Stockton-on-Tees

Stockton-on-Tees, simply Stockton, is a large market town in County Durham, England. An unparished collective of wards form the town, with a combined population of 85,000.[1]

Stockton-on-Tees
Town Hall and Shambles Market Hall, Stockton on Tees.jpg
Shambles Market (foreground) and Stockton Town (background) halls
Stockton-on-Tees is located in County Durham
Stockton-on-Tees
Stockton-on-Tees
Location within County Durham
Population85,000 
OS grid referenceNZ440200
• London217 mi (349 km)
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Region
CountryEngland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSTOCKTON-ON-TEES
Postcode districtTS16–TS21
Dialling code01642
PoliceCleveland
FireCleveland
AmbulanceNorth East
UK Parliament
List of places
UK
England
County Durham
54°34′N 1°19′W / 54.57°N 1.32°W / 54.57; -1.32Coordinates: 54°34′N 1°19′W / 54.57°N 1.32°W / 54.57; -1.32

Stockton is a former port town on the River Tees. The river was straightened to facilitate access for larger ships. The ports have since relocated closer to the North Sea, and ships are no longer able to sail from the sea to Stockton due to the Tees Barrage, which was installed to manage tidal flooding.

Stockton's port was served by the Stockton and Darlington Railway, on which coal was ferried from Darlington for shipment from Stockton. The railway was also the world's first permanent steam-locomotive-powered passenger railway, though in recent times Stockton Station's importance has declined.

The Borough of Stockton-on-Tees, a unitary authority governed from the town, has a population of approximately 196,000 (ONS UK, 2017). It is in the Teesside conurbation in the Tees Valley.

HistoryEdit

EtymologyEdit

Stockton is an Anglo-Saxon place name with the common ending ton, meaning farm, or homestead. Stock is thought by some to derive from the Anglo-Saxon Stocc, meaning log, tree trunk, or wooden post. Stockton could therefore mean a farm built of logs. This is disputed because when Stocc forms the first part of a place name, it usually indicates a derivation from the similar word Stoc, meaning cell, monastery, or place. Stoc in place name such as Stoke or Stow usually indicates farms which belonged to a manor or religious house. It is thought that Stockton fell into this category, and perhaps the name is an indication that Stockton was an outpost of Durham or Norton which were both important Anglo-Saxon centres. This is a matter of dispute, but Stockton was a constituent part of Norton until the eighteenth century, when it became an independent parish in its own right. Today the roles have been reversed, and Norton has been incorporated into Stockton.

PrehistoryEdit

Stockton is reportedly the home of the fossilised remains of the most northerly hippopotamus ever discovered. In 1958, an archeological dig four miles (6 km) north-west of the town uncovered a 125,000-year-old hippo's molar tooth. However, no one knows exactly where the tooth was discovered, who discovered it, or why the dig took place. The tooth was sent to the borough's librarian and curator, G. F. Leighton, who then sent it to the Natural History Museum in London. Since then, the tooth has been missing despite efforts to locate it.[2][3]

EarlyEdit

Stockton began as an Anglo-Saxon settlement on high ground close to the northern bank of the River Tees.

The manor of Stockton was built circa 1138, and was purchased by Bishop Pudsey of Durham in 1189. During the 13th century, the bishop changed the village of Stockton into a borough. When the bishop freed Stockton's serfs, craftsmen moved to the new town. The bishop had a residence in Stockton Castle, which was a fortified manor house, the first recorded reference to which was in 1376.

Stockton's market traces its history to 1310,[4] when Bishop Bek of Durham granted a market charter to our town of Stockton a market upon every Wednesday for ever. The town grew into a small but busy port, exporting wool and importing wine, which was in demand by the upper class. However, even by the standards of the time, medieval Stockton-on-Tees was a small town, with a population of only approximately 1,000, and the town did not grow for centuries.

Scotland captured Stockton Castle in 1644, and occupied it until 1646. The castle was destroyed at the order of Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. A shopping centre, the Castlegate Centre, now occupies the castle area, and this is scheduled for demolition in 2022. No known accurate depictions of the castle exist.[5][6]

The Town House was built in 1735, and Stockton's first theatre opened in 1766. In 1771, a five-arch stone bridge was built, replacing the nearby Bishop's Ferry. Until the opening of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in 1911, this was the Tees's most downstream bridging point. From the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution transformed Stockton from a small and quiet market town into a flourishing centre of heavy industry.

