powered by FreeFind




MARKET TOWNS OF DURHAM (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Stockton in 1842

STOCKTON, distinguished as STOCKTON-UPON-TEES, a town in the south-west division of Stockton ward, in the county of Durham, 340 miles from the General Post Office, London, by railway through Birmingham, Warrington, Manchester, Normanton, York, and Darlington ; 242 miles by the coach (formerly mail) road through Barnet, Biggleswade, Norman Cross, Stamford, Grantham, Newark, East Retford, Doncaster, Abberford, Boroughbridge, Thirsk, and Yarm.

Stockton was at an early period the residence of the bishops of Durham, who had a hall here, which afterwards was called the castle, though in fact only a strong moated manor-house, where Bishop Morton tool. refuge (A.D. 1640) when the army of Charles I was defeated by the Scots in skirmish at Newburn. In 1645 the town was occupied by the Scotch army; and in 1647 the castle was ordered by parliament to be dismantled, and was entirely demolished in 1652. It commanded the passage of the river. The traces of the moat and embankment still mark the site.

The town is situated on the left bank of the Tees, which approaches the town in a northward direction, and then makes a sudden bend toward the east. The town is laid out with considerable regularity ; the principal street is broad, and extends nearly a mile in a straight line from south to north : other streets either branch from this at right angles or run parallel to it. The wharf is on the bank of the river, just above the bend, and runs parallel to the High Street. Near the south end of the High Street the London and Darlington roads, united, enter it from the west ; and quite at its southern extremity a road from it bends first to the south-east, then to the east, and crosses the Tees into Yorkshire by a stone bridge of five arches, erected (A.D. 1764-1771) in the place of the previously existing ferry. The streets are well paved, and lighted with gas, under a local act. The houses are for the most part of brick ; the few that are built of stone are from the materials of the castle. The church is on the east side of the High Street, and at the eastern end of the church is a green, now inclosed and formed into a square. Altogether Stockton is one of the handsomest and cleanest towns in the north of England. The church is a spacious and convenient brick building, erected early in the last century, with a tower at the west end 80 feet high. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, Unitarians, Quakers, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, and Roman Catholics, The town-hall, in the middle of the High Street, is a respectable quadrangular building, surmounted by a clock-tower and spire. There are a custom-house, a news-room, assembly-rooms, billiard-rooms, and a small theatre. There is a race-course on the opposite side of the Tees.

The parish of Stockton comprehends an area of 4,190 acres : the population, in 1831, was 7,991 : it is divided into the three townships of Stockton, Hartburn, and Preston : the township of Stockton, which contains the town, has an area of 2,610 acres, with a population, in 1831, of 7,763. The principal manufacture is that of linen and sail-cloth, which latter employs 400 hands : some ship-building, rope and sail making, and yarn and worsted spinning are carried on : there are also iron and brass foundries, breweries, and several corn-mills. Stockton is a port : the harbour is formed by the river Tees, the navigation of which has been improved by a cut just below the town, whereby a considerable bend is avoided. The chief imports are timber, deals, masts, spars, staves, iron, hemp, flax, tallow, oak-bark, linseed, clover-seed, hides, &c., chiefly from the Baltic, Holland, Hamburg, and British America ; and groceries, wine, spirits, and colonial produce, brought coastwise. The exports to foreign parts are chiefly lead, and that in small quantities : the exports coastwise to London, Leith, Hull, Sunderland, &c., are chiefly of flour, butter, cheese, bacon, oak timber, linen, linen and worsted yarn, lead, and especially coal, the export of which has much increased. Communication is maintained with London and with Newcastle-upon-Tyne by steam-packets ; and with Darlington, York, Manchester, Birmingham, and London by railway. The Stockton and Darlington Railway, which forms the first part of this line of communication, has one terminus on the quay, in the very heart of the town, and extends by Yarm and Darlington to Witton Colliery, near Bishop Auckland. A branch to Middlesbrough, a rising port in Yorkshire, lower down on the Tees, parts from the main line just to the south of the town of Stockton, and is carried over the Tees by a suspension-bridge (just above the stone bridge at Stockton), 240 feet long within the piers, and 30 feet above low-water mark. This railway was commenced under an act obtained in 1821, and was opened in 1825. Its whole length with the branches is 54 miles : it is the first railway on which locomotive engines were employed. A branch of the Clarence Railway (which extends from the Stockton and Darlington Railway, between Darlington and Bishop Auckland, to the mouth of the Tees, on the Durham side), has its terminus on the east side of the town.

There are two weekly markets (Wednesday and Saturday) and two yearly fairs, besides a cattle-fair or great market on the last Wednesday of every month. There are four banking establishments at Stockton. There are extensive coal-works and some brick-yards near the town, and a salmon and other fishery in the Tees.

Stockton has a savings’-bank, a mechanics’ institution, a dispensary, and almshouses.

Stockton is a borough by prescription ; it has no charter, nor had the corporate officers any jurisdiction. Petty-sessions were held weekly by the county magistrates for Stockton ward. The borough comprehended only a small portion of the town ; but a considerable extension of its limits has been recommended. By the Municipal Corporations’ Reform Act the borough was divided into two wards, and has six aldermen and eighteen councillors. The borough has now a commission of the peace. Stockton is a polling-station for the southern division of the county of Durham.

The living of Stockton is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Durham, of the clear yearly value of £247, with a glebe-house.

The township had, in 1833, twenty-one day-schools, with 902 children of both sexes ; and five Sunday-schools, with 611 children. Of the day-schools, one, with 203 boys and 70 girls, was supported by endowment ; and another, with 40 girls, partly by endowment and partly by annual subscription. The other townships of the parish have no school. A later account enumerates a grammar-school, a national school, a blue-coat charity-school, and seventeen private schools.