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Travel North - 14: Living in the Past, Museum Status for the North of England?

Getting up steam - 'Streaks' from across the Pond join the home team at York

Nameplate on A4 'Dwight D Eisenhower', recently returned from the US for restoration along with 'Dominion of Canada' from the Canadian collection

Nameplate on A4 'Dwight D Eisenhower', recently returned from the US for restoration along with 'Dominion of Canada' from the Canadian collection

The Great Gathering - a bevy of Class A4 Pacifics beside the 70' turntable, installed at the time the building was part of York North loco shed

The Great Gathering - a bevy of Class A4 Pacifics beside the 70' turntable, installed at the time the building was part of York North loco shed

Just visiting - new-build Peppercorn LNER A1 60163 ' Tornado' at the NRM - constructed at Darlington near North Road Station ('Head of Steam') Museum. A P2 2-8-2 to Gresley design is to be built by the same people

Just visiting - new-build Peppercorn LNER A1 60163 ' Tornado' at the NRM - constructed at Darlington near North Road Station ('Head of Steam') Museum. A P2 2-8-2 to Gresley design is to be built by the same people

National Railway Museum, York

Design excellence for their time...

Patrick Stirling-designed single driver (4-2-2) express locomotive for the Great Northern Railway. Adequate for when carriages were short four-wheelers, hopeless for heavier traffic. A short-sighted - if handsome - investment in capital equipment

Patrick Stirling-designed single driver (4-2-2) express locomotive for the Great Northern Railway. Adequate for when carriages were short four-wheelers, hopeless for heavier traffic. A short-sighted - if handsome - investment in capital equipment

East Coast Joint Stock teak bodied corridor clerestory-roofed bogie carriage built York early in the 20th Century. Locomotives at this time were also heavier, Atlantics (4-4-2). From the 1920s they would be LNER Pacifics (4-6-2) like 'Flying Scotsman

East Coast Joint Stock teak bodied corridor clerestory-roofed bogie carriage built York early in the 20th Century. Locomotives at this time were also heavier, Atlantics (4-4-2). From the 1920s they would be LNER Pacifics (4-6-2) like 'Flying Scotsman

Next to the ECJS carriage above, a brake 3rd Class highly varnished teak bodied Gresley LNER carriage - note the handsome white-wall wheels,  finishing as standard in the 20s

Next to the ECJS carriage above, a brake 3rd Class highly varnished teak bodied Gresley LNER carriage - note the handsome white-wall wheels, finishing as standard in the 20s

With nationalisation came a new, standard approach to carriage design. This is a Buffet car in the carmine and cream livery of the late 1940-1955 era of British Railways. Note the Gresley LNER bogies. Carriage built at York probably in 1948-50

With nationalisation came a new, standard approach to carriage design. This is a Buffet car in the carmine and cream livery of the late 1940-1955 era of British Railways. Note the Gresley LNER bogies. Carriage built at York probably in 1948-50

National Railway Museum, York

  • National Railway Museum
    The National Railway Museum in York and Shildon is home to the UK's national rail collection. Includes museum visitor info, events, exhibitions and collections.

Across 175 years of the railways in Britain and abroad

Mallard plaque attached to her boiler casing records the date and speed she achieved her record run in 1938, logged by Westinghouse technicians immediately behind the loco in...

Mallard plaque attached to her boiler casing records the date and speed she achieved her record run in 1938, logged by Westinghouse technicians immediately behind the loco in...

