Durham (including Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees north of the River Tees) is in the North East of England. It has a population of around 900,000 and covers approximately 270,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Teesside, Tyne and Wear.
Uniquely in England, County Durham uses the prefix county in its name, something more frequent in Ireland. The local economy was dominated during previous generations by mining and heavy industry, though following their decline during recent years tourism and heritage have grown in importance. The county town is Durham, which is situated on the River Wear and hundreds of the buildings in the city have listed status. Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and date back to the 11th century, being built to control the region following the Norman conquest. Since 1840 the castle has been used by University College, Durham and the building can only be visited on guided tours. The cathedral holds daily services and the central tower which is 217 feet (66 metres) tall provides visitors with views across Durham and the land surrounding the city. Performing arts venues in County Durham include Darlington Civic Theatre, the Gala Theatre in Durham and the Empire Theatre in Consett.
Beamish Museum is a 300 acre open-air living museum which recreates town and country life in Victorian and Edwardian England. Visitors can get a sense of stepping back in time from the buildings, vehicles and people wearing period costumes. There is also a collection of local folk art, pottery and textiles as well as books, photographs and oral records. In addition to preserving heritage, Beamish has an educational role and has been used as a location in a number of historical film and television productions. Bowes Museum, in the market town of Barnard Castle, runs a number of events such as festivals, arts and crafts workshops and talks about the museums nationally important collections. Archaeological exhibits include artefacts excavated in County Durham ranging from prehistoric stone tools, to Roman pottery and Anglo-Saxon metalwork. Among the fine art on display are paintings by European and British artists including Canaletto, Francisco Goya, El Greco, Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds. There are also historic and contemporary fashions and textiles, glass and ceramics from the 16th to 19th centuries and European furniture from the 15th to 19th centuries. Other attractions in Durham include Durham Museum and Heritage Centre, Hartlepool Quay, Crook Hall and Gardens, the ruins of Egglestone Abbey, the Museum of Hartlepool, Hamsterley Forest and Hardwick Park.
(Born 1806 in Kelloe in Durham), Poetry
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a poet whose first known poem On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man was written at the age of six or eight. She became one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era.
Robert Surtees was an English novelist and sporting writer. He began writing for the Sporting Magazine before he started out on his own on the New Sporting Magazine in 1831. He went on to write novels and create comic personalities. One example of his work is Mr Sponges Sporting Tour which was written in 1853.