West Cemetery on Carmel Road in Darlington is the final resting place of many of the towns most prominent residents. It contains monuments dating from the height of Victorian funerary grandeur through to the present day.

This guide helps visitors to the cemetery to locate the more notable graves and provides a brief background to their occupants, using information on Darlington’s history from various of sources. The site also includes a guide to symbolism in the cemetery.

For those attending services at Darlington Crematorium in West Cemetery the location can be found using the postcode DL3 8RY.

Darlington West Cemetery MapIf you are visiting the cemetery to follow this guide, you will need to download and print the West Cemetery Map which indicates the locations of the graves mentioned in the guide.

The guide and accompanying map can also be followed on an iPad, iPhone or other smartphone, which will allow you to view the links to relevant documents and images during your walk.

The West Cemetery Headstone Inscription Records web site, developed by the Darlington Historical Society (DHS), has been an invaluable resource in developing this guide. Each of the entry’s in the guide includes the headstone reference number used on the DHS web site. Clicking on the reference number will display the headstone inscription from the DHS site. Used in conjunction with the DHS cemetery plans the reference numbers allow individual memorials to be located and act as a backup to the numbering system used on our map.

West Cemetery photography & locating headstones

Headstone photography for genealogyIf you need some guidance to locate a family grave or require photographs of a headstone for your family history research we are able to help. There is no charge for this service but donations may be made to St Teresa’s Hospice.

We are also able to lay flowers on the grave or to plant flowers on your behalf, at a small cost.

If you would like us to do this please email history@aboutdarlington.co.uk, including in your message the DHS reference number or the Darlington Borough Council plot number of the grave.

West Cemetery Guide

If you find this guide interesting your feedback would be very useful. If you have any suggestions for additional memorials to be included, or if you have difficulties finding any of the graves, please send an email to history@aboutdarlington.co.uk or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Memorial to Septimus Hird1. Septimus Hird (Died 1861)
DHS ref. C-18-2

Aged only 17, as an apprentice architect, Septimus won a Total Abstinence Society competition to design a new drinking fountain for the town – the Fothergill Fountain which now stands in the South Park. Before it was built however he drowned while swimming at Redcar. His design was modified by his boss at the Richardson and Ross architects practice and the fountain was constructed in its original position in Bondgate.

Heastone of Ann Graves2. Ann Graves (Died 1858)
DHS ref. C-20-2

West Cemetery opened in April 1858. By the following November there had been 50 burials. While Ann Graves was not the first to be buried in the new cemetery, on the reverse of her headstone is the inscription “This stone was the first erected in this cemetery”.

Memorial to George Stephenson3. George Stephenson (Died 1881)
DHS ref. C-17-13

Highly respected Traffic Manager of the Stockton and Darlington Section of the North Eastern Railway. Speaking shortly after his death, David Dale (see K1-6-7 below) said that he had been “possessed of great intelligence, had great perseverance of character, and had the means of saying things most clearly, and expressing his opinions forcibly. He had the love of work himself, and he disliked to see slovenly work in others. He loved to see work done thoroughly well for its own sake; but, above all, these qualities were characterised by a high sense of morality, and good faith, and honour.”

He lived at Gloucester House on North Road, the entrance steps for which stood close to B&Q until the recent changes to the road layout.

This memorial and a Grammar School scholarship in his name were paid for by public subscription following his death. The scholarship was competed for by boys whose fathers were employees of the North Eastern Railway Company. It covered the cost of school fees for up to three years.

Headstone of JP Pritchett4. James Piggott Pritchett (Died 1911)
DHS ref. C-9-25

JP Pritchett was the architect of numerous buildings in and around Darlington including the Darlington Training College, later the Arts Centre, as well as the chapels and original design of West Cemetery, and many other ecclesiastical buildings throughout the north of England.

He was also responsible for the design of the monument to Robert Henry Allan (see A-5-12 below), which is among the most imposing in the cemetery.

Grave of Douglas Ramsden Attwood DSC5. Douglas Ramsden Attwood DSC (1918)
DHS ref. C-8-13

Appointed to the Royal Navy from the Royal Naval Reserve on the day that England declared war on Germany, 4 August 1914, and served virtually the entire length of the First World War as a submariner.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross ‘in recognition of his services on the occasion of the torpedoing of an enemy submarine on the 3 November 1917. His advice and assistance materially helped towards the successful result obtained’. This was the U-boat UC65 which had been responsible for sinking more than 110 allied ships.
He completed what was to be his last War Patrol on 4th November 1918, just days before the armistice, and died of pneumonia at the 1st North General Hospital, housed in the buildings of the Armstrong College of Durham University in Newcastle on 24 November 1918, aged 26.

For more details see the Submariners Association web site.