IndustryEdit

Shipbuilding in Stockton, which had begun in the 15th century, prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries, when smaller-scale industries also began developing. These included brick, sail, and rope making, the latter now reflected in road names such as Ropery Street in the town centre. Stockton became the major port for County Durham, the North Riding of Yorkshire, and Westmorland during this period, exporting mainly rope made in the town, and agricultural produce and lead from the Yorkshire Dales.[7]

The town grew rapidly as the Industrial Revolution progressed, with iron making and engineering beginning in the town in the 18th century. The town's population grew from 10,000 in 1851 to over 50,000 in 1901 as workers moved in. The discovery of iron ore in the Eston Hills resulted in blast furnaces lining the River Tees from Stockton to the river's mouth. In 1820, an Act set up the Commissioners, a body with responsibility for lighting and cleaning the streets, and from 1822, Stockton-on-Tees was lit by gas.[8]

 
Locomotion No 1 of the Stockton & Darlington Railway at the 1925 100th anniversary cavalcade.

In 1822, Stockton witnessed an event which changed the face of the world forever, and which heralded the dawn of a new era in trade, industry and travel. The first rail of George Stephenson's Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid near St. John's crossing on Bridge Road. Hauled by Locomotion No 1, the great engineer himself manned the engine on its first journey on 27 September 1825.[9] Fellow engineer and friend Timothy Hackworth acted as guard. This was the world's first passenger railway, connecting Stockton with Shildon. The opening of the railway greatly boosted Stockton's economy, making it easier to bring coal to the factories; however, the port declined as business moved downstream to Middlesbrough.

Stockton witnessed another development in 1827. Local chemist John Walker invented the friction match in his shop at 59 High Street. The first sale of these matches was recorded in his sales-book on 7 April 1827, to a Mr. Hixon, a solicitor in the town. Since he did not obtain a patent, Walker received neither fame nor wealth for his invention, but he was able to retire some years before his death. He died in 1859 at the age of 78, and is buried in the parish churchyard in Norton village.

The first bell for Big Ben was cast by John Warner and Sons in Norton on 6 August 1856, but it was damaged beyond repair while being tested on site, and ir had to be replaced by a foundry closer to Westminster.[10]

To cater to the increased population, a hospital opened in Stockton in 1862, and a public library opened in 1877.[11] Public transport also became important. Steam trams began running in the streets in 1881, and these were replaced by electric trams in 1897. Buses in turn replaced the trams in 1931. Public housing also became necessary, and in the 1930s, slums were cleared, and the first council houses were built.

Stockton was still dominated by the engineering industry in the 1930s, and there was also a chemicals industry in the town. In the late 20th century, however, manufacturing severely declined, although the service industries developed somewhat, and today services the town's primary employers.

ModernEdit

On 10 September 1933, the Battle of Stockton took place, in which between 200 and 300 supporters of the British Union of Fascists were taken to Stockton to hold a rally, but they were driven out of town by up to 2,000 anti-fascist demonstrators.

The Ragworth district near the town centre was the scene of rioting in July 1992, when local youths threw stones at buildings, set cars alight, and threw missiles at police and fire crews. The area later saw a £12 million regeneration which involved mass demolition and refurbishment of existing properties, and construction of new housing and community facilities.[12]

GeographyEdit

Stockton lies on the north bank of the River Tees. The town's northern and western alextremities are on slightly higher ground than the town centre, which is directly on the Tees. The town centre and the surrounding Tees valley can thus be seen from much of the borough.

