The New Town Hall for Darlington was first initiated in 1964 with the objective of consolidating the council functions dispersed in various offices around the town. The building was a key component of the plan for the new Civic centre of Darlington, occupying a site immediately next to St. Cuthbert’s Church and adjacent to the market place.
Of the new Civic buildings, Darlington was the only one to retain the traditional “Town Hall” classification and to be built with an adversarial Council Chamber, in the style of Westminster.
The building was officially opened by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal in May 1970. Although of the same age as Sunderland Civic Centre, the architectural style is more akin to Newcastle’s Civic Centre opened in 1968. As at Newcastle, a main entrance accessed from the front concourse was provided for ceremonial use and a grand staircase leads from the main entrance to the Council Chamber and Members’ Accommodation. Marble and Glass are used lavishly in the entrance, whilst the offices themselves are treated with more standard finishes.
The sculpture that stands outside of the Town Hall was donated by the Darlington Lions Club on behalf of the citizens of the Borough. Designed by John Hoskins, it is entitled “Resurgence” and was intended to celebrate the recovery of the town after the closure of its major industries during the 1960s. The riveted metal fins of the sculpture recall the railway lines upon which the town had prospered.
All images courtesy of Faulkner Brown Architects