- Chris Lloyd
15th February 2020
The County Durham town of Darlington has a long and interesting history. In medieval times it was a market town for the surrounding area, with records of the market dating back to the twelfth century. The Victorian covered market is an iconic feature at the heart of Darlington today but was hugely controversial when built in the 1860s and its floor collapsed when it opened, killing a local farmer. By this time Darlington had been transformed by the opening of the world’s first passenger railway in the town, built with the wealth acquired by the Pease family’s wool mills.
Secret Darlington explores the lesser-known episodes and characters in the history of the town through the centuries, including scandals such as the Cheese Affair involving the Bishop of Durham, war heroes, sporting stars such as the dentist who won the town’s first Olympic gold medal as a football goalkeeper but who died while making a save, a Quaker-born adventurer who fled to Easter Island, a global screen star engaged to Fred Perry who died in an air raid during the Second World War, campaigners for women’s suffrage, industries that have disappeared today including the forge that built the rudder for the Titanic, and forgotten places of entertainment, not least the largest number of cinemas per head of population in the country in the 1930s. With tales of remarkable people, unusual events and tucked-away historical places, Secret Darlington will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of this town in County Durham.