 
Roseworth Shops, Stockton-on-Tees

The town has many estates and suburbs each with individual identities, e.g., Fairfield, Grangefield, Hardwick, Hartburn, Elm Tree Farm, Norton, Roseworth, Newtown, Bishopsgarth and Oxbridge. Within the borough, but distinct settlements from the town of Stockton, are Thornaby-on-Tees, Ingleby Barwick, Billingham and Yarm, with Thornaby-on-Tees, Yarm-on-Tees, and Ingleby Barwick lying within the ceremonial boundaries of the North Riding of Yorkshire. Stockton experiences occasionally earth tremors. For example, it was the epicentre of a tremor measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale on 23 January, 2020.[13]

ClimateEdit

Stockton-on-Tees has an oceanic climate typical of the United Kingdom. Being sheltered by the Lake District and Pennines to the west, Stockton is relatively dry for the U.K., with on average 25 inches (643 mm) of rain a year. Its climate is more continental climate than other parts of the U.K., with above average summer temperatures, and below average winter temperatures. Summer highs typically reach approximately 20 °C (68 °F), while winter lows can fall to several degrees below 0 °C (32 °F). The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate).[14]

Climate data for Stockton-on-Tees
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
(45)
7
(45)
9
(48)
11
(52)
15
(59)
18
(64)
20
(68)
20
(68)
17
(63)
13
(55)
9
(48)
6
(43)
12.5
(54.5)
Average low °C (°F) 2
(36)
2
(36)
3
(37)
4
(39)
7
(45)
9
(48)
11
(52)
12
(54)
10
(50)
7
(45)
4
(39)
2
(36)
6
(43)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 47.2
(1.86)
33.1
(1.30)
44.2
(1.74)
48.3
(1.90)
39.0
(1.54)
72.9
(2.87)
68.9
(2.71)
64.3
(2.53)
50.0
(1.97)
64.9
(2.56)
59.6
(2.35)
51.2
(2.02)
643.6
(25.34)
Source: [15]

Town centreEdit

 
Row of historic buildings in Finkle Street.

Stockton town centre is the heart of the borough. The High Street—the widest in the U.K.[16]—heads north through the town centre from the junction of Bridge Road and Yarm Lane, to Maxwell's Corner, where Norton Road and Bishopton Lane begin. Dovecot Street runs west from the High Street's midway point, and further north, Church Road extends east toward Northshore and the River Tees. At the centre of the High Street stands Stockton-on-Tees Town Hall, dating from 1735, and the Georgian-style Shambles Market Hall. Around the town hall, the largest outdoor market in North East England, which has been in existence since the 1300s, continues to be held every Wednesday and Saturday.[17]

Much of the town centre has a Georgian and late medieval influence, with a number of listed buildings and a variety of architectural types, which help to define the town's identity. The shops predominantly have narrow frontages stretching back to gain floorspace. This burgage plot style is particularly evident around the marketplace and on side streets such as Silver Street, Finkle Street and Ramsgate.

 
Replica of HM Bark Endeavour and Teesside Princess at Castlegate Quay

The town centre retail is largely concentrated within two shopping centres, Castlegate and Wellington Square. The Castlegate is a building, whilst Wellington Square has open shops on pedestrian-only paths. The Castlegate Centre occupies the area where Stockton Castle once stood. Opened in 1972 and scheduled for demolition in 2022, it incorporates a multi-storey car park and an indoor market. Its façade is a dominant feature along the south east of the High Street, and is bounded by Finkle Street, Bridge Road and Tower Street. The Riverside dual carriageway and the River Tees run almost parallel to the rear of the centre. The Teesquay Millennium Footbridge links the rear of the Castlegate Centre to Castlegate Quay on the north side of the river, and to Teesdale Business Park and the Durham University Queen's Campus on the south side in the ceremonial county of the North Riding of Yorkshire. Situated at the north west end of the town centre is Wellington Square shopping centre, built on the old Wellington Street. Opened in 2001 at a cost of £43 million, it houses 46 shop units.

 
Green Dragon Yard

The town centre has retained a number of original yards such as Wasp Nest Yard, Hambletonian Yard, and Ship Inn Yard. Most notable is Green Dragon Yard, a courtyard of restored historic warehouses within a series of alleyways. Considered the cultural quarter of the town, this houses the Green Dragon public house, the Green Dragon Studios (recording studios) and Britain's oldest surviving Georgian Theatre.

