Right.



We have only seen only one other certificate given to a Darlington soldier who surrived WW1 and so far have not found out any other information about when they were presented. We would be interested to know if you have a similar certificate given to your ancestor or if you have more information about them in general.

November book of the month November book of the month

Sleigh Ride to Russia

Griselda Fox Mason

published in 1985


This understated little book concerns a dramatic episode in the lives of three brave men who were tasked to attempt to prevent the outbreak of what became known as the Crimean War. It is an unusual insight (mostly through the medium of their letters) into a unique moment in history.

Joseph Sturge, Robert Charleton and Henry Pease made a 2000 mile round trip over three weeks in February 1854 to meet with the Emperor of Russia and present an address penned by English Quakers urging peace, on avowedly religious rather than political grounds. The book is put together by the great grand-daughter of Henry Pease – Edward (Father of the Railway) Pease’s youngest son.

They travelled first by rail, until the tracks ran out in Konigsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. Henry is rueful when reporting back to his brother on the efficiency of German trains, that they run in ‘a style well calculated to lower an Englishman’s pride as to railway management’. Thereafter it was a carriage, on a sleigh, drawn by six horses at a top speed of six miles an hour – unless impeded and on occasion entirely overwhelmed, by snowdrifts. Having three sets of letters home to draw from, there are plenty of individual insights into the cultural and geographical worlds discovered en route. Russia’s ‘dead markets’ make a big impression for instance – the way the frozen produce has to be hacked up with mallets…

Three weeks then, of considerable tension, what with the hazards of the journey, the vanishing window of opportunity to put their case, and the uncertainty as to whether they would even be granted an audience. The British press was sceptical: the undertaking was reported in the ‘Times’, for instance, as ‘a piece of enthusiastic folly’; our own ‘Darlington and Stockton Times’ had ‘no faith in the success of their mission’.

There is a touching glimpse into the personal impact of the big day itself in one of Henry’s accounts of it, where he talks about waiting to be admitted into the Emperor’s presence: ‘ trying to appear at ease when in reality it was not just so’. The address and the Emperor’s reply are reproduced in full in the text. The former was received politely, but the response was implacable: “On the present occasion, my great duty is to attend to the interests and honour of my country.”

In fact, war was declared five weeks after the visit of what the cartoonists called ‘the three doves’. The remainder of the book is devoted to a round-up of ‘what they did next’: all three continued undaunted in their efforts to promote the interests of peace in other contexts.

The book will be on show in the Centre for Local Studies during November.

Previous book of the month Previous book of the month

Ghosts of the North by Melanie Warren and Tony Wells

The Centre for Local Studies collection is wide ranging, so books about local customs, traditions, folklore and ghosts are also collected. Along with more serious studies there are a number of books in the collection such as this with stories based in places the reader will recognise. Why not pop in and read something different!

This book is a well written collection of stories from all over the north of England that make you feel every scary noise and spooky happening.

There are a host of fascinating characters for you to meet in the book too. One example is Sir Bryan de Blenkinsopp who would only marry a woman if she brought with her a chest of gold heavier than ten strong men could carry. The story of Mr Winter the ghost of North Road station in Darlington is also particularly interesting. The story involves two prominent Darlington figures; the journalist, W.T. Stead and Edward Pease,”Father of the Railways”.

The section on the Brontës will appeal to those who have enjoyed their books. The ghost of Anne Brontë has been seen in a very unusual place. The places where Emily is said to haunt are much more expected.

You can find an interesting way of making old documents which have become illegible, readable again, in the chapter on Mother Shipton. This chapter on Mother Shipton also gives an insight into her life and prophecies.

The chapter ‘The Web Of Death’ is a poignant tale of friendship which any reader will be find truly moving.



Find previous books of the month here Find previous books of the month here

You might enjoy exploring previous books of the month. You can do this below. Just select a title you would like to find out more about and click on the link.

Remember you can come in to the Centre for Local Studies anytime to see the original book. Just call in and ask the staff. They will find the book for you.

If you have used a book in Local Studies which you have found useful or interesting and you think should be featured here, do let us know.

Enjoy finding out more!


Eric's War, Experiences of a Far Eastern Prisoner of War 1941-1945 by Eric Walter Markham Find out more


The Friends in Council by Samuel Tuke Richardson     Find out more


Lady Fry of Darlington by Eliza Orme Explore here


Darlington Half-Holiday Guide by Mr. J.W. Cudworth Explore here

The History of Whessoe Explore here


Up There, The North East Football Boom & Bust by Michael Walker  Explore here


From Thornfield to Thornfield Road by Patricia Dean  Explore here






Annual Reports on the Health of the County Borough of Darlington  Explore here


 The Mystery of Easter Island by Katherine Routledge  Explore here



Inventry of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-houses in the North of England by Christopher Stell Explore here






The World War One Memorial of Eastbourne, Darlington by A. Magrys  Explore here


At the House of Edward Pease, Northgate, Darlington

 by Charles McNab Explore here


Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company Ltd Explore here


Charter of Incorporation of the Borough of Darlington & The County Borough of Darlington Official Handbook

Explore here







Darlington Illustrated Year Book for the Municipal Year, 1903 Explore here


Public Catalogue Foundation, Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in County Durham Explore here




A History of The Denes, Darlington by Chris Lloyd and Memories of The Denes Explore here



A rhinoceros bone from Brierton, nr. West Hartlepool & a skeleton of elk (Cervus alces) from Neasham, near Darlington by C.T. Trechmann Explore here


 England's Vast Industries & Mercantile Marine Explore here


Henry Pease - A Short Story of His Life by Mary Pease    Explore here


Memories of North Road Locomotive Works   Explore here 



Biographical and historical notes on bygone Darlington by W.J. Mountford  Explore here








The History of the Polam Christmas Tree  Explore here






Durham at the Opening of the Twentieth Century and Durham Contemporary Biographies  Explore here


A North Country Album by George A. Fothergill  Explore here

Kelly's Directories Explore here             

Religion, Business and Society by Anne Orde     Explore here                               

Dodds' Darlington Annual for 1917     Explore here             

From the collection From the collection


Edward Pease (1767-1858), The Father of the Railways

by an unknown artist



From the collection From the collection

St. Cuthbert's Church, 1912 by D. Allston

From the collection From the collection

Bishop's Palace, Darlington 1813 by E.A. Elton

From the collecton From the collecton

Advertisement and 1899 calendar for W. Sedgewick,

family grocer and wine merchant,

97 Bondgate, Darlington

From the collection From the collection

Building Shop, Faverdale, Darlington by W. W. Neasham


From the collection From the collection

The Sisters of Mercy Home, Darlington

 by G. A. Fothergill


From the collection From the collection

Thornfield, Darlington by A. R. Longley


From the collection From the collection

Edward Pease 1834-1880 by an unknown photographer

From the collection From the collection

 Opening of the South Park Teahouse, Darlington June 4, 1908

photographed by Alfred H. Harrow

From the collection From the collection

The Old Mill Race, Darlington by Samuel Fothergill, 1884

From the collection From the collection

Cockerton by an unknown artist

From the collection From the collection

Hannah Maria Whitwell (1778-1866) by an unknown artist


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