Marley headstones6a. Thomas William Marley (Died 1925)
DHS ref. C-8-15

Secretary and later Chairman and Managing Director of the North Brancepeth Coal Co. Ltd. The British Library holds a copy of his 1919 monograph “The question of the Nationalisation of the Mines”. He was a noted amateur genealogist. His genealogical notebooks and papers are preserved in the Northumberland Record Office. He researched the histories of the Marley, Rayne/Raine and Middleton families of Teesdale, among others, and was an active member of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne. The British Library has a copy of his 1920 book “The Marleys of Langton, Ingleton, Hilton and Houghton-Le-Side in Co. Durham [with Genealogical Tables]”. T.W. Marley lived at Marton Grove on Abbey Road, Darlington.

Note: Information provided by Mark Rayne.

Marley headstones6b. Cuthbert David Marley (Died 1960)
DHS ref. C-8-16

Son of T.W. Marley (see C-8-15 above). Born in 1898, he was at Durham School when the Great War began. When he left school in July 1915, he joined the Inns of Court OTC (Officer Training Corps) and was commissioned in the DLI. He fought with the 5th Battalion DLI on the Western Front from 1916-18 and, after the war, continued to serve as a Territorial Officer, rising to command 5 DLI. He received the MBE in 1929 and the Efficiency Decoration in 1936.

In 1940, he was given command of the 10th Battalion DLI and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his leadership during the German attack on Arras, before the Dunkirk retreat. In 1942, he was made a Brigadier.

His medals are on display at the Durham Light Infantry museum.

In civilian life, David Marley was a director of the Durham Coal Board. He died at Middleton St. George in 1960.

Grave of John Kane7. John Kane (Died 1876)
DHS ref. C-8-16

Fourth row, behind the Plews family monument (see map)

Trade unionist who lead the workers of the iron industry through some of their most turbulent periods of industrial unrest. During one of the most bitter disputes, the Northern Echo reported that he was “Idolised by fellow workmen, denounced by the employers, and regarded by the middle class generally as a pestilent firebrand and a dangerous agitator.” His union was eventually defeated and almost destroyed but Kane regrouped by forming a new union, the National Amalgamated Malleable Ironworkers’ Association, based in Darlington, where he came into close contact with Sir David Dale (see K1-6-7 below), a leading Quaker ironworks owner. Kane came to see that progress could be made through negotiation rather than conflict and together with Dale he set up the Board of Arbitration and Conciliation for the Manufactured Iron Trade of the North of England. Their efforts eventually brought peace within the troubled industry. In 1870 the ironworkers presented him and his wife, Jane, with a gold watch each and a purse of sovereigns in gratitude for his unstinting work on their behalf.

By the mid-1870’s however, the industry fell into recession and Kane once again found himself at the centre of industrial disputes. He died suddenly in 1876 while returning from mediating in a dispute in Maesteg, in South Wales. His death was attributed to the relentless pressure of his work.

Grave of Nicholas Bragg8. Nicholas Bragg (Died 1873)
DHS ref. C-5-21

Fifth row, immediately behind the monument to John Kane (see map)

Bragg was a Chartist. Chartism was a working class movement demanding political reform including universal male suffrage and other measures to challenge the dominance of the wealthy property owners in politics. Bragg campaigned for many years to overcome the dominance of the Pease family in Darlington, running a Chartist bookshop on High Row and standing against the Peases and their Liberal Quaker colleagues in elections. Following a disturbance in the Darlington Market Place in May 1840 he was sentenced to three months imprisonment for causing an obstruction and public nuisance.

In 1867 he was successful in having Darlington incorporated as a municipality with a more democratically elected town council headed by a mayor. In 1868 he formed the first formal political party in the town, the Darlington Working Men’s Conservative Association.

His obituary in the Northern Echo said “His firmness made him many enemies, but those who knew him best acknowledge his single-minded devotion to what he believed to be the best interests of Darlington”, “He was a bold, outspoken, generous-hearted man – a notability and a marked character in Darlington, and one of its most worthy men.”

More information about Bragg’s work can be found in Chris Lloyd’s article on The radical criminal who carpet bagged a ‘spinster’.

Memorial of George Marshall9. George Marshall (Died 1901)
DHS ref. C-9-35

Mayor of Darlington 1896-97 and a prominent builder, surveyor, valuer and brick manufacturer. His company built the Ripon Waterworks and numerous houses in Darlington including some in Stanhope Road and Greenbank Crescent. He lived at Woodleigh on Woodland Road. Marshall Street in the Denes is named after him. There is a photograph of George on the Durham Record.

Grave of Francis Mewburn10. Francis Mewburn (Died 1867)
DHS ref. C-11-27

The worlds first railway solicitor and the legal brains behind the Stockton & Darlington Railway. In 1819 he defeated the Duke of Cleveland’s attempts in Parliament to prevent the railway being build, because he feared that it would ruin his fox coverts. At a dinner at the Croft Spa Hotel on June 11th 1829 to celebrate the opening of the Croft branch of the railway he astonished his audience when he predicted that one day people would be able to leave Darlington by train in the morning, attend the opera in London in the evening, and arrive home for breakfast.

