About VCH Durham

The Durham Victoria County History Trust was established in 1993 to raise money for the renewal of the county history, which had been suspended in 1928 after the publication of three volumes. A county editor, Gill Cookson, was appointed in 1999 to start work on volume 4, A History of Darlington. In 2000 she was joined by an assistant editor, Christine Newman. Volume 4 was published in 2005, by which time work had started on volume 5, A History of Sunderland, which has now been published (2015). In the meantime three paperback volumes have been published: The Townscape of Darlington (2003), Sunderland and its Origins (2007) and Sunderland: Building a City (2010). See here for more details on our publications.

Funding the VCH has always been the principal objective of the Trust.  And that has become increasingly difficult.  We receive generous support from subscribers and have been the beneficiaries of substantial donations and backing from individuals and organisations over the years, especially from Darlington Borough Council, Sunderland City Council, The University of Durham, the University of Sunderland, the University of Teesside, the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries, and the Northern Rock Foundation. We were helped after 2004 by Heritage Lottery Funding, but when that expired we were unable to continue the employment of an editor and assistant. Thanks to the generosity of the Marc Fitch Fund we were able to re-engage our editors as consultants, and published volume 5.  But funding thereafter remains a concern. Contributions, eligible for gift aid, are gratefully received.

If you wish to make a donation or have any queries about the trust, please see our website: https://durhamvictoriacountyhistory.com/

Durham Victoria County History Trust

Registered Charity Number 1026167

Our Patrons are: The Lord Lieutenant of County Durham; the Bishop of Durham; the Lord Barnard; Kate Adie, O.B.E.; Sir Thomas Allen, C.B.E.; Sir Paul Nicholson KCVO, KStJ

Staff Profiles

Dr Gillian Cookson Gillian Cookson, Consultant Editor

Gill Cookson was appointed county editor for the re-launch of the Durham VCH in 1999. A graduate of the University of Leeds, she took a DPhil in economic history at York, with a thesis on West Riding machine-makers, in 1994. A post-doctoral research fellowship at Teesside followed, on the origins of electrical engineering, specifically submarine telegraphs, and resulting in a biography of the electrical engineer and Victorian polymath Fleeming Jenkin. Since 1999 Gill has written on Darlington - notably in The Townscape of Darlington (2003) and Durham VCH iv (2005) - and continued to pursue interests in 18th- and 19th-century industrial history in a social context. Networks are a particular theme - social and economic relationships, such as those between early engineers, within the Quakers circles involved in launching the Stockton and Darlington railway, and the 18th-century masonic lodges which acted as friendly societies and whose members were heavily involved in promoting the Wearmouth bridge and other great  public enterprises in Sunderland.  As manager of the Durham EPE project, Gill supervised a team of researchers in Sunderland, edited the first Sunderland paperback, Origins of Sunderland, and wrote the second, Sunderland: Building a City.  Gill can be contacted at gill@oldbank2.co.uk

Alex Brown, Volunteer Coordinator

Dr A.T. Brown has held postdoctoral fellowships at Durham University and the IHR. His book, Rural Society and Economic Change in County Durham (Boydell, 2015), explored landed society in the Durham region between the late-fourteenth and early-seventeenth centuries. He has also co-edited (with Andy Burn and Rob Doherty) Crises in Economic and Social History (Boydell, 2015) and (with James Bowen) Custom and Commercialisation in English Rural Society (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2016). His current research explores the fear of downward social mobility in late medieval England. He is now the project coordinator of the 'History of North Teesdale' Project, which aims to produce three VCH Shorts on Gainford, Middleton-in-Teesdale and Barnard Castle, and will use this material to work with schools in the area to promote local history. 

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