Spennymoor

Street Map

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Spennymoor is a town in County Durham, England. It stands above the Wear Valley approximately seven miles south of Durham. The town was founded over 160 years ago. The Town Council area, which includes the villages of Kirk Merrington, Middlestone Moor, Byers Green and Tudhoe, has a population of approximately 20,000.

Like much of the former Sedgefield district, Spennymoor has suffered severe economic depression since the decline of the coal mining industry. Local schemes funded by the Single Regeneration Budget are aiming to re-establish the area as a location of economic competitive advantage.

Tudhoe Cricket Ground was the victim of a rogue V1 flying bomb during the Second World War. The blast was powerful enough to make a crater in the cricket ground, and blew out the windows of surrounding houses (including those of the local St. Charles’ Church) as well as shaking a great many other buildings.

From 1918 to 1950, Spennymoor had its own parliamentary constituency, and from 1950 to 1974 it was in the Durham constituency. From 1983 to 1997 it was part of the Sedgefield constituency; during this time the MP was Tony Blair, who was Leader of the Opposition for the last three years of his tenure as the town’s MP. Since 1997 it has been part of the Bishop Auckland constituency.

A new banner was marched for the first time in the 2006 Durham Miners’ Gala (The Big Meeting), representing 13 (former) local collieries. Its first outing began with visits to ‘The Tubs’, a miners’ memorial made from tubs once used underground in Ellington Colliery, Northumberland, which honours the memory of all of the men and boys who lost their lives in the mines of Spennymoor and district, then went on to two war memorials, the main cenotaph outside the leisure centre and a smaller memorial in Tudhoe Cemetery.

Dating from 1183, the Whitworth Hall estate was owned by and home to the Shafto family for over 300 years, including County Durham MP “Bonnie Bobby Shafto”, made famous by the well known ballad and nursery rhyme. It is now the site of Whitworth Hall Hotel and the deer park for which the estate is famed is still well tended, as is the walled garden.

A local arts community founded in the 1930s by Bill & Betty Farrell with the aid of the Pilgrim Trust, “To encourage tolerant neighbourliness and voluntary social services and give its members opportunities for increasing their knowledge, widening their interests, and cultivating their creative powers in a friendly atmosphere”. The Settlement was home to the town’s first library, and amongst famous local people who were a part of its history were Norman Cornish, “the pitman painter” and Shildon-born writer Sid Chaplin. The building is a centre for the arts- mostly drama and music, but other community events take place here.

The main attractions in Spennymoor are the local leisure centre, and Victoria Jubilee Park which was given to the people of the town by Queen Victoria to celebrate the jubilee of her reign, and is sited on land which was once part of the Whitworth Hall estate of the Shafto family. Until World War II there was a cannon from the Crimean War on display in the park;  this was taken away to be melted down for munitions. A Millennium arch was erected in the park. There are plans for a new regional arts centre to be added to the leisure centre.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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