Shildon is a town in County Durham, in England. The population taken at the 2011 Census was 9,976. It is situated 2 miles south east of Bishop Auckland, 11 miles north of Darlington, 13 miles from Durham, 23 miles from Sunderland and 30 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's earliest settlers were groups of people who lived during the Mesolithic period some 6,000 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. 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 as one of the settlements in the area. Various mediaeval settlements stood around Thickley.
The Shildon area owes its growth to the rise of the East Durham coalfields in the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century.
The expansion of coal mining during the Industrial Revolution meant the traditional way of moving the coal along horse-drawn wagon ways was insufficient. Steam engines were introduced. At first static engines pulled the wagons, but were replaced by moving engines on railways.
Shildon is considered to be the "cradle of the railways". The town grew when the Stockton and Darlington Railway established its workshops in 1825. Steam locomotives such as the Sans Pareil and Royal George were built there. During this period the population grew to around 9,000. By 1855 it was a large complex of workshops and other buildings. After the Second World War, Shildon had one of the biggest sidings complexes in Europe. The Shildon Works eventually closed in 1984. The site now houses Shildon Locomotion Museum, which opened in September 2004 and is an extension of the National Railway Museum.
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 house 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 Timothy Hackworth, an innovator of the railway industry and builder of one of the first ever engines, the Sans Pareil. It is also the birthplace of
Daniel Adamson, Hackworth's apprentice and engineer.
Shildon and the Locomotion Museum are served by Shildon railway station on the Tees Valley Line.
- St. Johns C of E (Aided) Primary School
- Greenfield Community College
- Thornhill Primary School
- Timothy Hackworth Primary School
Local football club Shildon A.F.C. compete in the Ebac 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.In season 2014-15, they needed to win their final game to become Northern League Champions and add the title to the Northern League Cup and the Durham Challenge Cup. A 1-1 draw at Bedlington meant that they continue to wait for their first title since 1940.
Durham Tigers is the local rugby league team. The club runs age level teams in the North East Junior League.
Shildon Running & Athletic Club, founded in 1986, is based at the Stadium 2000 on Middridge Lane in Shildon [http://www.shildonrunning.co.uk].
Shildon Railway Cricket Club joined the NYSD premiere league in the 2015 season, and won the 3rd division at the first attempt.
The Shildon Town Band was founded in 1937 from the remnants of the Shildon Wesleyan Band. The band was conducted by Mr Ernie Bennett, other notable members were Ivan Pearce, The Allinson Brothers George, Fred, Jack and Jim, another long member was the secretary Graeme Scarlett.
- Timothy Hackworth, railway engineer
- Daniel Adamson, railway engineer
- Sid Chaplin, writer, after whom the local library is named