Land of the Prince Bishops.

One of the English counties. It is situated in the north east of England. Bordered on the north by Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. South is North Yorkshire and Cleveland. To the west we have Cumbria and to the east the North Sea. There is some beautiful countryside right from the coast to the North Penines in the west.

Its principle conurbation is the City of Durham. The area has a noble history stretching back to Anglo-Saxon times.

More recently, the main industry in the area was coal mining but sadly that’s all gone now; the last pit closing in 1993, ending a history that could be traced back as far as the thirteenth century. At its peak, mid to late 19th century, the region had 225 pits employing over 72000 people.

Linked to mining, the area also has a history in the railways. Fuelled by the need to transport large amounts of coal, Edward Pease teamed up with George Stephenson to build railways. In 1825, the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened - the first passenger railway; the famous Locomotion engine drawing 36 carriages a total of 9 miles in two hours.

If you’re ever in the area I think that the best place to get a feel for the area’s history is Beamish Museum. This is a living museum dedicated to the late 19th century. That is, they try to recreate the history there. There is a drift mine, school, pub, miner’s cottages, steam railway and much more.

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