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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!

August books of the month August books of the month

Memorial and Record, European War 1914-1918

Pease and Partners, Ltd, Darlington 1920


This little book is an invaluable resource in the Centre for Local Studies. It is a record of all the officials and workmen (categories which are always kept distinct from each other) who were employed by the Pease businesses during the First World War: all of the men that is, who served in the Forces, and what became of them.

Pease and Partners were responsible at this period for workforces in collieries, ironstone mines, limestone quarries, ironworks and what we would now call ‘backroom office’ staff. 31.74% of the total workforce of 13,154 joined up. Of these 4,174 men, 543 died on active service; 124 received medals for bravery. 

The first section, ‘In Memorium’, gives the name, rank, date and location of death, with the distinction between being killed outright, dying later of wounds received, or listed as missing. As well as the obvious infliction of war trauma, there are also deaths from malaria, pneumonia, sickness, gas poisoning, drowning and even ‘accidentally killed’. After this, in ‘Record’, the men are listed by name, rank, regiment and decoration. The final section concentrates on the decorations, including some details as to specifically what bravery was involved. The heroism is often extreme, although the language is very much of its time, the men are praised for ‘great dash’, ‘coolness’, ‘steadiness and contempt of danger’.


War Memorials in Britain

Jim Corke 2005


By way of contrast, here is another small book with an update on the culture of memorialising. This is a national survey of – and indeed history of – the practice of creating works of significance intended to provoke respect, pride and perhaps even remorse for those lost in battle.

The Imperial War Museum has an Inventory of 60,000 war memorials, spanning two thousand years. The small selection in this book is illustrated throughout with many colour photographs, together with an occasionally wry commentary. There are chapters on Long stones and high crosses, Monuments, Stained glass and what the author calls ‘Singularities’ – unusual edifices and architecture, where there is a utilitarian as well as metaphysical function behind the construction.

Darlington is mentioned in the index for its commemorative obelisk in the forecourt of The War Memorial Hospital.

Some intriguing entries include the memorial stone (at Southampton Municipal Golf Course) to a horse, Warrior, who despite being wounded by shrapnel in 1914 recovered to serve out the war and lived on until 1936. In Ashford, Kent there is a Mark IV tank, which was presented to the town, deemed to have made an important contribution to victory in the First World War. It was used for some years subsequently as an electricity substation, renovated in the 1980’s by the Army Engineers, who gave it a protective shelter. At the National Memorial Arboretum there is a life-size sculpture of a polar bear, commemorating the 49th (West Yorkshire) Division in the Second World War – they were prominent in the Arctic campaigns.

There also examples here of the more familiar representations of the soldiers themselves, which cannot but convey the more haunting aspect of memorial. These also make the artistry of the individual sculptor more prominent than, say, in some of the more obviously patriotic and massive columns and towers.


Both books will be on display in the Centre for Local Studies during August and complement the Rememorial WW1 exhibition also on show.



Framed painting of the month Framed painting of the month

Coach & Horses by Samuel Tuke Richardson

Previous books of the month Previous books of the month

Brian Benison

The Brewers and Breweries of North East England (2004)


As reference books go, it might seem at first sight that this would be one for the subject-specialist. It is, after all, chiefly a comprehensive index – fulfilling the brief of the title – a historical guide to brewing in the North East, defined as Northumberland and County Durham, from the 18th Century to the year 2000. It is arranged alphabetically by place-name, starting at Allendale and ending at Wylam, which is ideal if you have a particular town or village to research.  The only drawback, as a borrower pointed out to us, is that it doesn’t come with free samples.

The information in the book is pulled together from three sources: official statistics, as brewing has always been a thoroughly regulated business; from trade directories; and from ‘descriptive accounts’, very often drawn from local newspapers. The text is in interspersed throughout with black and white illustrations, images of brewing ephemera, such as bottle labels, photographs, awards and advertisements. These have a charm all of their own. Who could fail to be tempted by

 ‘Pratt’s celebrated INVALID STOUT –

 Known all over the World for its Excellence and Purity –

 For Tic and Nervous Complaints put half a Bottle into a saucepan and heat it on the fire.  

It makes the weak, strong! The strong, stronger!’

Four and a half pages are devoted to Darlington, a total of 35 entries, again arranged alphabetically, Some of the names here will be familiar to current residents,  The Turk’s Head, The Hole in the Wall, The Fleece, The Wheatsheaf and many others. What may be more of a surprise is to discover just how many brewing establishments there have been in the town over the years, and that a number were headed up by women. Mrs Alcock in Skinnergate had a ‘brewhouse, malting, granaries .. and an extensive common brewery’ in 1785. Elizabeth Best was brewing at the Bridge End Brewery in the early 1880s, Anne Dennison at the Fleece Inn, Blackwellgate around 1850. The Hinde family in Ridsdale Street were licensees before turning to brewing: George Hinde’s grandmother ran the Wheatsheaf and his mother, the Hole In The Wall.