In 1833 he negotiated with Parliament to find a suitable form of words that Joseph Pease, the first nonconformist MP for 200 years, could use in place of the constitutional oath of allegiance. He planted one of the South Park Sequoia’s in 1863. He also laid the foundation stones for Blackwell Bridge and the Stockton & Darlington Railway Skerne Bridge.

The Bishop of Durham appointed him Chief Bailiff of Darlington in 1846, making him the Bishop’s representative in the town. In this capacity he greeted Queen Victoria at Bank Top station in 1849 when her train rested there briefly.

His house, Larchfield, stood on the corner of Coniscliffe Road and Larchfield Street. It was demolished in 1978. There is a mural plaque to him in Holy Trinity church and a stained glass window in his memory in St Cuthbert’s church.

Chris Lloyd’s ‘Railway the result of a race into the future‘ article includes more information and a sketch of Francis Mewburn.

Memorial to John Ross11. John Ross FRIBA (Died 1895)
DHS ref. C-13-37

Architect working in partnership as Richardson & Ross, Ross & Lamb and also on his own. He was responsible for early work on the Mowden Hall and Brinkburn mansions as well as extensions to a number of Quaker homes in Darlington, particularly conservatories and vineries. His practice handled the development for housing on the Duke of Cleveland’s Green Tree Estate to the rear of Skinnergate including Duke Street, Raby Street, Powlett Street and Cleveland Terrace. He also built St George’s Presbyterian Church in Northgate, Grey Towers mansion at Nunthorpe and Northallerton Town Hall.
His wife Elizabeth and her sister are buried here, while the headstone is in memory of John who is buried at Whitley in Northumberland.

Memorial of Joseph Robinson12. Joseph Robinson (Died 1888)
DHS ref. C-5-28

Magnificent gothic monument designed by GG Hoskins (see A-6-1) for the Robinson family. Joseph Robinson was the proprietor of the King’s Head (also designed by Hoskins) and earlier of the Fleece Hotel.
The family lived at Cleveland Lodge on Cleveland Terrace and owned a farm at Jolby Grange near Stapleton.

Memorial of Dr Frederick George Clarkson13. Dr Frederick George Clarkson (1868)
DHS ref. C-5-30

Highly respected medical doctor of Darlington. This imposing monument was constructed by David Hurworth (see D(1)-12-2 below)

Grave of Aaron Bowker14. Aaron Bowker (Died 1875)
DHS ref. C(2)-8-1

First Superintendent of the cemetery, for 17 years from its opening in April 1858.

Grave of Dr Stephen Edward Piper15. Dr Stephen Edward Piper (D. 1894)
DHS ref. A-3-12

Dr Piper was at one time the only fully-qualified medical man in Darlington. He became Joseph Pease’s doctor and the official surgeon of the North Eastern Railway Company.

In 1850 he was appointed as Darlington’s first Medical Officer of Health and the following year produced a report about the health of the poorer areas of Darlington, stating that “At present numerous dwellings are surrounded by fetid cesspools, abominable pig sties, open dunghills, dirty ditches and ponds of stagnant water so that the ground is literally saturated with these filthy oozings which often percolate into springs and wells contaminating the water, or intrude through the adjoining houses staining the walls with offensive moisture”. He set to work to improve the situation, organising doctors to visit every family, providing free chloride of lime to each household for disinfecting the home, and ensuring that working class homes were whitewashed inside and out.

His work lead to the creation of the West Cemetery, replacing churchyard burials and to the opening of Darlington’s crematorium in 1900, only the fifth in the country and the first in the North-East. He was also responsible for cleaning up the River Skerne, opening South Park to all, and also ensuring that a hospital and public baths were built in the town.

The walk-in medical centre in King Street is named Dr Piper House in his honour.

Grave of ED Walker16. Sir Edward Daniel Walker (D. 1919)
DHS ref. A-5-4

Owner of a chain of railway station newsagents and refreshment rooms, proprietor of the Northern Echo and three times Mayor of Darlington. E D Walker Homes on Coniscliffe Road were built at his bequest for the “poor and needy of Darlington in the eventide of their lives” which opened in 1928. He also commissioned the mayoral chains for the town, which were presented to the Borough in 1902 at the conclusion of his year in Office as Mayor.

The Durham County Council web site includes a portrait of Sir ED Walker.

Grave of GG Hoskins17. George Gordon Hoskins (Died 1911)
DHS ref. A-6-1

Architect in the gothic style. Designed numerous prestigious buildings in and around Darlington including the Public Library in Crown Street, the Grammar School (now the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College), the Kings Head Hotel, former Lloyds Bank building in Coniscliffe Road, the Red Lion pub, the chapels, lodges and monument in Darlington’s North Cemetery, the Technical College in Northgate and also Middlesbrough Town Hall.

He lived in a house which he designed himself at Thornbeck Hill, Carmel Road.

