Darlington is a market town in County Durham, in North East England, and part of the Tees Valley.
With a population of 106,000 in 2011, the town lies on the River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees.
However the oldest church in the town happens to be that of St Andrew's Church built around 1125 and presides in the Haughton area of Darlington.
Visiting during the 18th century, Daniel Defoe noted that the town was eminent for "good bleaching of linen, so that I have known cloth brought from Scotland to be bleached here".
However he also disparaged the town, writing that it had "nothing remarkable but dirt" (the roads would typically be unpaved at the time).
As the century progressed, powerful Quaker families such as the Pease and Backhouse families were prominent employers and philanthropists in the area.
Darlington's most famous landmark, the clock tower, was a gift to the town by the industrialist Joseph Pease in 1864.
These bells were in fact the sister bells to those which are inside the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament in London, the most famous of which is called Big Ben.
The Darlington Mechanics Institute was opened in 1854 by Elizabeth Pease Nichol, who had made the largest donation towards its building costs.
Alfred Waterhouse, responsible for London's Natural History Museum and Manchester Town Hall, designed the Grade II listed Victorian Market Hall in 1860, and also the Backhouse's Bank building, now a branch of Barclays, in 1864, the latter taking three years to complete.
George Gordon Hoskins was responsible for much of the town's architecture in this period, such as The King's Hotel.
The Darlington Free Library was built with funding from Edward Pease, and opened in 1884.
Darlington is known for its associations with the birth of railways.