One of the longer entries illustrates the way the business can be read as an entire social history in microcosm.  The fortunes of The Lion Brewery in Hartlepool, owned by the massively successful Camerons are outlined over a couple of pages. The first premises were erected in 1852 by a man who died two years later, his widow taking over the brewing. The first Cameron arrived on the scene in 1865. From then on it is a tale of steady expansion and takeovers. (They acquired Plews and Sons of Darlington in 1925.) Towards the end of the nineteenth century Cameron and his wife provided free meals to those who were unemployed after the closure of rolling mills, breakfasting 2,500 poor people. One of the firms they took over at Stockton had hydraulic lifts powered by gas in 1898; a pneumatic malting was opened in 1908. By 1974 Cameron’s had some 750 licensed houses. Though it was itself taken over eventually, the name was preserved and still going strong in 2001.

Definitely worth a browse, even if you didn’t know you had an interest in the trade – the book is full of curiosities. We discover that Kelly’s Brewery in Hurworth opened in a former circus kennels. The Whitworth Hall Brewery in Spennymoor, ancestral home of Bobbi Shafto, re-opened for a short run in the 1990’s in the cellar. Would you fancy a pint in Newcastle at The Dog public house in 1833? The Brewhouse drew its water from the river…

The book will be on display in the Centre for Local Studies during July.



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

Life and Work of the Northern Lead Miner

Arthur Raistrick and Arthur Roberts


This evocative book is chiefly made up of photographs, 200 in total, taken from a collection held at Beamish Museum. They cover the period of the later phase of Lead Mining in the North Pennines, including the Tees, Tyne and Wear Valleys, and some way into Cumbria and Yorkshire.  Most of them were taken between 1860 and 1910. The first thing to say is, ‘Don’t skip the Introduction!’  The book opens with eleven pages giving the history of the industry and provides essential background for the photographic record. Even if you don’t intend to open a mine of your own – though there is enough detail, almost, to make that feasible – the text gives you the information you need to be able to interpret the visual evidence:  not just what the photos are saying, but even, you begin to suspect, what the mute faces would be saying if they could.

Dim memories of O Level Geography lessons may be stirred by the description of the processes of mining for lead. The material covered includes the access to and extraction of the ore, the dressing and smelting of it and all the logistical paraphernalia associated with transporting it between the various stages. Obviously, entire books could be written about what is covered in single sentences here –  the use of horses and ponies – and little boys; the chemical and mechanical ingenuity of a procedure that evolved through generations – from Roman times to the present day. Particular geographical points of interest may emerge for some readers, encountering familiar names and discovering what industrial history lies behind their now more tranquil environs, eg Greenside Mine at Helvellyn, the workings at Alston, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Eggleston and even Richmond – there is a picture of the Weighing of Lead at Richmond Station in around 1870.

It is the human story that will stay with you and, as ever, that is in the detail. We are told that a man would usually arrive at work – and it could be a long hike along the Level, or tunnel - ‘wet-shod’, unless he had uncommonly stout boots, because he would have been sloshing through the streams that were an inescapable feature of draining slopes, not to mention the water wheels used for hoisting in the deeper shafts. One job for the smaller lads was to be a ‘windy billie’, operating a hand blower to keep the air stirring. If you worked above ground in the smelting process, your face would be red-hot but the back of your neck forever in a draught, the ventilation necessary to stop you being poisoned by the fumes. The ‘dressing’ wasn’t much better, entirely exposed to the elements and constantly wet because everything to do with breaking down the first product, or Bouse, was conducted with the aid of water.

If nothing else, the vocabulary is fascinating: Scrabble players take note and ‘Call my Bluffers’ prepare to hazard a guess… as to the meaning of… Hushing, and Hotching, the Buddle and Tremmel, the Adit, Stope and Winze.

And at last to the pictures, which immediately make more sense in the light of the explanation that precedes them. The first ones cover very early stage mining, the opencast gashes and round ‘bell pit’ workings that date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are small mine buildings as well as the more complex, extensive accumulations of machine housings that start to look like villages in their own right. Equipment and men, groups and individuals, countryside and interiors, all are accompanied with a little text to fix the scene and date. What most linger in the memory are inevitably the photographs of the work itself, the tunnelling, the primitive mechanical inventions, the obvious danger and difficulty, the dark and the dust. The last few photographs illustrate a little of the cultural life of the mining communities, its parades and bands. The final one, ‘The Farewell’, shows a Weardale mining family about to emigrate: 1880 onwards saw such a drop in the price of lead that many mines closed permanently.

 This is a sobering book in many ways but a highly necessary one if we are to read our industrial landscape right.

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!

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             

From the collection From the collection

Darlington Racing Pigeon Society, Season 1909

From the collection From the collection

William John Cudworth 1815-1906

 Engineer & Quaker teacher

From the collection From the collection

Fair in Market Place

by Arthur Haward

From the collection From the collection

Covered Market with Market Cross by Arthur Haward

From the collection From the collection

The Market Tower by A. B. Dresser, 1912

From the collection From the collection

Frederick Milbank 1820-1898

From the collection From the collection

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.

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

Arthur Pease 1837-1898

of Hummersknott, colliery owner & iron master


From the collection From the collection

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

From the collection From the collection

St. Cuthbert's Church by B. Bigland

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