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County Durham
Grid reference: NZ440200
Location: 54°34’12"N, 1°19’12"W
Population: 83,490  (2009 est)
Post town: Stockton-on-Tees
Postcode: TS16 - TS21
Dialling code: 01642
Local Government
Council: Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton North, Stockton South

Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in County Durham. It stands on the River Tees which forms Durham’s southern boundary but it has spread its urban area so that several suburbs of the town lie in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

The town is located on the north shore of the River Tees. The town's extreme northern and western areas are located on slightly higher ground than the town centre, which is located directly on the north bank of the Tees. These offer views of the town with its relatively mid-rise centre and the surrounding Tees Valley area.

Stockton has grown by the an agglomeration of towns and villages so that many of its suburbs retain their individual identities.

The town

Castlegate Quay

The town's High Street is reputed to be the widest in England.[1]

Wellington Square, a modern shopping arcade erected upon the old Wellington Street area of the town centre, and Infinity Bridge. At Castlegate Quay there is moored a full size replica of Captain Cook's vessel, the Endeavour. The Kellington was also moored on the river in Stockton between 1993 and 2009 when she was broken up in situ.

Stockton town centre has undergone many developments in recent years including the Teesquay Millennium Footbridge. On the Yorkshire bank are found several acres of office buildings within the Teesdale development. The Queen's Campus of Durham University lies on the southern banks of the River Tees in Thornaby-on-Tees in Yorkshire.

In 1995, after 4 years in the building, the Tees Barrage was commissioned. The Tees Barrage White Water Course is found on the river at Stockton.

In 2009, the Infinity Bridge over the Tees was opened.

Stockton is also home to the multimillion-pound Arc, which opened in 1999 and whose resident drama company is currently the Arden Theatre Company.


Stockton began as an early English settlement on high ground close to the northern bank of the River Tees. The manor of Stockton was created in around 1138. It was bought by Hugh de Puiset, Bishop of Durham in 1189.

Stockton's market can trace its history back to 1310, when Bishop Bek of Durham granted a market charter - to our town of Stockton a market upon every Wednesday for ever.

Stockton Castle is first referred to in 1376. In 1644 during the Civil War, a Scottish army captured the castle and held it until 1646. At the end of the Civil War the castle was destroyed on the orders of Parliament. There are no known accurate depictions of the castle in existence.[2] A shopping centre, the Castlegate Centre, now stands where the castle once stood.

On 27 September 1825 the town took part in one of the iconic moments of the Industrial Revolution, for on this day the world's first steam-hauled passenger train set forth on the new Stockton and Darlington Railway. On the first day the "Locomotion" drew a train bring coal and up to 600 passengers. Stockton town also has the world's oldest passenger railway station building, and also contains much Georgian architecture, notably its theatre, built in 1766.

In June 1890 Major Robert Ropner offered a piece of land to the people of Stockton which could be used as a public park, provided that the local council would lay it out tastefully and keep it forever. Just over three years later, on 4 October 1893, the park, Ropner Park, was officially opened by the then Duke and Duchess of York. After a century of regular use by the people of Stockton, the park was refurbished and renovated between 2004-2007 to its former glory by Stockton Council, thanks to a £2.65m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It includes a new bandstand, based on the original design, a Park Ranger's Office and a café, (run by the local charity, the Friends of Ropner Park).


The Infinity Bridge, opened in 2009

Major industries in Stockton have included ship building and repairing, steel and chemicals.

The town is famous for its associations with the Stockton and Darlington Railway on which ran the world's first steam hauled passenger train in 1825.

During the twentieth century the town's heavy industry declined dramatically, along with that of the surrounding Teesside area. Since the 1980s the town has seen an increase in service industries.


Stockton has a firework display on the 5th November which has got bigger in recent years. The 2007 display attracted around 100,000 people and played host to a giant catherine wheel type firework.

Stockton holds the Stockton International Riverside Festival each year, Europe's largest free open air festival.[3] Its 21st year was 30 July to 3 August 2008. The festival has a "5-day programme of outdoor theatre, street entertainment, circus, music and dance, by some of the world's best artists."[4] The festival features acts from performers from all across the world[5] and a carnival procession which travels through High Street.[6] There is a fringe festival which has performances from "some of the biggest names in UK music".[7]


The Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative is a 20-year vision for regenerating the urban core of the Tees Valley, the main focus being the area along the banks of the River Tees between the two centres of Stockton and Middlesbrough. The "master plan" has been drawn up by environmental design specialists Gillespies, the eventual aim being to create a distinctive high-quality city of over 320,000 citizens at the heart of the Tees Valley, by connecting both Middlesbrough and Stockton along the Tees corridor. The project will include not only the existing developments at North Shore, Stockton and Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, but many others over a 15-20 year period.


  1. Parishes - Stockton on Tees | British History Online
  3. "SIRF Fringe Festival". Retrieved 2008-08-02. "Stockton International Riverside Festival is Europe's largest free open air festival" 
  4. "SIRF Fringe Festival". Retrieved 2008-08-02. "5-day programme of outdoor theatre, street entertainment, circus, music and dance" 
  5. "SIRF Programme". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  6. "SIRF Carnival". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  7. "SIRF Fringe Festival". Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 

Outside links