Alongside retail outlets, Stockton town centre also has a variety of services including national banks and building societies, travel agents, a post office, hairdressers, beauticians, cafés, and restaurants. The refurbishment of some period buildings has provided space for small firms including solicitors, recruitment agencies, and accountants.

RiversideEdit

Bridges of Stockton
Infinity (opened in 2009) and Teesquay Millenium footbridges along with Victoria Bridge

Since the construction of the Tees Barrage in 1995, the level of the River Tees through the town has permanently been held at high tide, creating a backdrop for riverside events and facilitating watersports activities such as rowing, canoeing, jet skiing, and dragon boat racing. Stockton town centre is elevated above the river, and is separated from the riverside by the A1305 Riverside Road, a dual carriageway which runs parallel to the river from Northshore to Chandlers Wharf.

From the town centre, Bishop Street, Silver Street, Calvert's Lane, and Thistle Green offer views of the river where it meanders around Teesdale Business Park. Durham University Queen's Campus can be seen on the opposite side, alongside the skyline of Middlesbrough in the middle distance and Roseberry Topping in the Cleveland Hills, approximately fifteen miles (24 km) south east.

 
Mezzino student apartments and Chandlers Wharf

Chandlers Wharf is situated on the north side of the river where Bridge Road approaches Victoria Bridge. The area is characterised by a mixture of office and residential accommodation, including the colourful twelve-storey Mezzino student apartments at Rialto Court, a Mecca Bingo hall, Burger King and the two-storey Grosvenor Casino, which opened in September 2011. Adjacent to the wharf is Castlegate Quay, which was once the town's main dock. The quayside is still occupied by Georgian warehouses which have been converted into a number of business units, restaurants, and a gym. A full-size replica of Captain James Cook's ship HM Bark Endeavour was once moored at the quayside, but was sold and moved after refurbishment to a mooring in Whitby. The Teesside Princess, a two-deck river boat, is docked alongside, and offers river cruises all year to Yarm via Preston Park.

Both the north and south banks of the Tees are retained by steel sheet pile walls, and have footpaths along the river edge. The Tees Walkway on the north bank of the river can be accessed from the town centre by the Teesquay Millennium Footbridge or the Riverside Footbridge, and incorporates a cycle path which forms part of the National Cycle Network.

 
Aeolian Motion wind sculpture and view of the riverside at Stockton-on-Tees

The 11-metre Aeolian Motion wind sculpture stands on a grassy slope overlooking the riverside, which becomes an amphitheatre during large events. From Castlegate Quay, the tree-lined path along the waterfront toward the Princess of Wales Bridge opens into green space and a car park for events. Beyond the Princess of Wales Bridge, the slipway at the River Tees Watersports Centre is situated at the western area of Northshore, which is currently under development, and which leads to the Tees Barrage.

TransportEdit

RoadEdit

The town is served by two main arterial roads: the transpennine A66 (east/west) and the A19 (north/south). The A19 connects Stockton with York in the south, and extends to Peterlee and Sunderland, to the north. East of the town centre is the A1046, a mostly dual carriageway which runs through Portrack as Portrack Lane, a major retail zone, particularly for home furnishings and DIY. From Portrack, the A1046 continues to its northern terminus at Port Clarence. The A139 connects the town centre with the northern suburb of Norton. This was the original route for the A19 before a bypass was built to the east of the town.

The A177 runs from Stockton town centre to Durham. Known as Durham Road, it passes Sedgefield en route, and is a major route in to and out of Stockton.

The A66 connects Stockton directly to Middlesbrough (8 miles (13 km) to the east) and Darlington (10 miles (16 km) to the west). Beyond Darlington lies the A1(M). The A66 is connected to Stockton centre by the A135. The old A135 was renumbered A1027, and this continues through the town to Billingham. The A135 is named '1825 Way' to commemorate the former Stockton and Darlington Railway's opening; the 1825 Way's northern end is St John's Crossing, adjacent to the old Stockton Railway Station buildings.

