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Centre for

Local Studies


Current displays & events Current displays & events

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. Come and see the framed original on the wall in the Centre for Local Studies in October.

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!

Book of the month for April Book of the month for April

Annual Reports on the Health of the County Borough of Darlington


As World Health Day is on 7th April it seems appropriate that April's book of the month should be the Annual Reports on the Health of the County Borough of Darlington that are kept in the Centre for Local Studies.


These are a very interesting resource for those researching the history of Darlington and were published each year from 1911 – 1969.

 They contain general statistics such as average rooms per house, families per house and persons per family and have unemployment statistics and poor law relief statistics. Information about the water supply, sanitary conditions and the condition and cleanliness of premises such as milk suppliers, meat traders, give insight into living conditions and what life would have been like in the town at that time.

 Statistics for a variety of infectious and other diseases are contained within the report. Some of these diseases readers will have heard of such as smallpox and scarlet fever. There are other diseases such as Enteric fever, Ophthalmia neonaturum and Encephalitis Lethargica which readers will be less aware of. Looking at the whole picture for Darlington can be interesting if you have an ancestor who died from such a disease. Reading these annual reports helps put health into perspective at a particular time and can therefore give your family history more of a context.

 There is an overview of the different hospitals and there are details of new legislation which came into place during the year.

 We also have 'Annual Reports Of The Medical Officer Of Health And Principal School Medical Officer'. These include incidence of infectious diseases such as influenza. A variety of other subjects are covered in the report such as health education, housing problems and accidents at home. Also in the collection at Darlington Library we have similar Annual Reports for County Durham (1896-1973), and Newcastle Upon Tyne (1883-1947).

 A valuable resource of information you may not find anywhere else.

Painting of the month - April Painting of the month - April

The Old Mill Race, Darlington by Samuel Fothergill, 1884

Previous book of the month Previous book of the month

The Mystery of Easter Island by Katherine Routledge


As International Women's Day is on 8th March, it seems appropriate that March's book of the month was written by a remarkable Darlington woman, Katherine Routledge.



Katherine was the daughter of Gurney Pease. She graduated with honours from Oxford and she travelled to South Africa to investigate the resettlement of single women from England to South Africa. These are both remarkable achievements for a woman of her times.

In 1913 Katherine set off to Easter Island on what would be the first attempt to give a systematic and detailed account of the island.


This book, The Mystery of Easter Island is the account of the voyage and her findings on the island. It discusses the island's famous statues, the bird cult of the island and the Rongo-rongo script, a series of symbols found on Easter Island. The book covers all aspects of island life such as family life and marriage, funeral rituals and housing.

Beautiful photos and illustrations really make the book an enjoyable read and give an informative understanding of the island and its people at that time.

There is also description of the making of the boat which made the voyage and the various places where the boat stopped on the way to and from Easter Island such as Santiago and Buenos Aires.

This is a must read book for those who like to armchair travel.


There will be more information on display about Katherine Routledge in the Centre for Local Studies 8th -15th March together with books about other local women.


A previous book of the month A previous book of the month

From Thornfield to Thornfield Road by Patricia Dean 


This book will appeal to anyone interested in prominent Darlington figures and hidden Darlington buildings as well as people just interested in the history of Darlington generally. The book is very readable and may inspire you to trace the history of your house or a building in your area that you have an interest in. The types of resources the author uses are available in the Centre for Local Studies and the Durham County Record Office.

 Thornfield was a substantial brick and stone house set in seven acres, on land off Carmel Road.

John Marley, a mining and civil engineer and colliery owner had Thornfield built in 1859. He lived there with his family and the author traces them through the census returns and Register of Electors until 1903, when the author follows other occupiers and later describes the development of Thornfield Road.

 The development of the house and surrounding land is shown through maps and plans, building a picture up of what happened to the house over the decades.

 The book is well illustrated with photographs such as Thornfield while it was occupied by the Marley family, a Marley family photograph dated 1874, and this painting from the Local Studies collection by Alfred Longley.

 The book ends with a sources section which would be helpful for anyone wanting to research the subject themselves and of course staff in the Centre for Local Studies at Darlington Library can help anyone wanting to research similar topics.

The book is on display in the Centre for Local Studies throughout February.


A previous book of the month A previous book of the month

Up There

The North-East Football Boom and Bust

by Michael Walker



A fascinating read for North East Football fans. This book will take readers through the highs and many lows of North East football. There are plenty of memories of North East Football's most colourful characters like the Middlesbrough players Emmerson and Juninho and Brian Clough.

There is an entertaining chapter on Darlington for Darlington fans.

For football fans with an interest in social history there is plenty of detail about North East society and how it relates to North East football.

There is truly something of interest for all North East football fans in this book.

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!




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

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

Thornfield, Darlington by A. R. Longley


From the collection From the collection

Cockerton by an unknown artist

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