Stanley – A Historical Look at Our County Durham Town

14th September 2015

Stanley, a former colliery town in County Durham, has a significant history as locals probably know, but as our customers come from far and wide we thought it would be good to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Stanley might only seem like a small town to some, but to those of us who live here it is rich with heritage, history and news of its own.

For those fact fans among you, Stanley is centred on a hilltop between Chester-le-Street and Consett, southwest of Gateshead, with a population of 32,766 recorded in 2011.

Stanley was previously known as three separate settlements – West Stanley and its mining villages, East Stanley and South Stanley. Although they are unofficial titles now, you might still hear locals referring to the areas of East and South Stanley.

Both Neolithic and Roman remains have been discovered in Stanley, despite the first written mention of Stanley not coming until 1211. The town’s name is derived from the Old English for “Stoney Field”.

In the news, Stanley’s history as a mining town features prominently with the tragic loss of 160 people on 16 February 1909 in the West Stanley Pit Disaster (also referred to as the Burns Pit Disaster). It is confirmed as one of the worst coal mining disasters in British history.

The grandfather of former Newcastle United FC and England Manager, Kevin Keegan, was one of a few who escaped the pit alive.

Since the closure of the pits, Stanley has struggled with economic decline, as have many former mining towns. Following the pit closures, other major employers also shut down, including the Ever Ready, in Tanfield and the British Steel Plant and Shotley Bridge General Hospital, both in Consett.

The future is bright for our small town, however, with a recent refurbishment of the town centre including a solar-powered bus interchange and an extension to the Louisa Centre leisure facility with a new swimming pool.

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