 
Stockton town centre on the north bank of the Tees (to the left)

A number of bus services operate in Stockton, and most services pass through the High Street. The services cover large areas of the region including Middlesbrough, Teesside Park, Thornaby-on-Tees, Billingham, Sedgefield, Durham, Sunderland, Peterlee, and Newcastle upon Tyne. Stagecoach on Teesside and Arriva North East are the major service providers, while six smaller companies also operate in the area.[18]

RailEdit

Stockton Station serves the town; however, more regular and long-distance services run nearby Thornaby.

AirEdit

Teesside International Airport is partially located within the borough, several miles west of the town. The airport offers domestic flights and services international festival destinations, especially in the EU.

EducationEdit

EconomyEdit

Stockton is famous as the home of the friction match and the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which operated the world's first steam-hauled passenger train in 1825. The town also has the world's oldest passenger railway station building. Industry and engineering remained central to Stockton's economy over many years, and major industries have included shipbuilding and repair, heavy engineering, steel, and chemicals manufacturing. However, during the twentieth century, Teesside's heavy industry declined dramatically.

DevelopmentEdit

Since the 1980s, Stockton has seen an increase in service industries. The development of Teesdale Business Park on the south bank of the River Tees has created commercial space with many large service providers opening call centres and offices in the area.[7] Durham University's Queen's Campus is also situated within the Teesdale development, which is linked to the town centre by the Teesquay Millennium Footbridge, Princess of Wales Bridge, and Infinity Bridge. In 1995, after four years' construction, the Tees Barrage was commissioned, permanently holding the upstream river waters at the level of an average high tide.

Future developmentEdit

Work is under way to develop the north bank of the River Tees in Stockton with the £300 million Northshore scheme, which will include new offices, leisure facilities, housing, a 150-bedroom hotel, and a new campus for Durham University.[19][20][21]

In 2012, a long-term scheme aimed at transforming the town centre area was announced, with investment of approximately £38 million, just over £20 million being contributed by Stockton Borough Council, and the remainder coming from the private sector and grants. The investment programme aims to attract more retailers, businesses, and shoppers to the town by opening up new spaces and links to the River Tees, providing easier access and parking, and capitalising on the town's heritage and cultural assets. The programme plans to take advantage of the town's location close to the River Tees, its 700 years as a market town, and its reputation as a centre for performing arts. The scheme is expected to be complete by 2015.

Plans include the introduction of an expansive plaza area 'Infinity View' that will open up the pedestrian area to dramatic views of the award-winning and iconic Infinity Bridge. Under the scheme, the banks of the River Tees will be transformed with a series of impressive light installations which will stretch along the waterfront, from the Princess of Wales Bridge to the Millennium Bridge. This permanent colourful illumination is intended to add value to the riverside businesses and restaurants and play an important part in the council's events programme throughout the year.[22]

Stockton is one of 12 towns in England to share in £1.2 million of funding, support from retail guru Mary Portas and her own team, as part of the Portas Pilot scheme. Selected from over 370 applications, Stockton's Town Team Consortium, comprising Stockton Council, Tees Music Alliance, Durham University Queen's Campus, town centre retailers, A Way Out and Stockton Heritage in Partnership, will have the opportunity to share in expert advice and guidance from a range of retail experts.[23][24]

 
the High Street, Castlegate shops in the background are planned for demolition

The Stockton-Middlesbrough Initiative is a 20-year vision for regenerating the urban core of the Tees Valley, the main focus being the 30 km2 (12 sq mi) 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 bring distinctive high-quality city-scale assets to the centre of the Tees Valley, including the town centres of Stockton and Middlesbrough. The project will include the existing developments at North Shore, Stockton and Middlesbrough, with many others over a 15- to 20-year period.[25]

In February 2020 it was announced that the Castlegate Shopping Centre is set to be demolished in 2022.[26]

IncomeEdit

The mean weekly income for Stockton residents was £522.70 in 2017. This is below the U.K. mean of £538.70. in some parts of Stockton, most households' income is below the poverty threshold. The mean privately-rented house in Stockton cost £525 per month in 2017, compared with a mean of £480 across North East England.[16]

CrimeEdit

The town recorded 125 crimes for every 1,000 people in 2020, higher than simiularly sized Darlington and Hartlepool and 29% higher than ceremonial County Durham's 89 out of 1,000 average. The most common crimes in 2020 were "violence and sexual offences"; 4,445 of this type were recorded in 2020. Eight out of 14 crime trends improved compared to 2019. The Eastbourne and Newham Grange Ward recorded the worst crime statistics in the town.[27] The borough came out lower than the four other Tees Valley boroughs in 2017.[28]

EnforcementEdit

Stockton comes under Cleveland Police's jurastiction. They are two police stations in town, town centre main and Newton neighbourhood. Teesside combined courts are located in Middlesbrough.

