A RESTORED heritage plaque commemorating the first passenger railway journey was reinstated yesterday (September 27) – the same date as the first journey was made in 1825.
The plaque was originally unveiled at 48 Bridge Road, near Victoria Bridge, to mark the centenary of the journey in 1925, by the then Duke and Duchess of York, who went on to become King George VI and the Queen Mother.
It has now been reinstated well in advance of the bicentenary in 2025.
Vandals attempted to steal the plaque and broke it in half during the process, leaving it beyond repair for re-use. The original bronze frame has been restored, and the central plaque re-cast by William Lane Foundry in Middlesbrough.
The Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Eileen Johnson, said: “We are very proud of our railway heritage in the Borough. We know that residents and visitors are keen to celebrate our industrial and engineering history so the reinstated plaque will again highlight the cultural importance of the Stockton-Darlington Railway.”
Victoria Northway, Operations Manager at Bridge House Mission, the owners of the building, said: “We are delighted that an important piece of the heritage of these historic buildings has been returned to its rightful place.”
Barry Thompson, Trustee of Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway, added: “The Friends exist to preserve and promote the legacy and heritage of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and we are proud to be involved with this project.”
The restoration and reinstatement of the plaque has been funded by donations facilitated by the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway, and grants from the Railway Trust and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
The damaged plaque will be donated to the Council’s heritage collection at Preston Park Museum and Grounds.