The former NER and LNER Dynamometer Car. Step up and see the front-line technology as it was then before WWII, the graphs, the charts and speed checks (no speedometers in loco cabs then)

The former NER and LNER Dynamometer Car. Step up and see the front-line technology as it was then before WWII, the graphs, the charts and speed checks (no speedometers in loco cabs then)

Queen Victoria's favoured railway saloon in LSWR lilac and plum livery

Queen Victoria's favoured railway saloon in LSWR lilac and plum livery

In the Great Hall from the NER footbridge, nearside LBSCR 'Gladstone' in its grand green livery (the CME was colour blind and no-one dared challenge him); behind is LNWR 2-2-2

In the Great Hall from the NER footbridge, nearside LBSCR 'Gladstone' in its grand green livery (the CME was colour blind and no-one dared challenge him); behind is LNWR 2-2-2

State of the art in the 60s and 70s, Class 31 British Rail diesel in the blue and dove grey livery applied 1967

State of the art in the 60s and 70s, Class 31 British Rail diesel in the blue and dove grey livery applied 1967

The NRM's Great Hall with locomotives of different vintage ranged around the 70' turntable (enlarged to accommodate York's fleet of Pacifics (4-6-2 Express Passenger locomotives, 11 in 1950, 7 in 1965)

The NRM's Great Hall with locomotives of different vintage ranged around the 70' turntable (enlarged to accommodate York's fleet of Pacifics (4-6-2 Express Passenger locomotives, 11 in 1950, 7 in 1965)

Whereas the larger-than-life statue of 'Auld Geordie George' takes pride of place at the north end of the Great Hall...

Whereas the larger-than-life statue of 'Auld Geordie George' takes pride of place at the north end of the Great Hall...

This statue of Richard Trevithick gathers dust in the 'other exhibits' hall at the back of the NRM ought to be at the other end, by the entrance from the Peter Allen building. I'm no Cornishman but... George 'lifted' some of his ideas, gave no credit

This statue of Richard Trevithick gathers dust in the 'other exhibits' hall at the back of the NRM ought to be at the other end, by the entrance from the Peter Allen building. I'm no Cornishman but... George 'lifted' some of his ideas, gave no credit

Some of us here in 'Blighty' think tourists only come to Britain to see the past.

They might be right! We don't make much any more, aside from the Nissan factory at Sunderland, some scattered shipbuilding, a bit of engineering here and there, some steelmaking - less and less of that, with the Indian company Tata saying 'ta-ta' to Teesside and elsewhere - and open-cast mining or quarrying in the countryside you'd be forgiven for thinking we just get drunk and roll about in the streets at home or in Ibiza or Faliraki (Cyprus), or rob our grannies for dope money. Many of our industries are basically 'screw-driver' operations where cars and things made abroad are assembled here as they arrive in containers at Felixstowe or Tilbury. Hardly any of our industries are British-owned, and when the bosses overseas 'feel the pinch' or think themselves threatened by militant unions they just 'up-sticks' and plonk down somewhere else where the work-force is 'docile', i.e., China, Korea or Taiwan.

But hold on there. We have to ask ourselves why Britain with its memories is so attractive to overseas visitors. Is it value for money, or the comfort of the premises. They may be right on one count, about some of the premises like pubs and restaurants. Value for money? (In a way, yes, although some accommodation in London is a rip-off, as are the hot dog or burger stands! Think about some places in Europe then certainly there's comfort and value-for-money. Then again London has a tarnished reputation as the 'rip-off' capital of Europe, so we have to go further afield).

Where to? Stratford-upon-Avon? Chester? York?

Stratford-upon-Avon is linked with 'the Bard', it gets crowded too, just like 'the Globe' on the South Bank in London, reconstructed in honour of Sam Wanamaker who envisaged the New Globe Theatre (the old one burnt down long ago).

Chester? Walled city, quaint-looking half-timbered houses and Georgian mansions - just the same as Bath in some ways (see the ghosts of Romans in the baths?).

How about York? Well, pretty much like Chester, walled city, museums, quaint old buildings and ruins. There are a couple of castles, lots of Roman left-overs and the remains of an abbey near Lendal Bridge. There's the Shambles leading down to Stonegate. The Shambles, or Fleshammels, is where York's butchers laid out their wares on their window shelves. Don't forget the Jorvik Centre! (Travelling back through time in a dodgem car to the days of the Danes, a gift shop when you come out). And there's a massive railway museum near the main railway station, 17th most visited museum in Britain!

