RHQ Walkabout


Friends are invited to join me on a walkabout around the Rail Heritage Quarter in Darlington on Tuesday the 7th June at 10am starting at the front of the Head of Steam Museum.

Darlington Borough Council with support from a number of other stakeholders is starting a major £25m programme of restoration and interpretation at the RHQ. As part of this a Conservation Management Plan is required to ensure better long term conservation and management of the site. This is an opportunity for the Friends to feed into that Conservation Management Plan.

The walkabout will concentrate on the outside of the buildings so we won’t be going inside any of them (detailed reports have already been written on many of them and these can be found on our web site).

Instead, the sort of things we will discuss might include: the appearance of the buildings and issues of maintenance; inter-visibility versus tree planting for wildlife; how to improve access between buildings versus vandalism; what research is still required; how to develop good working relationships between the Council and future building tenants (which could be us) and/or volunteers; options to interpret some of the structures not currently part of the proposals; does the Conservation Area capture the railway character of the area; and what opportunities does the site offer for future interpretation and research. Importantly we can also discuss what role the Friends might have in achieving any of this. I’ll introduce each building and its history as we go around.

We will specifically look at:

  • Skerne Bridge
  • The site of the first Merchandising Station
  • The bridge over High Northgate
  • The gates from Gloucester Villa (time permitting)
  • The Goods Agents Offices
  • The Goods Shed
  • North Road Station and museum building
  • The Lime Depot
  • Hopetown Carriageworks
  • The site of Kitching’s Foundry and
  • the big green space/ site of the former scrap yard

As with all Friends’ outings, the duration of this will depend on how much we all have to say, but I would allow at least 2.5 hours. Bring water and a snack; you could always bring a picnic for afterwards.

If you intend coming, please email me at caroline@aenvironment.co.uk and also provide the following information:

Your mobile phone number (in case we need to contact each other in the morning due to alterations in the programme)

An ICE (in Case of Emergency) contact should you find that the excitement has all been too much for you.

I will give you my mobile phone number when you sign up in case you need to contact me on the morning of the walk.

Caroline Hardie