Crook, County Durham

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Crook is located in County Durham
Location within County Durham
Population10,019 [1]
OS grid referenceNZ165356
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townCROOK
Postcode districtDL15
Dialling code01388
FireCounty Durham and Darlington
AmbulanceNorth East
EU ParliamentNorth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
County Durham
54°42′47″N 1°44′56″W / 54.713°N 1.749°W / 54.713; -1.749Coordinates: 54°42′47″N 1°44′56″W / 54.713°N 1.749°W / 54.713; -1.749

Crook is a historic market town in County Durham, in the North East of England.

Located a couple of miles north of the River Wear, Crook lies about 9 miles (14.5 km) south-west of the historic city of Durham, 5 miles (8 km) north-west of Bishop Auckland and 2 miles (3.5 km) from Willington. The A690 road from Durham turns into the A689 leading up through Wolsingham and Stanhope into the upper reaches of Weardale (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Located on the edge of Weardale, Crook is consequently sometimes referred to as the "Gateway to Weardale".

The centre of Crook, a designated conservation area, features a variety of shops and businesses with the market held on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are two prominent churches, the centrally located St Catherine's CE and Our Lady Immaculate & St Cuthbert's RC on Church Hill. On top of the hills to the east sits Crook Golf Club. For a town of its size Crook also features a good selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants.[original research?]

Crook is the 10th largest settlement in County Durham and the 35th largest in the North East of England as of 2016


Crook first appeared as an agricultural village around 1795 although its surrounding districts – Billy Row, Stanley, White Lea, Roddymoor and Helmington Row – were established much earlier.[2] In these days Crook was predominantly farmland; however, it also had an Inn and a blacksmith shop, consequently the primary field of employment was within the agricultural industry. 40 years later; Crook became a mining village, and thrived as the coal was very close to the surface[2] and soon there were over 20 mines around the Crook area, and by the end of the nineteenth century the town had developed rapidly in population and economy. However a lot of the population in the area had declined in the following century as the coal mines and industries closed with over 34% of the population being unemployed.[2]

Crook's football team, Crook Town F.C., have won the FA Amateur Cup five times, most recently beating Enfield F.C. in 1964, before the cup was abolished in 1974. This record is second only to Crook's near neighbours, Bishop Auckland F.C.. The club have also reached the third round of the FA Cup and formed a key role in the development of FC Barcelona, playing a number of friendly matches in the 1910s and 1920s.

The town is also home to oldest purpose built Cinema in the North, built as the Electric Palace and opened on 21 November 1910. Currently the building is a Car Parts and Accessories shop but a group was set up in 2015 with the intention of restoring the building back to a working cinema. Much of the original interior features remain inside.

In 2014, Lidl announced they were to open a new store in Crook, on the site of the former Co-op Food store on New Road, the store opened in June 2017. In September 2016, Aldi announced plans to open a new store in the town on Elliott street, which was to create 30 new jobs.[needs update]


Crook landscape
Crook landscape

Crook has a backdrop of traditional and modern buildings. The tallest building in the town is the Council Building. It has 5 floors and at about 100 ft, it is a prominent feature of the Crook skyline. However, the council building is dwarfed by Crook's surrounding hills, which completely surround the town except on the south side. The tallest stands at 300 metres above the town, about 980 ft. The highest point in the town is on West Road where the height is 210 metres (about 690 ft).

Approximately 2 miles to the west of Crook on the A689 towards Wolsingham and Weardale, 400 yards past the roundabout junction with the A68, is the surviving World War II Harperley POW Camp 93, a Scheduled Ancient Monument within English Heritage.


The Devil's Stone a.k.a. The Blue Stone

The Cenotaph[edit]

A World War 1 and World War 2 Cenotaph, located in the market place.[3]

The Devil's Stone\The Blue Stone[edit]

An erratic of Borrowdale volcanic. Originally located at Dowfold Hill, it is currently situated in the market place.[3]

The Devil Stone's Plaque


Crook schools comprise primarily of White British pupils, although there is a small amount of English speaking pupils from minority ethnic groups.[4][5][6]


Crook Nursery School[edit]

Crook Nursery is an average-sized school that serves the immediate area.[7] The current headteacher is Mrs J C Thompson.[8][9]


Crook Primary School[edit]

Crook Primary School was opened formerly in 1950. A larger than average community school that shares a site with Crook Nursery School.[4] It has a pupil capacity of 371.[10][11] It has more disabled, special educational needs and free school meal eligible pupils than the national average.[4] The current headteacher is Mrs Antonella Lupton.[10][11]

Marilyn Tempest – a local legendary teacher – retired after thirty years of employment on 30 April 2014 and received a standing ovation from the then current pupils and teachers. During an interview with The Northern Echo, she said "I have had the most wonderful time here, teaching is the best job in the world.".[12]

Hartside Primary School[edit]

A smaller than average community school, it has a pupil capacity of 210.[13][14] It also has a large proportion of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.[5] The current headteacher is Mr Shawn Laws.[13][14]

St Cuthbert's RC Primary School[edit]

An average-sized voluntary aided Roman Catholic school, with a pupil capacity of 210.[15][16] The proportion of pupils with disabilities and/or special educational needs is below average, although the amount eligible for free school meals are above average and ever increasing.[6] The current headteacher is Mrs Donnelly.[17][15][16]


Crook hosts various annual events including Crook Carnival, Crook Community Christmas Event and the Crookfest music festival.

Crook Carnival is held in early July and features a parade, rides, stalls and live music. Crook Community Christmas Event held at the end of November also features a parade and the switching on of the town's Christmas lights.

Crookfest is an all day music festival held on the Sunday of the early May Bank Holiday weekend within Crook AFC's Sir Tom Cowie Millfield ground. It is organised by Marshall Rippon on behalf of the football club and features around 20 bands over 3 stages with marquees erected on the pitch.

Malcolm Dixon (born 1953) is an actor best known as Strutter in the 1981 movie Time Bandits. He has had many roles that take advantage of his 4'1" size, such as Ewoks and dwarfs. Before becoming an actor, Dixon worked in Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

People associated with Crook include:

  • Constantine Scollen, a missionary priest among the Blackfoot and Cree peoples of Canada in the late 19th Century.
  • Darren Holloway, former professional footballer with English Premier League side Sunderland AFC. Also played for Wimbledon, Bradford City, Darlington and Gateshead (loans Carlisle United, Bolton Wanderers and Scunthorpe United).
  • Nigel Wright, former 3 time English light welterweight professional boxing champion. Also 2 time challenger for British and Commonwealth titles.
  • Bill Rowe, 2 time BAFTA Award for Best Sound winning sound engineer who worked on over 160 films between 1955 and 1992.
  • Jack Greenwell, FC Barcelona's first official coach who won two Spanish Cups and four Catalan titles.[18][19]



  1. ^ Population figure is an accumulation of North and South
  2. ^ a b c The development of Crook: some background history Archived 12 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Manuel, Michael. Nooks & Crannies, A Chronicle of Crook and District 1840–2012. Lintons Printers.
  4. ^ a b c [1]
  5. ^ a b [2]
  6. ^ a b [3]
  7. ^ [4][dead link]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". 14 December 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". 5 July 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Retiring Crook teacher gets standing ovation after 30 years service". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ a b "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". 5 July 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  15. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ a b "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". 14 December 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  17. ^ [5][permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "The history of Barca and the English soul at the heart of a Catalan giant". Retrieved 3 December 2018.

External links[edit]