Durham City, In County Durham

Categorised as County Durham
Durham Cathedral c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral and Castle from the bridge c1890-1900 - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The term Durham can refer to both the city and the county. But this small University city dominated by a Norman Cathedral and castle has its own distinct history and character from the wider county.

Old Photos of Durham, England

Even more than a century ago, the historic Durham Cathedral and Castle attracted interest around the world.

Sometime in the 1890s, three photochroms were taken in Durham and became part of the Detroit Publishing Company’s collection in the USA. They are now held in the archive of the Library of Congress.

I’ve added a few closeups of these images too, to see a little bit more detail.

Durham Castle c1890-1900
Durham Castle c1890-1900 – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Durham Castle c1890-1900
Durham Castle c1890-1900 – closeup to see more details of nearby buildings – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Durham Cathedral c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral c1890-1900 – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Buildings along the river at Durham England c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral c1890-1900 – closeup to see more details along the river – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Durham Cathedral c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral and Castle from the bridge c1890-1900 – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Durham Castle and river c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral and Castle from the bridge c1890-1900 – closeup to see more details of distant buildings – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
River at Durham England c1890-1900
Durham Cathedral and Castle from the bridge c1890-1900 – closeup to see more details along the river – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Durham In The 1940s

This film clip records a 1940s trip through Durham by the famous Flying Scotsman.

1940s Train Ride Through Durham, UK, Flying Scotsman – Thekinolibrary on YouTube

Durham In The 1960s

An upbeat man with a posh accent describes traffic problems with great condescension. All accompanied by a jolly musical background.

Tv Traffic Control Aka Durham (1960) – British Pathé on YouTube

A short 1960s report about the video traffic conducting system in the marketplace. Included are outtakes from the shoot.

Uploaded to YouTube by Paul Lewis on 18 Jun 2013.

Durham 1960 – With Byrdsongs – Paul Lewis on YouTube

Shopping street filmed from a car in the 1960s.

Durham Shopping street, 1960’s – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Durham In The 1970s

This 1970s film footage shows how County Durham was battling with environmental and pollution problems, including the slag heaps from coal pits.

Although it focuses on coal mining around the county, there’s a opening shot of a train passing through the city, with Durham Cathedral on the hill.

The film footage also shows a meeting taking place at County Hall, where Councillors are considering whether to dump waste in the sea or on the land.

Durham, 1970’s – Film 16549 – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

The film includes many different locations:

  • Train passing through city, Durham Cathedral
  • Map of Northern England, showing sites of collieries and coal mines
  • Coastal mines tipped spoil onto the beaches
  • Coal Board & Department of the Environment at experimental site, where waste will be piped to the edge of the beach & washed out to sea
  • Boys play on the steep banks of waste
  • Children swim close to where the waste is dumped
  • Pitmen leaving work
  • A gleaner picks coal from the waste
  • After seeing a dumping beach, we then see a clean beach with a small caravan site next to it
  • Trucks removing waste
  • Some buildings embedded in the waste are demolished
  • Durham County Hall Council meeting
  • At sea, concerns that the mining waste will affect fish
  • The derelict Haswell Colliery with a dismal landscape
  • Reclaimed spoil tips, installing essential drainage so the area can be landscaped and grassed over
  • Experimenting on the spoil at Imperial College, London
  • In Cornwall, where they are producing English China clay, experiments are made on Durham spoil to determine the optimum velocity for suspended particles
  • The experimental pipeline in County Durham is now working, mixing spoil with 2000 gallons of water and pumping it 1.5 km away to the beach
  • Blackhall Beach, which has been treated for a year, already sees signs of improvement

Stanley’s Travels: Stanley Richardson filmed these scenes on his cine camera around County Durham during the 1970s.

Posted by the Great Nephew of Stanley Richardson (1912-1988).

YouTube video by Adnylak (22 Jun 2018)

Stanley’s Travels: County Durham (1970s) – Adnylak on YouTube

Converted from reels of film bought on eBay, these home movie clips were recorded in Durham City in the mid 1970s.

RIVER WEAR, DURHAM, mid-1970s (8mm Amateur Footage) – GuildfordGhost on YouTube

Originally broadcast 12 January 1972. This film depicts various scenes, interviews, and references to the Durham coal mines and lives of the miners and their families/ communities including Wearmouth Colliery, Sunderland.

Norman Dennis – Presenter; Contributors George Bestford, Edward Cowen, Gertrude Robson, and Lady Helen Walsh. Two people in the film are related to the Youtube poster.

Durham Coal Miners BBC Documentary – Paint Your Wagon on YouTube

Helicopter views of Durham, Newcastle, and working North East mines.

John Mills, the man in charge of British coal production, gets into a small helicopter with the pilot. Good aerials of Durham and Durham Cathedral. 

Mining News, 1970’s – Film 7515 – HuntleyFilm Archives on YouTube

Other shots include:

  • Lampton coke ovens from the air
  • Passing the Tyne Bridge with barges passing underneath
  • St. James’s Park football stadium
  • Village of Ashington
  • Ashington Colliery
  • Shots of surface work at pits in North East England
  • Aerial shots of open-cast coal mining
  • The land returned to agriculture and a golf course
  • Aerials of a large smelter
  • Mines and miners
  • Station box of Lynemouth Sidings
  • Bates Colliery, Westoe Colliery, Dorton(?) Colliery
  • Beamish Museum with people looking at industrial heritage
  • A man shovels coal into the locomotive boiler
  • A poster advertises the Stockton and Darlington 150th Anniversary at Shildon 
  • Aerials of Jordan Colliery

Durham In The 1980s

This home movie of a drive around Durham City was recorded in the mid 1980s.

Durham city car drive. Mid 1980’s – Alan Freeman on YouTube

Electrification of the ECML through Durham Station 1980s – ageofthetrain on YouTube

A montage of student photos, taken in Durham in 1986, set to music.

Click arrow to play the YouTube video uploaded by Chelejf on 17 Sep 2011.

Durham 1986 – Cheleif on YouTube

Durham In The 1990s

▶ “Durham Station 1990 Rare Footage

Kris Nelson uploaded this video to YouTube on 2 Sep 2011. The upload settings of this video means you’ll have to watch it directly on YouTube.

Kris was aged just 15 in the Spring of 1990, when he visited his grandparents in Durham and borrowed his Grandad’s video camera to make this film.

Durham In The Past

A video montage of black and white photos of Durham City set to music.

Old Durham Town – Steve Toon on YouTube

More County Durham pages

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Back to the County Durham page.

Thank you to long-standing Durham resident FP for much appreciated advice.