Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Darlington (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 28783 15715


Workshops, circa 1853 by Joseph Sparkes for the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company. Constructed of small coursed squared sandstone, now mostly rendered, with brick and freestone dressings under welsh slate roofs.

PLAN: a rectangular building comprising a tall central block of two bays and two storeys set at right angles to the track, with a nine bay south range and an eight bay north range, both of single storey construction. Carriages entered and left the building by the principal east entrance via a spur from the coal yard branch line, and two turntables within the central block aligned with two longitudinal internal tracks, which ran the length of the building.

EXTERIOR: MAIN (EAST) ELEVATION: 2-bay and 2-storey central block, with quoins and a plain sill band to the upper windows with a top frieze. There is a principal ground floor entrance with stepped voussoirs, now partly blocked. Two first floor windows in stone architraves, boarded over. Single storey flanking ranges have quoins and all window openings are set in shallow segmental-headed panels. The windows in the north range are large cross casements, now blocked while those in the south range have recently inserted modern U-pvc replacements. All roofs are hipped with chimneys at the sides and rear of the central block. WEST ELEVATION: 3-bay and 3-storeys; all window openings of central block have plain sashes or plate-glass windows, all blocked and a small recessed doorway to the right. RIGHT AND LEFT RETURNS: each of 3-bays and 2-storeys with a large centrally placed vehicle entry. INTERIOR: The central bay originally formed a repair and lifting shop with a loft over and a small cottage to the rear. This has been remodelled by the removal of walls, flues and fireplaces to form a central space; the upper parts of the walls are therefore carried on large iron beams. The timber runways for an underhung travelling crane, clearly a secondary feature, survive within the interior of the modified building. The loft formed the works's pattern store and has king post trusses with hips to the east and west ends. The south range originally housed heated stores and offices in the end bay, while the remaining part formed the paint shop. The floor of the south range has been lowered by 1m; an inspection pit has been inserted. The north range formed joiners and blacksmiths shops. Internal structures have been built in both ranges to create offices and associated spaces. Both ranges have Queen Post roofs with raked struts and triple side purlins, similar to those in the nearby North Road Station.

HISTORY: The carriage works is situated in the north western part of the site known since the 1830's as North Road and developed by the Stockton & Darlington Railway between 1831 and 1853. The site occupies a triangle of land between the original Stockton & Darlington railway which opened for traffic on the 27th September 1825, and a branch line to a coal depot opened on the same day. This became the location for most of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company's subsequent development in Darlington. All of the key buildings on this site are therefore from the first generation of the Railway Age when the form and function of railway building was being developed by trial and error. The carriage works was the last building to be constructed on the North Road site; from its earliest years the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company had contracted out the building of its carriages, and repairs were probably carried out at Shildon. In 1853, this changed and the Company developed a purpose built works for the construction and maintenance of railway carriages, probably reflecting the growth in passenger traffic since the company's early years. Joseph Sparkes designed the works and it is thought that his original drawings proposed a more elaborate, ornamental building than the utilitarian building finally constructed. With the advent of longer carriages, which could not be accommodated in the works with its central transverse access using turntables rather than gable-end doors, the building went out of use around 1884. It subsequently supported a number of uses and in the 1990's it became occupied by heritage railway organisations as a workshop.

SOURCES: unpublished summary of the site conservation Plan (Department of Archaeology, University of York) by Robert Clarke, Museum Manager.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE This 1853 carriage works was designed by Joseph Sparkes for the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company and it falls into the important second phase of development of the railway system between 1841 and 1850. It is of special interest because of its early date for a railway company building of this type, its importance in the evolution of railway building design and its rarity as a surviving example. It also possesses clear group value as a component of the Stockton & Darlington railway terminal complex, the world's first modern railway.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 10 Aug 1999
Reference: IOE01/00445/05
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Alan Bradley. Source Historic England Archive
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