The National Railway Museum (NRM) www.nrm.org.uk/. phone 0870 421 4001. Coo-ee! Seriously, it has to be seen to be believed. Part of it is York North Locomotive Shed, with a viewing gallery and a large 70' (21.34m) turntable that's operated several times daily with a commentary. There's a library for reference, under the gallery is a gigantic 7mm scale model railway that attracts young an old alike and the main viewing floor is filled with static and animated exhibits, short film shows and the world record-holding steam locomotive.

'Mallard' is there in all her LNER garter blue livery with brass commemorative plaque and a viewing platform alongside for you to climb and inspect the spacious cab. Nearby are several historic locomotives, including a huge one built by North British for the Chinese Railway.The cab floor of this monster is big enough to hold a disco dance floor! Not far away is a carriage from the Japanese Shinkansen 'bullet' train. Although not built in Britain, this is a 'nod' toward the historic birthplace of the railway networks, George Hudson's York & North Midland Railway of the 1840s and early 1850s. Compare this high-speed tilting vehicle with one of the Victorian four-wheeled 1st Class carriages of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway and you'll understand just how far the railways have come since George Stephenson's inaugural train on the Stockton & Darlington Railway one hundred and eighty-seven years ago in September this year (2012).

Take the underpass to the other side of Leeman Road where the later addition to the NRM, the former goods depot is situated, known as the Peter Allen Building. The platforms still have track laid in, and at one side are carriages of Queen Victoria's royal train with a period locomotive sporting banners and plaque. Along the other platforms are other period railway company locomotives and respective passenger or goods vehicles. In the entrance hall is a motor-baggage car of a Southern Railway electric train in its shiny green livery.

Finally, right there in the lobby, on your way in/out is the larger gift and souvenir shop with a wide array of collectables, postcards, posters, books and smaller items like pencils, pens, rubbers, notepads etc.Just as you thought you were home and dry. A magnet for the kids (well the children in all of us)! I always stop off here to look for items I feel might be useful downstairs on 'Thoraldby'. Those of us with bulging wallets or healthy bank accounts need not fear here, but I warn you, let your kinds off the leash in here and you'll be sore-tried to get them out again. The NRM on this site (the former 50A, York Shed) was opened in 1975 by Prince Philip to coincide with the Shildon 150 Pageant, the inauguration of the S&DR. The previous, cramped site was next to the 1877 Thomas Prosser-designed York Station, with access for pedestrians by was of metal steps from the incline on the way from Micklegate. I remember visiting in October 1971 when I went to York on honeymoon with my first wife Karin.

What did I say about Britain being a big museum? It's fun, though, isn't it. It gets better! Travelling north of here, up the A1 and westward across the north of Chester-le-Street on the A693 to Beamish. What's so special about Beamish you ask? This is the open air museum with laid-out streets, trams, a store with pulleyways to transfer change to the counters, where you pay in pennies.

All right, what's so big about spending a penny, I hear you ask (go on then, ask)? Have you seen the size of pre-decimalisation pennies? Come to think of it, all pre-decimalisation coins were 'chunky'. Florins (two-shilling pieces, also known as 'Two Bob bits' now worth 10p), Half-crowns, (two shillings and six pence, 12.5p, or 'Two-and-a-kick'), Shillings (or 'Bobs', 5p now) and so on down to farthings with the image of a wren on the reverse side. The 'Thruppeny bit' had an interesting shape, with twelve sides dated from the early 20th Century. In Victorian times it was nickel silver.

Getting off coins, nose around the streets. There are several different locations reflecting different eras from Victorian times to later. There is a Sunderland trolleybus that dates back to the 1950s, still running probably until the 1970s when the trolleybus routes in the North-east were broadly withdrawn and replaced by diesel engined buses. You can dress up if you're that way minded, in Victorian garb. The kids enjoy the Victorian schoolroom - they didn't have to go to school in Victorian times, when teachers could cane a pupil for minor 'offences', and 'teacher's pet' would be promoted to ink monitor or whatever - where they go through the motions of learning the Alphabet by rote. You can buy old pre-decimalisation coins to use in the shops (harking back to money, it's never far from our thoughts).

