Pictures of Bishop Auckland
About Bishop Auckland
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This was the busy social and commercial centre of the south-west Durham coalfield, but the town is actually much older than the Industrial Revolution, although that historic period was largely responsible for its rapid growth and development.
Bishop Auckland is situated at the meeting point of the River Gaunless and Wear, it has been an important market town since Medieval times, with most of its history connected to the Castle of Auckland in splendid Bishop Park, where the principal residence of the Bishop's of Auckland has been since the 12th-century.
The castle is an imposing building, with a colourful extravagant interior. It is a noted tourist attraction of the region as well as being the Bishop's official home. At one time, few people saw its rich interior, but now, like many historic homes, the building has moved with the times and parts are available for hire. It has a magnificent chapel with gracious stained glass windows and a superb ceiling. This together with the Throne Room and Long Gallery are already used as the administrative centre for the Diocese. In the castle the rooms reputed to have been used by Queen Victoria when she visited the town in the 18th-century, are being refurbished to provide tasteful, well equipped facilities for meetings and conferences. In addition to this there are facilities for weddings, banquettes and concerts.
King's, Queens as well as Bishop's once hunted in the castle's 800 acre parkland, this now offers a peaceful place to wander, enjoy a picnic in one of the many pretty picnic spots. Fallow deer no longer roam the park, but you can see the interesting deer shelter built in 1760 by Bishop Trevor. Above this there is a room where the Bishop and his companions could take a refreshment and a rest from hunting. Today, with paths leading through lovely woodland to the banks of the River Gaunless, the park makes an idyllic setting to site a marquee for a wedding reception.
The town has a lovely market place where visitors can see a pleasant blend of properties from several periods, included in these is the Town Hall and St.Anne's Church, other buildings are colourful black and white with timber frame and some are from the Georgian period. There is also an excellent refurbished library and arts centre, and a Discovery centre which is mostly an open space for public exhibitions and events.
Apart from all that is historic, Bishop Auckland has a bright, youthful population attending its several educational facilities. Its college is said to be one of the fastest growing educational colleges in the country.
The town also has its famous people, from recent history the most notable is Stan Laurel, whose father Arthur Jefferson managed the long vanished Eden Theatre. Young Stan was baptised in St. James's Church and went to school in the local Grammar School before travelling to America to found his fortune as the other half of a famous duo.
Bishop Auckland offers a pleasant shopping experience, it is one of the few towns to have really interesting specialist shops as well as the everyday stores found on most High Streets. There are pubs, restaurants and plenty of cafe's for refreshments, and excellent hotels for those wishing to stay to explore the town and surrounding countryside which includes vast expanses of lonely moorland, reservoirs, dales, and the path of the Pennine Way.
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