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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. 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!

November book of the month November book of the month

An Inventry of Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting-Houses in the North of England

by Christopher Stell

A useful and well illustrated book for everyone interested in architecture and the history of nonconformity. It would also be a useful book for those of you who are researching family history in the North of England with nonconformist ancestors and want to know more about the chapels and meeting houses they attended.

Organised county by county  from Cumberland and Northumberland to Cheshire and the East Riding it records the history of nonconformism in each county and then details the buildings. Photographs, drawings and some floor plans are included. There are clear descriptions of the buildings, their history, memorials, fittings and inscriptions.


The book will be on display throughout November then available in the Centre for Local Studies anytime - just ask the staff!

November painting of the month November painting of the month

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

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

The Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co. Limited

Bridge Builders - Constructional Engineers and General Contractors

Darlington - England

This 1930s catalogue was compiled to show  some typical examples of work carried out by the Company and to promote the company at home and abroad.

The catalogue is divided into two sections, the first showcases bridges built by the Company and highlights bridges such as the Victoria Falls Bridge over the River Zambesi, the King Edward VII Bridge over the River Tyne at Newcastle and the Boothferry Bridge over the River Ouse.

The second section highlights buildings, structures and general contracting work such as Paddington Goods Shed, Karachi Airship Mooring Mast, and a Steel Dome for Toronto University.

It has basic information and clear photographs and is a good introduction to this well known company. Of course we have a range of other material about Cleveland Bridge in the collection and of other local companies too. Please ask staff for further details or search our online catalogue.

The catalogue will be on display in the Centre for Local Studies until 31st October.

Previous books of the month Previous books of the month

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

Two books related books.


Although one is no more than a fragile pamphlet, it is a copy of the Charter of Incorporation of the Borough of Darlington.  The other book is The County Borough of Darlington Official Handbook for 1967, which is an interesting look at the town in that year, the Centenary of the Charter of Incorporation. There are descriptions of new housing, schools, shops and businesses and adverts for businesses you may remember. The book also celebrated the Centenary of the Charter of Incorporation 1867-1967 and includes information about the Mayor’s Chain and the Ceremonial Mace.

September 2017 is the 150th Anniversary of the Charter of Incorporation of the Borough of Darlington. The Charter, which was was granted by Queen Victoria on 13th September 1867 enhanced the political prestige of the town by enabling Darlington to be democratically self - governed. The Charter meant that Darlington ratepayers could now elect a council and have a voice in local politics.

Darlington‘s first council election was held in December 1867 and eighteen town councillors were voted into office. The town had been divided into six wards by the Charter and each ward could elect three councillors.  

The first Mayor was Henry Pease, son of Joseph.  Joseph Pease had been nominated for the role, but owing to his age and infirmity, he declined the office.

The first elected Member of Parliament for Darlington was Edmund Backhouse.


Previous books of the month Previous books of the month

A History of The Denes, Darlington by Chris Lloyd, & Memories of The Denes, Darlington, Celebrating this beautiful urban resource as told by those who know and love The Denes

both published in 2012




These companion volumes tell the history and celebrate the memories of people who used The Denes for play, walking and other leisure activities from its earliest days to recent times. The books are an easy very readable mix of history, clear informative maps, photographs and lively memories and stories.

There is detailed information about the Denes street names at the back of Chris Lloyd's book  with sections on Late - Victorian Statesmen and Canadian streets, and a wonderful fold out plan of the different Denes such as Sheddy Dene, Footie Dene and Paddly Dene in the people’s stories volume, to which the contributors refer when telling their stories.

The books are always available in the Centre for Local Studies. There are also lending copies in both Cockerton Library and Crown Street.

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

England's Vast Industries and Mercantile Marine

A Pictorial Exposition of the Industiral Life of England of the Present Day

Designed, Printed and Published by Messrs. Bemrose & Sons Ltd. London, Derby, Leeds, and Manchester, 1908,

added to library stock 1935

A beautifully produced and unusually colourful book focusing on the Industries in the larger towns and cities of the North East, including Darlington. The book was produced in 1908 to promote the industries in the North East to merchants and importers in places such as France, Russia, Italy, Japan, Argentina, and New South Wales. It was also sent to Chambers of Commerce and British Consuls throughout the world, (for a fuller list see page iii).


There is a good commercial index listing the types of machinery and products manufactured with adverts and a detailed summary of the product, and the same index repeated in French.

The book opens with The Darlington Forge Company, manufacturers of iron, steel forgings and steel castings. It outlines the history of the company, the size and description of its buildings and some of the work it has undertaken such as stern frames, brackets and rudders for steamers for principal mail and passenger lines.

Sections on local companies are interspersed with articles on topics such as North-East England and the North-Eastern Railway, The Tees Ports, Darlington, contributed by Edward Wooler, and The Principal Characteristics of Franco-British Commerce.

Various Darlington companies are featured including Ord and Maddsion whose advert is shown here.




Neasham Elk - a previous book of the month Neasham Elk - a previous book of the month

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


A fascinating little book about the local finds of these amazing animals in 1938 & 1939. The rhinoceros bone was found in a sand and gravel quarry, the elk in clay and peat cuttings made by the Neasham Brick and Tile Company.

There are photographs and geological descriptions of both.

Come in and read this amazing account.

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

The Darlington Illustrated Year Book for the Municipal Year, 1903

This was the first and possibly only (Let us know if you have come across later editions) of the Darlington year book, a slim volume with details of Committees, Magistrates, postal information, lists of public buildings, offices, and lists of trades unions. There are tram timetables for North Road and Cockerton, a list of places of divine worship and more unusually the National Telephone Company Limited - a list of Darlington Subscribers with names addresses and their telephone numbers, surely one the first telephone directories for the town.

Every left hand page of the book has adverts for Darlington shops and businesses, so it complements the Local Studies May display. The adverts have information about the company, photographs or drawings of the stock for sale sometimes with prices, or even one or two have photographs of the shop front with proud staff outside. Adverts are always interesting, whether they help with your research or just provide  amusement and fascination at the goods on sale.

Previous book of the month Previous book of the month


The Public Catalogue Foundation

Oil Paintings in Public Ownership in County Durham


Published in 2008 this is one of a series of publications covering the whole of the United Kingdom with the intention of creating a record of all of the oil, tempera and acrylic paintings in public ownership.

The County Durham volume includes paintings held here in the Centre for Local Studies and in the Darlington Borough Art Collection, as well as those at Beamish, the Bowes Museum and other locations in County Durham. It provides a wonderful quick reference guide to items held in Darlington and further afield.

Any catalogue has its limitations and of course paintings have been added to the Local Studies collection since this date and therefore do not appear in the catalogue. Sadly the many watercolours and works in other media do not appear either.

Amongst the oils in the Library collection are three portraits of unknown women. If you think you might know who any of them are please do let us know.

Several other volumes of the Public Catalogue Foundation covering other parts of the UK are available in the Reference Library or you can search the full catalogue online at

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!



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             


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