More information on GG Hoskins can be found in Chris Lloyd’s article, ‘Lost in a world of belltowers, cloisters and crypts’.

Memorial to John Dixon18. John Dixon (Died 1865)
DHS ref. A-6-3

John was the grandson of a County Durham colliery owner, George Dixon, whose brother Jeremiah Dixon worked with Charles Mason to survey the Mason-Dixon line in the USA.

John began his working life in his fathers colliery, becoming a clerk in the Backhouse Bank in Darlington when Jonathan Backhouse bought the colliery. Backhouse transferred him to the Stockton & Darlington Railway Company as a clerk and later as a surveyor, under the direction of George Stephenson.

He became one of the first railway civil engineers and Stephenson’s Chief Engineer and Surveyor on the Stockton & Darlington Railway. Dixon also worked as an engineer on the Canterbury & Whitstable Railway and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

He was elected to the Darlington Board of Health in 1850.


Horse memorial to Mary Jane Allen19. Mary Jane Allen (Died 1874)
DHS ref. A-6-9

Bareback horse rider and wife of the Excelsior Circus proprietor Frederick Allen. The Excelsior Circus toured all over the north-east of England. Mary Jane died of bronchitis while the circus was passing though Darlington.

Her monument is similar to the more famous horse memorial in London’s Highgate Cemetery.

Memorial to Robert Henry Allan20. Robert Henry Allan, J.P. (D. 1879)
DHS ref. A-5-12

Became High Sheriff of Durham in 1851. Lived at Blackwell Hall and Blackwell Grange in Darlington.

The imposing monument, standing on eight individual plots, was designed by JP Pritchett (see C-9-25 above). It is made of polished Aberdeen “dice” granite, so-called due to its distinctive black and white markings. The base and cover are each of one block, with highly moulded panels on the sides and ends, also of granite.

Grave of William Foggett21. Alderman William Foggitt (Died 1891)
DHS ref. B-5-6

Proprietor of a grocers shop on High Row in Darlington until his retirement. He was a Member of the Local Board of Health, Councillor for the West Ward and later Alderman of the North West Ward and also a Magistrate. For some years he was the organist at the Wesleyan Chapel in Bondgate.

The Durham County Council web site includes a portrait of William Foggitt.

Grave of John Harrison22. John Harrison (Died 1889)
DHS ref. C(2)-18-2

Founder of the Onward Building Society, which had its head office in Northgate, Darlington, in the building which is now Greggs the Bakers. On his death, Harrison was considered to be the “most active and exemplary of businessmen”. However within 9 months a huge financial scandal erupted when it was discovered that he had misappropriated £45,151 (almost £2.5m in today’s money) from the building society, partly to support his Linthorpe Pottery business. This led to the attempted suicide of his deputy, Thomas Dennison, who was later jailed for his part in the fraud, and also to a run on the societies funds.

Grave of Robert Barker Hall23. Robert Barker Hall (Died 1889)
DHS ref. C(2)-20-2

Killed in the North of England School Furniture Company fire disaster, when a wall collapsed onto a crowd of spectators. He had lived at 5 High North Terrace and was described as a traveller . The inquest into the deaths of Robert Barker Hall and four others including George Wilson (see D1-2-4 below), was held in the Railway Tavern, in Northgate. The bodies were laid out in a stable behind the pub, but the proceedings were delayed for 45 minutes because the landlord had mislaid the key. This incident led to Darlington’s first official mortuary being built, as recommended in the coroners report on the accident.

See reports from the Northern Echo reproduced by Janet McNeilly.

Grave of Frederick Dickens24. Frederick William Dickens (D. 1868)
DHS ref. C(2)-20-7

Wayward brother of Charles Dickens. He only lived in Darlington for a year, while working as a journalist. He had lodgings in Elton Parade with a friend, Jonathon Ross Feetum (grave C-13-26) who was formerly the landlord of the White Horse Tavern in London’s Regent Street which Frederick had frequented. Over many years he had run up debts by trading on his brother’s name. He was the inspiration for Fred, the dissolute brother of Little Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop. People who knew him at the end of his life said that his only sustenance was a penny bun a day, with a little ginger beer with gin added. Charles was unable to attend the funeral, though his eldest son was present, and he contributed to its cost. For more information, see Wikipedia.

Located close to the cemetery wall, in the same row as the grave of Robert Barker Hall, overhung by trees.

Grave of Bernard Briggs25. Major Bernard G D Biggs (D. 1916)
DHS ref. C(2)-20-9

A former mayor of Darlington and also chairman of the public library committee from 1909. His work led to the introduction of the open library system in Crown Street in 1911, allowing the public to access the bookshelves directly rather than requesting books from a librarian.

During the First World War Biggs became a Major in the 5th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, a territorial battalion serving with the York & Durham Brigade. He was injured in a gas attack while serving in France, leaving him unfit for field service. He returned home to Darlington and continued to work as a military representative for the DLI, remaining highly active in Durham volunteers until his death in 1916 from pneumonia, which was attributed to the damaged caused by being gassed.