HMP Holme House, in Portrack, is a 1211-capacity Category B prison for male adult prisoners who are either remanded in custody or convicted. It also accommodates a small number of young offenders aged 18–21 years. The prison opened in May 1992 and mainly serves south of county Durham as well as north of North Yorkshire.[citation needed]

Culture and communityEdit

CultureEdit

There are a number of nightclubs and bars in the town centre, particularly at the southern end of the High Street. Stockton centre also has a number of restaurants, amusement arcades, a bingo hall, a snooker club, and health and fitness facilities.

Festivals and fairsEdit

Stockton Calling is an Easter Sunday music festival which has taken place across several of Stockton's music venues annually since 2010.[29] In 2019, it celebrated its 11th year, and was headlined by Sophie and the Giants.[29]

The Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF), one of Europe's largest open air festivals, has taken over the town once a year since 1988.[30] Spread over a long weekend, for either four or five days, it attracts over 250,000 visitors, and features a variety of acts such as circus, comedy, music, dance and street theatre.[31]

The annual riverside firework display happens on the first Sunday closest to 5 November, and is typically attended by up to 100,000 spectators from the wider region. The year's events always conclude with the Stockton Sparkles Christmas festival and associated markets.[32][33]

Theatres and music venuesEdit

 
The ARC Theatre & Arts Centre, Dovecot Street

The ARC Theatre & Arts Centre on Dovecot Street was built in 1999, and comprises a multi-purpose arts centre for cinema, theatre, dance, and music. It has three floors including four venues: a 260-seat theatre, a 100-seat studio theatre, a point/music area accommodating 550 standing, and a 130-seat cinema. It also has exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a café, and two bars.

 
Green Dragon Yard

The Georgian Theatre at Green Dragon Yard is Grade II listed, and is the oldest Georgian theatre in the country. Originally opened in 1766, it fell into disrepair during the 19th century, but later functioned as a sweet factory and then a community building. Between 2007 and 2008, the building was given a full makeover along with the neighbouring Green Dragon Studios, and now serves as an intimate venue for live entertainment with a capacity of 200.

The Grade-II listed Globe Theatre built in 1936 is at the north western end of the High Street, and is currently closed whilst undergoing restoration. It was built on the same site as two previous theatres, and has hosted many famous acts such as Buddy Holly, the Platters, Guy Mitchell, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Cilla Black, Carl Perkins, Cliff Richard, the Shadows and Chuck Berry. The Beatles famously played the Globe on Friday 22 November 1963, the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Community facilitiesEdit

Public services provided in Stockton include a general hospital, health advice centres, dental and medical surgeries, a library, churches, employment advice centres, youth projects, energy advice centres and an international family centre. A cluster of municipal buildings is concentrated primarily along Church Road. The police headquarters is the only emergency service station located within the centre, next to Stockton Central Library.

The University Hospital of North Tees is located in the town and serves south east County Durham. It is part of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.

Public parksEdit

 
Ropner Park Lodge

Stockton has a number of public parks and nature reserves. Most notable is Ropner Park, a Victorian-style park on the outskirts of the town, near Hartburn village. Opened in 1893 and renovated in 2007, the park has tree-lined avenues approaching an ornate water fountain, surrounded by rockeries and floral displays. Overlooking a lake, a bandstand features live band music on Sunday afternoons in the summer. Seasonal fairs and occasional organised events are staged at the park throughout the year.

Further upstream is Preston Park, a 100 acres (40 ha) public park by the River Tees. The park hosts many events each year that attract people from across Teesside and further afield. Preston Hall, once the home of Sir Robert Ropner, is situated within the grounds, and is now a museum. The park also houses 'Butterfly World', an artificial tropical environment housing various species of exotic butterflies and reptiles.

