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County Durham
Grid reference: NZ226263
Location: 54°37’48"N, 1°39’-0"W
Population: 10,341  (2010)
Post town: Shildon
Postcode: DL4
Dialling code: 01388
Local Government
Council: County Durham
Bishop Auckland

Shildon is a town in County Durham. It is situated 2 miles south east of Bishop Auckland and 11 miles north of Darlington. It is 13 miles from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 23 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne across the Tyne in Northumberland.

The Shildon Locomotion Museum is here; a railway museum.


Shildon is considered to be the "cradle of the railways". The town grew when the Stockton and Darlington Railway established its |workshops there in 1825; the Shildon Railway Works. The company owned much of the land, and the population grew to around 9000.

The town's connection with the birth of the railway industry, through the efforts of Timothy Hackworth, are marked at Shildon Locomotion Museum, which opened in September 2004 as part of the National Railway Museum. Daniel Adamson, Hackworth's apprentice and engineer was born in Shildon. Shildon and the Locomotion Museum are served by Shildon railway station on the Tees Valley Line.

Steam locomotives such as the Sans Pareil and Royal George were built at the locomotive works until 1984 when Shildon Works, or Shops, with nearly two centuries of building engines and rolling stock closed.

The reason Shildon became important was coal. The area owes its growth to the rise of the East Durham coalfields in the late 18th and early 19th century.


Shildon grew during the Industrial Revolution. The expansion of coal mining meant the traditional way of moving the coal – along horse-drawn wagon ways – was not sufficient. Instead steam engines began to be used. At first static engines pulled the wagons, but were replaced by moving engines – locomotives.

George Stephenson built a track from Witton Park to Stockton-on-Tees. Static engines pulled the coal wagons over Brussleton, after which they were attached to steam engines. The remains of a static engine houses can be seen at Brusselton. Originally the railway carried only coal, but demand led to passengers being carried. The first passenger train began its journey in Shildon on 27 September 1825.

Shildon was the home of an innovator of the railway industry, Timothy Hackworth. He built one of the first ever engines, the Sans Pareil. His home has now been turned into a railway museum. Next door stands his workshop, the Soho Engine Worksndeveloped from 1833. By 1855 it was a large complex of workshops and other buildings.



Shildon has a number of societies and clubs running in the town.