Located close to the cemetery wall, in the same row as the grave of Robert Barker Hall, overhung by trees.

Headstone of George Wilson26. George Wilson (Died 1889)
DHS ref. D(1)-2-4

Killed in the North of England School Furniture Company fire disaster, when a wall collapsed onto a crowd of spectators. He was 61 years of age when he died. He worked for the School Furniture Company as a fitter, in a building adjacent to the one which burned down. He left a widow and a grown up family.

The inquest into the deaths of George Wilson and four others, including Robert Baker Hall (see C2-20-2 above) was held in the
Railway Tavern, in Northgate. The bodies were laid out in a stable behind the pub, but the proceedings were delayed for 45 minutes because the landlord had mislaid the key. This incident led to Darlington’s first official mortuary being built, as recommended in the coroners report on the accident.

See report from the Northern Echo reproduced by Janet McNeilly.

Headstone overhung by trees.

27. Ronald Gilchrist Brebner (Died 1914)
DHS ref. D1-5-1

Darlington and international goalkeeper. Ron Brebner represented England in the 1912 Olympic Games, where he won a gold medal when the team defeated Finland in the final.

He died of injuries sustained in a match in 1914, while playing for Leicester.

Memorial to David Hurworth28. David Hurworth (Died 1873)
DHS ref. D(1)-12-2

Imposing monument to David Hurworth, a builder and master bricklayer from Gilling West. He was responsible for work under Sir George Gilbert Scott and JP Pritchett to restore St Cuthberts church. In 1859 he won the £4,000 contract to provide 1.5 million bricks with which the North Road Railway Works, on the site where Morrisons supermarket stands today.
A magnificent example of his work as a mason can be seen in the cemetery – the memorial to Dr Clarkson (see C-5-30 above)

For more information on David Hurworth see ‘The holy and the ivy’ article by Chris Lloyd, with research by Hugh Mortimer.

Grave of Bysak Fakau29. Fukao Bysak (Died 1873)
DHS ref. D(1)-15-4

Student from Tosa (now Kochi Prefecture) in Shikoku, Japan who was drowned at Middlesbrough, aged 18, while studying in Darlington. He was an orphan from an aristocratic background, brought up by his uncle, a wealthy landowner in Japan. As part of the Japanese government’s policy of introducing Western civilisation to their country, Fukau was one of five young Japanese students who travelled to England via San Francisco and New York in 1870. Fukau came to the Darlington to study at the Walworth House College, in Pierremont Crescent, then worked as an articled pupil with Raylton Dixon & Company shipbuilders in Middlesbrough. On a November evening, while walking along a dockside, he fell. Despite the efforts of his friends he was unable to swim to a nearby mud bank and was drowned.

His headstone has a Japanese inscription on the front, and English on the reverse. The Japaese epitaph reads “nobleman (of samurai class) of Kochi Prefecture, Japan; grave of Fukao Baisaku; drowned to death on Western calendar November 4th, 1873; aged 18 years”.

Grave of Aubrey Meynell30. Aubrey Meynell (Died 1943)
DHS ref. D-19-30

Flight Engineer killed in the Second World War when his Halifax bomber crashed near Howden, Yorkshire while returning from a bombing raid over Frankfurt. The pilot had the aerodrome in sight and had permission to land. The accident report concluded that the plane had probably stalled as a result of the pilot’s lack of experience, with just over 40 flying hours under his belt. All seven of the crew were killed when the plane burst into flames on impact.

Note: information kindly provided by Alistair Taylor.

Grave of Samuel Averill Elton ARCA31. Samuel Averill Elton ARCA (D. 1886)
DHS ref. D-20-30

Painter of landscapes and coastal scenes in oil and water colour. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and was an art master at the Government School of Art in Darlington.
An example of his work can be seen here, from the collection of the Bowes Museum. His work is also in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Darlington Borough Council art collections.

He lived in Westbrook Villas. His son Edgar Averill Elton was also an artist and art master and is buried elsewhere in the cemetery (DHS ref P(1)-4-2). For more information see the Westbrook Residents Association web site.

Grave of John Wesley Hackworth32. John Wesley Hackworth (Died 1891)
DHS ref. D-16-2

Son of pioneering railway engineer Timothy Hackworth, at the age of sixteen John Wesley travelled to Russia to oversee the delivery of the first steam locomotive to run there. He became Works Manager of the Soho Works in Shildon. After the death of his father he moved to premises in Priestgate in Darlington, manufacturing stationary engines and machinery.

He patented the ‘Hackworth radial valve gear’ for steam engines and manufactured cotton machinery for use in Egypt, setting up a works at Bank Top. He devised improvements to mine ventilation and to blast furnaces. He travelled in Canada and the USA to promote his valve gear, returning to work in Darlington, Sunderland and London as a consulting engineer.

