Posted on 7 January 2020
Nicknamed the Quakers, Darlington Football Club features a stylised Quaker hat on its crest.
The hat symbolizes the historic influence Quakers had on the town. The club’s crest also depicts Locomotion No. 1, referring to the town’s railway history of which Quakers were heavily involved.
The World’s First Public Steam Railway
By the early 19th century, the rapid growth of industrial Britain meant a railway was needed between the northern towns of Stockton and Darlington. This was because coal was needed to be transported faster between the two towns in order to meet increasing demand.
In 1818, a small group of Quaker businessmen, including Edward Pease and his son Joseph from Darlington, Benjamin Flounders and the banker Jonathan Backhouse, met to discuss the possibility of building a railway from Darlington – passing several collieries – to the port of Stockton.
The Quaker businessmen gained the support of Scottish engineer Robert Stevenson who favoured the railway and Pease spoke at a public meeting in Darlington. At the public meeting Pease promised any investors a 5% return on their investment. Approximately two-thirds of the shares were sold locally, and the rest were bought by Quakers nationally.
After a period of planning delays, royal ascent for building the railway was given in 1821. The Stockton and Darlington Railway finally opened in 1825 and in September of that year Stephenson drove the first steam locomotive, carrying 80 tons of coal and flour, for nine miles along the railway.
A passenger coach was also attached to carry the dignitaries to the opening ceremony. The Darlington – Stockton railway was the first public steam railway in the world, and was soon followed by many others.
Because of the involvement of the Society of Friends in the creation of Stockton and Darlington Railway it became known as the ‘Quaker Line.’
Images from wikipedia.org and Smudge