Admission prices and other information on activities and events are available from www.beamish.org.uk, phone 0191 370 4000. A ticket entitles you to visit more than once over twelve months, concessionary prices applicable for the over-60's, students and under-16's. It needn't be just a once-in-a-lifetime's experience unless your visits are limited by distance (different continent/country outside the UK).

Beamish Open air Museum

A time for old-time, history re-lived

Beamish Museum shop interior - vintage currency is supplied by them to do your shopping, in Victorian era £-s-d (that's pounds, shillings and pence, not dope)

Beamish Museum shop interior - vintage currency is supplied by them to do your shopping, in Victorian era £-s-d (that's pounds, shillings and pence, not dope)

Beamish double-decker tram of early 1900s Newcastle Corporation vintage - I rode on a similar one in Leeds to Roundhay Park when I was around 10

Beamish double-decker tram of early 1900s Newcastle Corporation vintage - I rode on a similar one in Leeds to Roundhay Park when I was around 10

Barry Miller shot of an Edwardian (early 1900s) period single-decker omnibus

Barry Miller shot of an Edwardian (early 1900s) period single-decker omnibus

North Eastern Railway Wilson Worsdell Class H 0-4-0 at Beamish as Class Y7 985 in LNER livery

North Eastern Railway Wilson Worsdell Class H 0-4-0 at Beamish as Class Y7 985 in LNER livery

Wallis Advance steam powered road roller, still in use post-WWII for building or relaying roads damaged by bombing

Wallis Advance steam powered road roller, still in use post-WWII for building or relaying roads damaged by bombing

Beamish street scene with early double-decker ('knife-board') bus passing a double-decker tram. Double-decker trams were still fairly common on Britain's city and town streets until the mid-1950s

Beamish street scene with early double-decker ('knife-board') bus passing a double-decker tram. Double-decker trams were still fairly common on Britain's city and town streets until the mid-1950s

Beamish Open Air Museum

  • Beamish, The Living Museum of the North
    Beamish is a world famous museum telling the story of the people of North East England during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods, Beamish, DH9 0RG, 0191 870 4000, open 10am-5pm daily.

On the nearest weekend to September 25th, 2025 all eyes will be on Darlington and Shildon...

Why? It will have been two centuries since George Stephenson stood on the 'footplate' of 'Locomotion No. 1' between Shildon and Stockton Quay for the inaugural run of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The most recent celebrations occurred in 1975 for the S&DR 150, at which many preserved steam locomotives were presented to the public. Arrangements have been slowly gathering pace for the S&DR 200 with Darlington Council, the 'Head of Steam' exhibition centre at the S&DR's North Road station and at the National Railway Museum's Shildon railway heritage centre, 'Locomotion'. Several preservation societies and heritage railways will also be involved, including the well-known North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group who own several locally built steam locomotives. Of course steam will feature, but more recent diesel and electric traction will be involved. Remember the 'Deltics'? There are many diesel classes that took over from steam on British Railways in the 1960s (some say too hastily), and electric traction paved the way for what is considered an environmentally more acceptable means of mass transport. Whatever your interpretation, the Shildon Cavalcade will represent all motive power previously and currently in use.

Age of Steam at 'Locomotion'

In 1892 Wilson Worsdell introduced his North Eastern Railway Class M1. Locomotive No. 1621 is seen here in all her finery, Darlington apple green livery with gold sizing on the cabside numbers

In 1892 Wilson Worsdell introduced his North Eastern Railway Class M1. Locomotive No. 1621 is seen here in all her finery, Darlington apple green livery with gold sizing on the cabside numbers

Locomotion Shildon

Alternatives to Steam at Locomotion, Shildon

Prototype blue 'Deltic' diesel, 'Alycidon' with speed whiskers poses on the floor of the museum adjacent to 'Green Arrow'

Prototype blue 'Deltic' diesel, 'Alycidon' with speed whiskers poses on the floor of the museum adjacent to 'Green Arrow'