Downstream is Portrack Marsh Nature Reserve, a 50 acres (20 ha)[34][35] nature reserve by the northern bank of the river between the Tees Barrage and the Tees Viaduct near Portrack housing estate. It is the last remaining wetland on the lower Tees.[36] Ownership of the reserve is divided between the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and Northumbrian Water, but the reserve is managed by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. The western and northern parts of the reserve are mature marsh, while there are a series of man–made ponds in the south east.

Leisure facilitiesEdit

 
Splash Leisure Centre, Church Road

The town's main leisure facility is 'Splash', a large wet and dry facility on Church Road which includes a 25m pool with a wave machine and flumes, a learner pool, a spa pool, a two-storey fitness facility, dry multi-activity spaces, a café and Sportwall & dance facilities. The Castlegate Quay Watersports Centre also offers opportunities for sailing and paddling on the River Tees.[37]

LibrariesEdit

 
Stockton Central Library on Church Road

Stockton Central Library on Church Road is the largest public library serving the borough of Stockton-on-Tees.[38] Built in 1967, it was fully refurbished in 2011 at a cost of £1.9m. It occupies two floors: the ground floor incorporates Stockton Borough Council's Customer Services Centre, an adult lending library, and a children's library, while the first floor houses the reference library (the central reference department for the borough), a family history suite, a computer suite with free internet access, and the 'Starbooks' café. The library also has conference facilities and an exhibition area.

Public ArtEdit

Stockton FlyerEdit

On 12 June 2016, Stockton Council launched The Stockton Flyer, a stylised model of a flying steam locomotive in a plinth on Stockton High Street. The Flyer was unveiled to mark Queen Elizabeth II's official 90th birthday on 12 June 2016. The Stockton Flyer appears from the plinth every day at 1 p.m.,[39][40] and often draws a crowd of people watching the rising and lowering of the structure.

Aeolian MotionEdit

Designed by Phil Johnson of Ratho Forge, the wind sculpture Aeolian Motion was constructed at the end of Silver Street in March and April 2001. The design is said to impart a unique identity to the seating area, reflecting the character of Stockton, and creating a sense of place.[41]

ReligionEdit

ChristianityEdit

Stockton is a Church of England deanery of the Archdeaconry of Auckland, in the Diocese of Durham. The churches of St Peter, Stockton parish, and St Paul are in the town. Holy Trinity Church was built as an Anglican church, later became Greek Orthodox, and was then destroyed by fire in 1991. The ruins remain on site.

Stockton is in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and is home to the parishes of St Bede, St Cuthbert, English Martyrs and SS Peter and Paul,St Joseph, St Mary, and St Patrick.[42]

English Martyrs and SS Peter and Paul RC Church
St Mary's RC Church

IslamEdit

There are two mosques in Stockton: Jamia Al-Bilal, and Jamia Masjid Farooq E Azam on Bowesfield Lane.

SportEdit

Stockton Cricket Club was established in 1816, and has been located at the Grangefield Cricket Ground since 1891. The club currently fields three senior teams at weekends in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the Dukes North East Premier League.

Stockton Football Club existed from 1882 until it folded in 1975. They played at the Victoria Ground which also held greyhound racing (one of two venues in the town to do so along with Belle Vue Park).[43][44][45][46] The club's assets were transferred to Norton Cricket Club, who subsequently founded the Norton & Stockton Ancients Football Club. There are two other football clubs in the town. Stockton Town F.C. play in the Northern League Division One after consecutive promotions winning the Wearside League in 2016 and Northern League Division 2 in 2017. Meanwhile, Stockton West End currently play in the North Riding Football League Premier Division.

Stockton Rugby Club, established in 1873, is the local Rugby Union team. Home games are now played at the Grangefield Ground following a community partnership agreement with Stockton Cricket club and Grangefield Academy in 2015.

Notable peopleEdit

People born in Stockton include:

Other notable residents include:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Stockton-on-Tees (Unparished Area)". CityPopulation.de. 30 June 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  2. ^ "The 'Stockton Hippo': 5 questions answered by university professor". Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
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