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County Durham

County of England / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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County Durham, officially simply Durham (/ˈdʌrəm/),[note 1] is a ceremonial county in North East England.[2] The county borders Northumberland and Tyne and Wear to the north, the North Sea to the east, North Yorkshire to the south, and Cumbria to the west. The largest settlement is Darlington, and the county town is the city of Durham.

Quick facts: County Durham Durham, Sovereign state, Co...
County Durham
Middleton-in-Teesdale, Darlington clock tower, and the coast near Seaham
Ceremonial Durham
Comparison of differing boundaries (historic in grey, ceremonial in blue)
Coordinates: 54°40′N 1°50′W
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth East England
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of ParliamentList
PoliceDurham Constabulary
Cleveland Police
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantSusan Snowdon
High SheriffAnne Elizabeth Elliott (2023)[1]
Area2,721 km2 (1,051 sq mi)
  Ranked18th of 48
Population (2021)866,846
  Ranked26th of 48
Density324/km2 (840/sq mi)
Unitary authorities
Districts of County Durham
  1. County Durham
  2. Hartlepool
  3. Darlington
  4. Stockton-on-Tees (north)

The county has an area of 2,721 km2 (1,051 sq mi) and a population of 866,846. The latter is concentrated in the east; the south-east is part of the Teesside built-up area, which extends into North Yorkshire. After Darlington (92,363), the largest settlements are Hartlepool (88,855), Stockton-on-Tees (82,729), and Durham (48,069). For local government purposes the county comprises three unitary authority areas—County Durham, Darlington, and Hartlepool—and part of a fourth, Stockton-on-Tees. The county historically included the part of Tyne and Wear south of the River Tyne, and excluded the part of County Durham south of the River Tees.

The west of the county contains part of the North Pennines uplands, a national landscape. The hills are the source of the rivers Tees and Wear, which flow east and form the valleys of Teesdale and Weardale respectively. The east of the county is flatter, and contains by rolling hills through which the two rivers meander; the Tees forms the boundary with North Yorkshire in its lower reaches, and the Wear exits the county near Chester-le-Street in the north-east. The county's coast is a site of special scientific interest characterised by tall limestone and dolomite cliffs.

What is now County Durham was on the border of Roman Britain, and contains survivals of this era at sites such as Binchester Roman Fort. In the Anglo-Saxon period the region was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria. In 995 the city of Durham was founded by monks seeking a place safe from Viking raids to house the relics of St Cuthbert. Durham Cathedral was rebuilt after the Norman Conquest, and together with Durham Castle is now a World Heritage Site. By the late Middle Ages the county was governed semi-independently by the bishops of Durham and was also a buffer zone between England and Scotland. County Durham became heavily industrialised in the nineteenth century, when many collieries opened on the Durham coalfield. The Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world's first public railway to use steam locomotives, opened in 1825.[3] Most collieries closed during the last quarter of the twentieth century, but the county's coal mining heritage is remembered in the annual Durham Miners' Gala.

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