Southern Railway third rail electric shunting locomotive from the Waterloo & City line (now part of London Underground)

Southern Railway third rail electric shunting locomotive from the Waterloo & City line (now part of London Underground)

Wilson Worsdell's electric shunting locomotive with pantographs to pick up from overhead wires and 'shoes' for third rail. Two were built and used on the Redheugh Incline at Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Wilson Worsdell's electric shunting locomotive with pantographs to pick up from overhead wires and 'shoes' for third rail. Two were built and used on the Redheugh Incline at Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Whickham Gangers Trolley, used by track maintenance gangs to cover several miles of rails - speed was restricted to 20-30 mph with a two stroke engine similar to motorcycle motors

Whickham Gangers Trolley, used by track maintenance gangs to cover several miles of rails - speed was restricted to 20-30 mph with a two stroke engine similar to motorcycle motors

Restoration - job well done

North Road Station languished for some time in the 1960s-1970s before Darlington council bought half the site to develop as a museum to their railway heritage before it was totally vandalised. One platform is still used for trains to Shildon

North Road Station languished for some time in the 1960s-1970s before Darlington council bought half the site to develop as a museum to their railway heritage before it was totally vandalised. One platform is still used for trains to Shildon

'Head of Steam', as the Railway Heritage side of North Road is known. Access to the station is along a footpath beside the main Durham road via McNay Street (he was an early S&DR secretary)

'Head of Steam', as the Railway Heritage side of North Road is known. Access to the station is along a footpath beside the main Durham road via McNay Street (he was an early S&DR secretary)

'Head of Steam'

The original North Road station of the Stockton & Darlington Railway was to the right of the Durham Turnpike, across the road from the present site. This building was opened not long after, the first purpose-built railway station in Darlington. There is history, ghosts dwell here, and Robert Stephenson's 'Locomotion No.1' as well as early S&DR passenger and mineral rolling stock - this station is steeped in history.

On weekends across the way there are the workshops of the A1 Locomotive Trust and the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group - whose other workshop is at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway - always worth a look for new developments.

Use the web link above to check opening hours. Stop off at the Cafe; coffee is also available in the entrance lobby if you're 'on the go'. One Saturday every month there's access to the NELPG and A1 Locomotive workshop across the road, where soon a new locomotive is to take shape. The Gresley P2 2-8-2 class used to perform north of the border on heavily loaded passenger workings.

The Old Timers, pioneers of the iron road at North Road, Darlington

Star attraction at 'Head of Steam', Darlington, the Grand-daddy of them all, S&DR 'Locomotion' hauled the inauguration train on 25th September, 1825

Star attraction at 'Head of Steam', Darlington, the Grand-daddy of them all, S&DR 'Locomotion' hauled the inauguration train on 25th September, 1825

Later S&DR locomotive 'Derwent' stands in front of NER Tennant Class 1463. This engine graced a plinth at nearby Bank Top Station with 'Locomotion' close by at the end of the south-facing bay platforms

Later S&DR locomotive 'Derwent' stands in front of NER Tennant Class 1463. This engine graced a plinth at nearby Bank Top Station with 'Locomotion' close by at the end of the south-facing bay platforms

A section of the S&DR model railway at the back of the museum - the model 'reaches' from Shildon Colliery in the west to Stockton Quayside in the east

A section of the S&DR model railway at the back of the museum - the model 'reaches' from Shildon Colliery in the west to Stockton Quayside in the east

Owned by the NRM, recently in the care of NELPG, this is the last NER-built T3 0-8-0.  Re-classified by LNER as Q7, BR changed nothing but the livery. Last of the class, no. 901 built in 1919. Earlier Class Q6 outlasted them in service by five years

Owned by the NRM, recently in the care of NELPG, this is the last NER-built T3 0-8-0. Re-classified by LNER as Q7, BR changed nothing but the livery. Last of the class, no. 901 built in 1919. Earlier Class Q6 outlasted them in service by five years

 Driver's eye-view of the way ahead. The front aspect was a split window with adjustable glass panels for extra ventilation.