Grave of William Craggs33. William Craggs (Died 1895)
DHS ref. E-1-22

Prior to his death at the age of 74, William Craggs was said to be the oldest living railway engine driver. He worked for the North-Eastern Railway Company for 60 years, from the age of 14, becoming a driver at the age of 20.

He was regularly the driver of Locomotion No. 1 during its working life on the Stockton & Darlington railway and again was its driver at the Railway Jubilee celebrations on 27th September 1875. He was also a driver of Timothy Hackworth’s ‘Coronation’ locomotive.

Iron headstone of George Wharton34. George Wharton (Died 1866)
DHS ref. E-8-15

Headstone of iron.

Grave of John Bowman35. John Bowman (Died 1896)
DHS ref. E(5)-19-2

Lived at Polam Grange. For many years he ran a tannery business with his father in Four Riggs. Became a proprietor and secretary of the Darlington & Stockton Times. He was a town Councillor and for 11 years was the honorary Captain on the Darlington Fire Brigade, spending much of his time improving efficiency within the Brigade.

There is a photograph of him with the Darlington Fire Brigade, outside Polam Grange, on the Durham Record web site.

In his obituary, the Northern Echo described his love of all animals, “furred and feathered…his collection of foxes, raccoons, monkeys etc and his aviary of rare birds being unique in the neighbourhood”. Shortly before his death he had donated his collection to the Darlington Corporation.

Fenby family plot36. Fenby Plot
DHS ref. E(5)-27-9

Alexander Fenby was a missionary. He was on board the Merchant Vessel Swedru en route from Freetown to Liverpool when she was attacked by a long-range bomber on 16 April 1941. Two 250lb bombs struck the bridge and exploded. The Captain and other senior officers were killed instantly. The ship subsequently caught fire and was finally torpedoed and sunk 150 miles west of Ireland. 14 crew and 7 passengers, including Alexander Fenby, lost their lives. For more details see the Prior Pursgrove College web site.

Skelton Fenby was a councillor and Mayor of Darlington 1947-48. He lived at Ashcroft Villa, off Coniscliffe Road.

Nora Fenby was Headmistress of Eastbourne School from 1939 to 1963.

Heastone of Sir Charles Starmer37. Sir Charles Starmer (Died 1933)
DHS ref. K(1)-3-6

Mayor of Darlington and general manager of the Northern Echo newspaper.

Grave of William Dresser38. William Dresser (Died 1899)
DHS ref. K1-5-6

Founder of Wm Dresser & Son, printer, bookseller and publisher. The business for many years occupied a site on High Row in Darlington, next to Barclay’s Bank.

Grave of Sir David Dale39. Sir David Dale (Died 1906)
DHS ref. K1-6-7

Industrialist, knighted in 1895 for his work on industrial relations. He lived at West Lodge in West Crescent, off Woodland Road, Darlington, now occupied by the Darlington Association on Disability.

Dale had married into the wealthy Backhouse family. He was the right-hand man of the Pease family and owned Consett Ironworks. He was also involved in the railway and shipbuilding industries. Being a Quaker, he had an interest in peaceably resolving disputes, considering strikes and lock-outs within the iron industry “barbarous, cruel and stupid”. Together with John Kane (C-4-20 above), he set up the Board of Arbitration and Conciliation for the Manufactured Iron Trade of the North of England, which eventually brought peace within the troubled industry. During the 19th century the arbitration board pioneered in Darlington became an accepted practice in most industries in resolving industrial disputes.

A portrait of Sir David Dale can be seen in the Darlington Borough Council art collection.

Grave of Frank Robson40. Frank Robson (Died 1908)
DHS ref. K(1)-22-5

Managing director of EC Robson, flour miller, of Sunderland. Lived at Faverdale Hall.

Grave of Thomas Burt41. Private/Flight Cadet Thomas Burt (1918)
DHS K-23-27

Flight Cadet in the fledgling RAF which was formed in 1918. He was killed in a crash at St Albans while flying.

Prior to joining the School of Aeronautics he had worked for the North Eastern Railway as a Clerk in the Mileage Department in Darlington (see Roll of Honour).

Grave of Alix Liddle42. Corporal Alix Oliffe Liddle (D. 1914)
DHS ref. L-1-17

Killed in the Bombardment of Hartlepool on 16th December 1914. He was among the first soldiers to be killed on British soil during the First World War. His body was returned to Darlington where he had lived with his parents at Hummersknott Lodge, beside West Cemetery, and later in Linden Avenue and where he had recently been married. His horse-drawn funeral cortege was attended by numerous civic dignitaries and he was honoured with a military gun salute.

Headstone of William Mountford43. William James Mountford (Died 1912)
DHS ref. L-2-7

Born in Clay Row in 1852, the son of a printer, William became a compositor for the Darlington & Stockton Times. He was also a published naturalist. Darlington library holds a copy of his book, “Sunny Saturdays With Country Churches”.
Note: information kindly provided by Stephanie Anderson.

