Welcome to


Centre for

Local Studies

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Brigham's Bookshop, Coniscliffe Road 

by S. Clark


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.

North Lodge Park Pond and Boat House, 1899

by P.P. Norman

 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!

Cockerton and Haughton le Skerne

Cockerton and Haughton le Skerne by J B Gibbs, 1899

Book of the month

Mary Pease; a memoir.

Journals and letters, compiled by her daughter,

Marion E. Fox. 1911


 Mary Pease was born in 1826 and died in 1909; her lifespan thus more or less covers the period when the Quakers were at their most influential in the town.

Mary herself was one of nine children. Her mother was a travelling minister, a campaigner on many fronts, favourite causes being temperance, anti-slavery and the Deaf and Dumb Society.  Mary remembered how there was ‘often a bandage of vinegar and water across her forehead to mitigate the headache which was making the labour such a toil.’

 Unsurprisingly one of the effects of being brought up in such an atmosphere was a certain seriousness of character. The children were taught to pray in the dark as it was thought that a candle would offer too many distractions.  At aged 8 she was conscious of the difficulty of remaining focussed in Quaker services, confessing, ‘My thoughts wander much in Meeting’. When recording a game of charades played with her cousins she describes having to enact the words ‘Manufactory’ and ‘Fellowship’!

Nineteenth century Quakers were always travelling the country to meet up with each other, and so it was that Mary (in Wednesbury, Birmingham) first encountered the Pease family by way of visits to the Lloyd household from the nieces of her future husband, Henry. He was in fact twenty years her senior and a widower with a son. After a cautious and lengthy courtship they were blessed with a very happy marriage of twenty two years, producing five children of their own.  Henry was the son of Edward (railway) Pease, and the man who made the heroic but ultimately unsuccessful journey with two friends to Russia, a journey made mostly by sledge, in 1854, to try to avert the Crimean War. He lived at Pierremont and  had the vision to more or less build Saltburn, including planting the Valley Gardens, from scratch. He could also claim to be the first passenger to travel by steam train, as he had been on the maiden voyage, the trial run that took place the day before the official opening of the line on the 27th September 1895.

Married life was very busy. Henry was an MP, and eventually Darlington’s Mayor. As well as Pierremont, the family had homes in London, in Saltburn, and at Stanhope Castle in Weardale. In addition to holidays with family and friends in Cornwall, the Lakes, Scotland, there were also many foreign trips, including through France, Spain, Switzerland and Norway. Marion writes that she is astonished to realise how much ‘constant travelling’ her parents were doing, even as her father was nearing the end of his life.

Mary’s journals show how consumed she was with her own duties, what we would now call her ‘good works’ – and yet always castigating herself for not working harder. She was in fact immensely industrious, right into her advanced old age. To give just a flavour, she did secretarial work for thirty years for The Convalescent Home in Saltburn. (This was built in 1871 by the Peases, to give free care to the sick and poor of Darlington, Middlesbrough and Stockton.) She started ‘Mother’s Meetings’ in Darlington and Cockerton, providing a mixture of education, and both spiritual and material support. She opened an Orphan Home for twelve girls. She was on the Committee of Management of Darlington Training College and of the Homes for Waifs and Strays. She was on the Board of Guardians and President of the YWCA. Marion has a daughter’s eye to the practical work involved in all this – it was not just a matter of attending meetings, but of writing endless letters, visiting the sick, keeping accounts, covering books, even making clothes for the orphans. She was also behind the invention of first Coffee-House that opened in Cockerton in 1879, aiming to offer a counter-attraction to the Public House. This was a project that apparently did some useful work for some years, but due to the difficulty of finding suitable staff and because of ‘the insubordination of the young men’ had regretfully to be given up. One more lasting by-product of that initiative was the formation of the Cockerton Brass band. Somehow she also found time, for what she called the ‘pleasant employment’ of writing contributions for the Friends’ Essay Society– a Darlington Quaker tradition that persisted for decades.

