Skerne Bridge One of 100 Places that Tell the Story of England
Skerne Bridge, Darlington, has been selected as one of the final ten places in the travel and tourism category for Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places. The final ten were selected by historian and author, Bettany Hughes, to help tell the remarkable story of England and its impact on the world.
Listed as a scheduled ancient monument, Skerne Bridge spans the River Skerne in the centre of Darlington and is the oldest working railway bridge in the world – still carrying railway traffic today.
In the early 19th Century, Darlington was a place at the centre of everything. It played its part in connecting not only towns and industry, but visionaries and an entire population, bringing people closer together and expanding the socio-economic status of the country.
When the Stockton and Darlington railway opened in 1825, Locomotion No1 built by George Stephenson, passed over the bridge and began the railway age which was soon to change Britain and the world - a scene which was, for a time, featured on the back of the five pound note.
It was the first to use steam powered locomotives and the first to offer passenger services in addition to goods (which was largely coal in the North East). This development, at a time when industry was thriving, transformed transportation worldwide paving the way for travel and tourism in years to come.