44. Charles Dixon (Died 1923)
DHS ref. P(1)-12-2

Dixon transformed the struggling Cleveland Bridge company into a successful international engineering company after purchasing it in 1885. It produced the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Victoria Falls Railway Bridge across the Zambesi River. Building on this success, in 1898 he set up a garage to service the early motor cars which were beginning to appear in the area. This led him, together with Owen Pease, to set up the Cleveland Car Company in 1904, with premises in an iconic half-timbered building in Grange Road, from which he also ran Darlington’s first taxi company.

He lived in Ravensthorpe on Carmel Road North.

Headstone of Edward Pratt45. Edward Pratt (Died 1918)
DHS ref. Q-2-11a

Despite fighting in the First World War for two years, recovering from gunshot wounds to the leg, neck and later to the shoulder he was returned to the front to fight for a third time. His trench was then bombed and he was half-buried and struck by heavy support timbers, suffering a brain injury and partial paralysis. He was declared unfit for further military service, discharged from the Army and sent home to his wife and children in Aycliffe Village. He was so badly weakened by his time in service that he died four months later in Greenbank Hospital, aged 29.

As he had been discharged before his death he did not qualify for a war grave headstone and his grave remained unmarked until research by Aycliffe Village Local History Society and publicity from the Northern Echo connected Margaret Prest with the story of her grandfather and she had a wooden grave marker erected.

Aycliffe Village Local History Society are continued to campaign for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to adopt the grave and add an official headstone. The headstone was finally erected in July 2015 and dedicated at a service held on 2 September 2015, almost 100 years after Edward’s death.

46. Paul Anthony Evans (Died 2011)
DHS ref. X(1)-1-50

The last man to speak to Donald Campbell during his fatal world water speed record at Coniston, in Bluebird K7 in 1967. Paul was his radio operator. His headstone has the K7 Club logo on it – the club formed by Donald Campbell for his friends and the team who helped him in his record attempts.

Grave of Alf Common47. Alf Common (Died 1946)
DHS ref. R-1-6

Alf became the first £1,000 footballer when he was sold to Middlesbrough by Sunderland in 1905. His goal scoring help to save Boro from relegation from the First Division.

He played three times for England. However in 1907 he was stripped of the captaincy and fined £10 for “drunkenness and violent behaviour” and soon after was given a free transfer to Woolwich Arsenal, ending his career in 1914 while playing for Preston North End. He retired to Darlington, where he ran a pub – the Alma, later renamed the Brown Trout, and now a florists and opticians on West Auckland Road in Cockerton.

Doggart family plot48. Arthur Robert Doggart
DHS ref. S-29-13

Arthur Robert Doggart worked as a Buyer of Hosiery and Fancy goods for a drapery business in Bishop Auckland. By 1895 he had taken over the business, which he expanded to have shops across the North East, including one in Northgate, Darlington. He established the highly successful Doggarts Club, an interest free way for families to buy furnishing and clothing from the store.

The chain prospered for many years before declining and closing in 1980. It is remembered by many for the pneumatic change dispensers which operated in its stores.

Grave of Billy Hodgson Taylor49. Private Frederick William Hodgson Taylor (Billy) (Died 1917)
DHS ref. S-23-25

Billy Taylor was killed in the Second Battle of the Scarpe during the Battle of Arras in Northern France. His is just one of the 61 First World War memorials in the cemetery. He has no know grave but is remembered here on his family plot and on the Arras Memorial.

He was killed on 23 April 1917, just one of more than 5,000 men to be killed that day who are listed in Commonwealth War Graves Commission records. Though a terrible number of casualties this figure is dwarfed by the loss of around 19,000 Commonwealth soldiers on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The First World War graves are distributed throughout West Cemetery in individual plots, some as family graves and others erected and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A separate war graves section was established during the Second World War which continues to be used up to the present day.

Grave of Earl Carlson 50. Earl Carlson (Died 1970)
DHS ref. W-8-31

Earl came to Britain with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He was initially based at RAF Middleton St George and later at Croft aerodrome. He was a keen ice hockey player and formed a team in the Canadian Bomber Group League.

After the war he remained in Darlington. In 1947 he joined the Durham Wasps ice hockey team, becoming a star in the team during the late 1940s and 1950s. He once scored three goals in just 26 seconds.

The recently built Earl Carlson Grove, off McMullen Road in Darlington, is named after him.

Grave of William Squires51. Aircraftman William Squires (D. 1940)
DHS ref. W(3)-1-15

Bill Squires died aged 19, one of the first of the Darlington serviceman to be killed in the Second World War and the first person to be buried in the new war graves section of West Cemetery. He served as a rear gunner and was killed when his plane crash-landed in North Wales. His family home was in Station Road. He had worked as an apprentice in Summerson’s foundry before the war.

See the Northern Echo article ‘History repeating‘ for more information on his life and funeral.

