Part of the original Locomotive Works
Shildon shown within County Durham
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||County Durham|
|Ceremonial county||County Durham|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||County Durham and Darlington|
|EU Parliament||North East England|
|UK Parliament||Bishop Auckland|
Shildon is a town in County Durham, in England. It is situated 2 miles south east of Bishop Auckland and 11 miles north of Darlington. It is 13 miles from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 23 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Shildon is part of the Bishop Auckland parliamentary constituency, which has been represented since 2005 by Helen Goodman MP for the Labour Party.
Shildon is considered to be the "cradle of the railways". The town grew when the Stockton and Darlington Railway established its workshops there in 1825. The company owned much of the land, and the population grew to around 9000.
The town's connection with the birth of the railway industry, through the efforts of Timothy Hackworth, are marked at Shildon Locomotion Museum, which opened in September 2004 as part of the National Railway Museum. Daniel Adamson, Hackworth's apprentice and engineer was born in Shildon. Shildon and the Locomotion Museum are served by Shildon railway station on the Tees Valley Line.
Steam locomotives such as the Sans Pareil and Royal George were built at the locomotive works until 1984 when Shildon Works, or Shops, with nearly two centuries of building engines and rolling stock closed. The reason Shildon became important was coal. The area owes its growth to the rise of the East Durham coalfields in the late 18th and early 19th century.
Shildon’s earliest settlers were groups of people who lived during the Mesolithic period – over 6000 years ago. They lived by collecting wild plants and hunting wild animals. There was a small prehistoric flint tool found in the Brusselton area which may have been of this date.
Romans arrived in County Durham in the 1st century AD. and built a line of forts along the Roman road leading north to Hadrian’s Wall. They built other roads in the region. Traces of Roman roads have been found at several places in Shildon, such as Brusselton Wood. Small settlements grew up in places alongside the course of the road.
By the end of the Anglo-Saxon period the village was established. It was not the only settlement in the area. Various mediaeval settlements stood around Thickley.
Shildon grew during the Industrial Revolution. The expansion of coal mining meant the traditional way of moving the coal – along horse-drawn wagon ways – was not sufficient. Instead steam engines began to be used. At first static engines pulled the wagons, but were replaced by moving engines – locomotives.
George Stephenson built a track from Witton Park to Stockton-on-Tees. Static engines pulled the coal wagons over Brussleton, after which they were attached to steam engines. The remains of a static engine houses can be seen at Brusselton. Originally the railway carried only coal, but demand led to passengers being carried. The first passenger train began its journey in Shildon on 27 September 1825.
Shildon was the home of an innovator of the railway industry, Timothy Hackworth. He built one of the first ever engines, the Sans Pareil. His home has now been turned into a railway museum. Next door stands his workshop, the Soho Engine Works developed from 1833. By 1855 it was a large complex of workshops and other buildings. Post second world war, Shildon had one of the biggest sidings complexes in Europe. The site now houses an extension of the National Railway museum. Shildon was the birthplace of the writer Sid Chaplin, after whom the local library is named.
Local football club Shildon A.F.C. compete in the Arngrove Northern League Division One. In November 2003, the club reached the FA Cup first round for the first time in 42 years but were beaten 7-2 by Notts County. The club was successful in the 1930s.
Shildon Running & Athletic Club, founded in 1986, is based at the Stadium 2000, on Middridge Lane in Shildon .
Shildon Railway Cricket Club who play in The Durham Cricket League.
Shildon has a number of societies and clubs running in the town. "Shildon Recall Society"  is a local history group that meets in the Shildon People's Centre  (formerly the police station). The "Shildon Peoples Centre"  is a local Charity, and Community Centre.
- St. Johns C of E (Aided) Primary School
- Greenfield Community College
- Thornhill Primary School
- Timothy Hackworth Primary School