Driver's eye-view of the way ahead. The front aspect was a split window with adjustable glass panels for extra ventilation.

The fireman's domain: the fire door where the shiny black stuff went in by the shovel-full. These were hungry, heavy freight engines at one time diagrammed to take the 50-ton ironstone wagons from Tyne Dock to Consett via Beamish

The fireman's domain: the fire door where the shiny black stuff went in by the shovel-full. These were hungry, heavy freight engines at one time diagrammed to take the 50-ton ironstone wagons from Tyne Dock to Consett via Beamish

Head of Steam Railway Museum

  • Darlington Borough Council - Head of Steam
    Head of Steam museum is devoted to the area formerly served by the North Eastern Railway and the railway industry of Darlington. North Road Station, Darlington, DL3 6ST ph: 01325 460532

In the booking hall at North Road

Inside the office looking from where packages were handed over for shipment. The booking office manager had a nice big comfy armchair on  the left. The scene is set as in S&DR days

Inside the office looking from where packages were handed over for shipment. The booking office manager had a nice big comfy armchair on the left. The scene is set as in S&DR days

The general public bought their tickets at these ornate windows (cut out at waist level for passing tickets and cash- how did they manage without plastic?) The high shelf was for ladies to put their bags whilst they fished for their purses.

The general public bought their tickets at these ornate windows (cut out at waist level for passing tickets and cash- how did they manage without plastic?) The high shelf was for ladies to put their bags whilst they fished for their purses.

Head of Steam Railway Museum, North Road, Darlington, County Durham

Locomotive and wagon building in and around Darlington

Originally the North Eastern Railway (NER) had their engines built at Gateshead from the mid-1880s, occupying half the Gateshead Greenesfield Station (overlooking the 'coaly Tyne'). Production began also at North Road, Darlington in 1858 at its Stockton & Darlington (S&DR) site, taken over in 1863 by the NER near the S&DR carriage works (the building now occupied at one end by the A1 Locomotive Society - soon to embark on building a new engine of the Gresley P2 2-8-2 class - and at the other by the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG), currently working on the NER P3/LNER-BR(NE) J27 0-6-0. Work on locomotives ended at Gateshead late in 1932. The S&DR Shildon 'Soho' locomotive works continued on repairs until 1871. From then until the mid-1980s Shildon concentrated on building wagons for British Rail. The wagon works was closed down around the same time, at the height of Margaret Thatcher's premiership.

Memories around North Road and Shildon Wagon Works

In the wagon workshops, early days - a frame has been assembled, now it has to be tightened. Work goes on apace elsewhere on the suspension, wheels, braking system, couplings, steel cross braces, planking and hinging for doors etc...

In the wagon workshops, early days - a frame has been assembled, now it has to be tightened. Work goes on apace elsewhere on the suspension, wheels, braking system, couplings, steel cross braces, planking and hinging for doors etc...

The timber store and sawmill, intermediary between underframe assembly and paintshop, a hive of activity in building new wagons or vans and replacements for burgeoning traffic to all corners of mainland Britain

The timber store and sawmill, intermediary between underframe assembly and paintshop, a hive of activity in building new wagons or vans and replacements for burgeoning traffic to all corners of mainland Britain

Wagons completed and painted, the time came for lettering & numbering. One man paints the 'N' in the left panel, his workmate adds the 'E'. 'NE' was the cypher for North Eastern and London & North Eastern Railway revenue earning wagons and vans

Wagons completed and painted, the time came for lettering & numbering. One man paints the 'N' in the left panel, his workmate adds the 'E'. 'NE' was the cypher for North Eastern and London & North Eastern Railway revenue earning wagons and vans

The automatic riveter, a part of the loco boiler plant at North Road, Darlington that reduced the necessary workforce, at the same time increasing output at a time when motive power was needed for the variety of traffic that built up to the Thirties

The automatic riveter, a part of the loco boiler plant at North Road, Darlington that reduced the necessary workforce, at the same time increasing output at a time when motive power was needed for the variety of traffic that built up to the Thirties