Grave of Ruby D Ray52. Ruby Hiscox Jones, also known as Ruby D. Ray (D.1934)
DHS ref. U-21-13

Popular Darlington repertory actress who died aged 28, some months after a stage fall had damaged her spine.

She had been rehearsing at the Phoenix Little Theatre in Darlington, following roles in Bristol, Derby, London and later at Sunderland and Stockton in plays such as “Peg of the Slums” and “A Beggar On Horseback”. Her memorial was paid for by contributions from 395 people. “Her talent lay in her versatility, her ability to run the gamut of human emotions, succeeding alike in farcical comedy and deep tragedy” said the chairman of her memorial fund.

Grave of Joseph Forestall Smythe53. Joseph Forestall Smythe (D. 1930)
DHS ref. F(3)-1-5

Gunmaker whose shop in Blackwellgate exploded on 9th October 1894, destroying a substantial part of the town centre. GG Hoskins (see A-6-1 above) and a number of others were injured in the blast. An apprentice, Thomas Howe, later died from his injuries. Smythe moved his business to Horsemarket where he continued to work for a number of years until he was knocked down by a bus, and later died, aged 85.

Grave of Captain William Ernest Rogerson54. Captain William Ernest Rogerson (Died 1914)
DHS ref. F(2)-1-45

Captain Rogerson lived at Neasham Abbey, and previously at Walworth Castle. He died from a heart attack while training at Bullswater Camp, Woking during the First World War. His wife Violet then moved to Hurworth Grange.

Grave of James Walker55. James Walker (Died 1928)
DHS ref. F(1)-17-1

An LNER engine driver with more than 40 years experience, James Walker helped to found the Independent Labour Party, joining in 1893 and forming the Darlington branch a short time later. He was also heavily involved with the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), represented Eastbourne ward on Darlington Borough Council for some years and served on the Board of Guardians for the town. In his obituary in the Northern Despatch he was described as a ‘pioneer of Darlington socialism’ and ‘a man universally respected and liked’.

A bronze plaque in his memory, originally housed in the Garden Street Memorial Hall, is now in the Head of Steam railway museum.

Roman sarcophagus56. Roman Sarcophagus

One of at least three Roman sarcophaguses in Darlington which came to light around 1840 when the first stretch of the main railway line was being built from Darlington to York. It is thought that they were discovered as navvies dug a cutting through Castle Hills to the west of Northallerton, which was believed to be a Roman fort. By coincidence, Castle Hills was the location of the accident in which Thomas Adamson, below, was killed.

More information on Darlington’s Sarcophaguses can be found in Chris Lloyd’s article, “The secret diary of a love sick ‘Jane Austen’“.

57. John Neasham (Died 1969)

DHS ref. G-1-38

Entering working life at Dove’s garage in Bondgate, John Neasham opened his own garage in Parkgate in 1926. He went on to have Ford dealerships in Northallerton and Richmond as well as the St Cuthbert’s Way dealership in Darlington, which he later sold to Skippers.  He lived at Blackwell Hill in the town. He was a councillor, magistrate, freemason, alderman and mayor of the town. He was also chairman of the aero club at Croft Circuit and a leading member of the Rotary Club, the cricket club, the motor club, the St John Ambulance Brigade and the chrysanthemum society. He was also Director of Darlington Football Club from 1936 to 1964 and its chairman from 1951.

Grave of George Snaith58. John George Snaith (Died 1942)
DHS ref. G(1)-2-18

Successful businessman and Mayor of Darlington.

A butcher with a shop on corner of Prebend Row and Priestgate; a director of the Hippodrome theatre; director of a printing company; director of the Darlington Cold Ice & Storage Company and a director of the Darlington Garden Suburb Company which was responsible for constructing many post war streets such as The Mead, off Yarm Road. While Mayor he also had the honor of opening the gates of the new entrance to the South Park from Parkside on June 26th 1927 (see the book ‘A Walk in the Park’ by Chris Lloyd).

Grace of Thomas Adamson59. Thomas Adamson (Died 1894)
DHS ref. G-1-14

Engine driver, resident in Cobden Street, Darlington. Died following a railway accident at Castle Hills junction, near Northallerton, on 4th October 1894. He was the driver of the Edinburgh to London express which missed a stop signal in thick fog, late at night, and stuck a mineral train.


Guide to West Cemetery in Darlington — 2 Comments

  1. Hi my wife and I looked for my Great Grandparents grave on Saturday morning with no luck, They are called Mary Alice Douglass and Edward Main Douglass. The location of the grave is “section S, row 22, headstone 7. The headstone is overgrown, fully according to your personal details form, it could be under a tree or some bushes I suppose. The last person to visit the grave would of been about 50 years ago. I felt a bit fed up after looking for it and not finding it. I would be grateful if help me find the grave please. Gordon Douglass

    • I hope that you have been able to find the grave using the extra information that I emailed to you.

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