 ‘Our mother was a praying not a preaching mother.’  There is always the danger that a book like this comes across as something of a hagiography, especially when put together by a close relative. It bears some of the hallmarks of its time, Victorian in tone and possible a little cloying in its religiosity, for example in the preoccupation with good deaths as proof of Faith. There are so many and mysterious deaths. Babies born and rejoiced over – but ‘taken home’, ie to Heaven, within hours. Just by the way, we come across a description of the sad and untimely end of Edward (the Library benefactor) Pease. The families had set off together on one of their journeys abroad in 1880. She writes how ‘he had charmed us all in those first days in Paris by his brightness of mind and unselfishness in the midst of suffering and weakness – we felt he was in a critical state but did not realise we would never see him again. At Lucerne he passed quietly away. So ended one of the most beautiful lives it has been our privilege to know.’

If nothing else, the human trajectory here – journals which began when she was 14 and continued into her 80s – is compelling. Serious and sensitive, Mary was driven and held herself to very high standards; but the impression she gave to those around her was of unusual gentleness and inner calm. The diaries show equal parts faith and self-doubt. Her intense grief at the loss of Henry is very touching: ‘The fruits upon the trees he knew so well are ripening under the warm sunshine as they have not done for years. Where is he? What is he doing?’ They are reunited in burial in Skinnergate, both names on the same gravestone.


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!



                                               Darlington Official Handbooks  Find out more  


Muckraker. The Scandalous Life & Times of W.T. Stead, Britian's First Investigative Journalist by W. Sydney Robinson   Find out more




British Bookplates by Brian North Lee  Find out more







The Quintessential Cornish. The Life & Work of Norman Cornish by Robert McManners & Gillian Wales Find our more


Alan Kitching, A Life in Letterpress by John L Walters Find out more 




Memorial & Record, European War 1914-1918. Pease & Partners, Limited, Darlington  and War Memorials in Britain by Jim Corke    Find out more



The Brewers and Breweries of North-Eastern England, A Historical Guide by Brian Bennison  Find out more

Life and work of the Northern Lead Miner by Arthur Raistrick & Arthur Roberts  Find out more

The Discovery of Teesdale by Michael D.C. Rudd   Find out more


Lost Houses of County Durham    and also Lost Houses of York and the North Riding  both by Peter Meadows and Edward Waterson    Find out more


                                                                                A History of British Birds by Thomas Bewick    Find out more


The Artists of Northumbria by Marshall Hall  Find out more

Men That Are Gone from the Households of Darlington by Henry Spencer Find out more

Dreaming of Babylon, The Life and Times of Ralph Hodgson by John Harding  Find out more


Sleigh Ride to Russia by Griselda Fox Mason

  Find out more

Ghosts of the North by Melanie Warren & Tony Wells

Find 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             


Kate Jackson by Sydney H Wood

Kate Jackson was leader of the Darlington Orchestral Society and with her sister Agnes ran a musical academy in Esson Road, 'The Misses Jackson - Pianoforte and Violin'

Kate died in 1959

Darlington Racing Pigeon Society, Season 1909

William John Cudworth 1815-1906

 Engineer & Quaker teacher

Hospital Bazaar Opening Ceremony, 25th October 1905

Darlington General Hospital, Greenbank Road, officially opened by the Mayor Mr. J.B. Hodgkin, 6th February1885

Clapham's Rope Works, Tubwell Row

photographer unknown

before 1894


South East Aspect of Darlington in 1760

by Samuel Wilkinson, Del., J. Bailey, Sculp.,

Fair in Market Place

by Arthur Haward

Covered Market with Market Cross by Arthur Haward

The Golden Nag, advertisement and 1910 calendar for J. W. Wright, Saddler and Harness Maker, 4, Priestgate, Darlington

The Market Tower by A. B. Dresser, 1912

Laying of the foundation stone of the Edward Pease Public Library, 4th June 1884, photographer unknown

Darlington Market Place, by F. Lawson

Frederick Milbank 1820-1898

Coach & Horses by Samuel Tuke Richardson

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 the certificates.


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

by an unknown artist



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

Arthur Pease 1837-1898

of Hummersknott, colliery owner & iron master


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

St. Cuthbert's Church by B. Bigland

Advertisement and 1899 calendar for W. Sedgewick,

family grocer and wine merchant,

97 Bondgate, Darlington

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


The Sisters of Mercy Home, Darlington

 by G. A. Fothergill


Thornfield, Darlington by A. R. Longley


Edward Pease 1834-1880 by an unknown photographer

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

photographed by Alfred H. Harrow

The Old Mill Race, Darlington by Samuel Fothergill, 1884

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