A completed boiler rests on a redundant NER Atlantic (4-4-2) locomotive frame, its cylinder housings and buffers still attached, screw coupling replaced by 3-link

A completed boiler rests on a redundant NER Atlantic (4-4-2) locomotive frame, its cylinder housings and buffers still attached, screw coupling replaced by 3-link

One of the lathe cutters exhibited in the North Road Station museum, 'Head of Steam'

One of the lathe cutters exhibited in the North Road Station museum, 'Head of Steam'

The 'gripping' end of the lathe, not needed to re-set for every task when you've got several set for the same work en masse

The 'gripping' end of the lathe, not needed to re-set for every task when you've got several set for the same work en masse

On the branches around Darlington

North east of Darlington a Class A8 4-6-2 passenger tank locomotive (rebuilt from 1931 from Raven NER Class D 4-4-4/LNER H1) has a short train headed by Gresley non-corridor Brake 3rd

North east of Darlington a Class A8 4-6-2 passenger tank locomotive (rebuilt from 1931 from Raven NER Class D 4-4-4/LNER H1) has a short train headed by Gresley non-corridor Brake 3rd

Known locally as 'S&D Crossing', this was where the original Stockton & Darlington Railway passed north of Darlington between North Road and Fighting Cocks on the way south-east to Preston Park (Eaglescliffe) and Stockton-on-Tees

Known locally as 'S&D Crossing', this was where the original Stockton & Darlington Railway passed north of Darlington between North Road and Fighting Cocks on the way south-east to Preston Park (Eaglescliffe) and Stockton-on-Tees

© 2012 Alan R Lancaster

Comments

Alan R Lancaster (author) from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on June 21, 2012:

Hello again Nell!

Trouble is, we often get taken for granted. We've built half the world's railways and bridges as well. Again, trouble is they're taken for granted. Robert Stephenson (son of 'Geordie' George) built railways and bridges not only in North and South America but also in Europe, around the Alps - not a lot of people know that. Some of the best examples of British engineering are a long way away, but at least we can get to Beamish and York etc.

Hello also 'thranax', welcome to the 'museum islands'. You also have a lot in the US., maybe it's not effectively collected together for viewing.

Nell Rose from England on June 21, 2012:

Hi alan, I think that we do love the history and play on it for the tourists, but behind the scenes we haven't lost our skills, we just don't do them 'out there' any more. I think we have the best scientists, techno's and doctors, along with the phycicists and so on. We invented the internet, we are behind most of the buildings around the world, ever watch The worlds greatest buildings? on tv I think its on Quest, we go to the middle of the deserts and make a huge pyramid with moving walls for conferences! haha! everywhere there is construction, there is a brit. It never fails to amaze me how we are always the ones in charge even in countries where I have never even heard of! Did you see the building of the new inland river in one of the Arab countries? No? we did that too! you have got to watch Quest! haha! the funny thing was about the river one, was that when it was finished with all this hi tech stuff, the Sheik turned around and said thanks to the other arabs but forgot to mention us! We did it all! and thats the point, we do all the highly intelligent genius stuff, but then stand back and be modest, but believe me, we are the best! let me know if you watch them, they are amazing!

Andrew from Rep Boston MA on June 16, 2012:

Alancaster - wonderful hub! Plenty of pictures and details of a place I never really see the history of here in the US.

~thranax~

Alan R Lancaster (author) from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on June 16, 2012:

Thanks Unnamed Harald. Much 'restructuring' is down to Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, but there are a lot of neglected buildings here as well. Beamish consists of buildings dismantled elsewhere and rebuilt with the last couple of decades, no more. There's a talent in 'planting' buildings to make them look as if they 'belong'. The NRM is a case of 'marrying' old, not so old and relatively new.

David Hunt from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 15, 2012:

Another nice hub, alancaster. I think a lot of Americans love the history and the countryside-- and the "authenticity" of the old places. Sure, there are reconstructions, especially in some castles, but when you figure the reconstructions happened hundreds of years ago, well, that's historic in its own right.