Henry Pease in early 1875 suggested to the Board of the NER that an event should be held to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, which was looked upon favourably and subsequently a committee was formed to make the arrangements. The decision was taken by the committee to mark the event in 5 different ways:-

1. The unveiling of a statue of Joseph Pease.

2. The presentation of a portrait of Joseph Pease to Darlington Corporation

3. A celebration banquet to be held on the evening of Monday, 27 September, 1875.

4. An exhibition of locomotive engines and other objects of railway interest at North Road Works.

5. Excursions to places of industrial, topographical or antiquarian interest in Darlington and district on Tuesday, 28 September, 1875.

Jubilee day was a general holiday and the town took on an air of festivity, with houses and shops bedecked with banners. An avenue of venetian pillars were built along Victoria Road, with an arch at the entrance to the cricket field, on which stood the marquee in which the celebration banquet was to take place. On the arch was a scarlet cloth with the words printed in white "PIONEERS OF RAILWAY ENTERPRISE", on side scrolls were the names of ; Stephenson, Meynell, Flounders, Pease, Kitching, Gilkes, Mewburn, Backhouse, Macnay and Dixon. Notably missing from this list was the name of "Hackworth".

Bank Top and North Road stations were decorated with flowers and bunting, announcing "Welcome to Darlington" to the travellers who flocked to the celebrations. The Market Place was surrounded by venetian pillars, from the top of each hung a banner, and further down each column were shields. A chain of white, pink and yellow roses connected the pillars to each other.

During the night of 26th September, the weather was bad, with gale force winds, causing damage to the marquee erected for the banquet. The morning of 27th September saw heavy rain falling until noon, but fortunately thereafter the sun broke through the clouds, by which time it was impossible to move in the centre of town with upwards of 100,000 people gathered for the celebrations.

The first procession left Bank Top station at approximately 1.30 p.m., led by the Directors of the NER and their guests, the Mayors of various cities and towns and leaders of many organisations. On arrival at North Road Works, the party was led into the tender and fitting shops by Henry Pease, where the exhibition was sited. They inspected the displays of locomotives and memorabilia before boarding a special train which took them back to Bank Top station where they were joined by the Lord Mayor of London and other guests who had travelled on a special train from Kings Cross.

At approximately 5.0 p.m. on 27th September, the statue of Joseph Pease was unveiled on the High Row by the Duke of Cleveland, followed by speeches by the Mayor of Darlington and Mr. J.W. Pease. The ceremony having been somewhat delayed due to the absence of the trumpeters, who could not be found for some time.

Joseph Pease died in February, 1872, at the age of 72.

The exhibition of locomotives was opened by George Leeman, chairman of the NER, who escorted the main party round the North Road works.

"Locomotion" was removed from its pedestal into the works and raised above the track, it then was supplied with steam, in order for visitors to view the wheels and valve gear moving.

Henry Pease, standing on "Locomotion" made a speech, paying tribute to William Bouch, who was unable to attend due to illness, and formally welcoming the distinguished guests.

There are a number of contradictory statements on the locomotives taking part in the exhibition, which are centered around No. 10(?) "Auckland". According to E.L. Ahrons "Auckland" was in fact No. 26 "Pilot" built by Kitching. The reason for the deception being that it had been noticed that there were no locomotives on display from Timothy Hackworth, one of the most important men in the history of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

The decision was therefore taken to switch the numbers, and pass off "Pilot" as "Auckland". The photograph above was shown stating that the nameplate was conveniently missing and the number "10" had been painted over the number "26". In fact, the photograph is not of either "Auckland" or "Pilot", but "Despatch", a Timothy Hackworth locomotive built in 1838. "Auckland" was No. 6 on the Stockton and Darlington Railway, being the number it took from the "Experiment", when that locomotive was withdrawn.

There are two other issues which contradict Ahrons statement. First, "Auckland" was still working at the time of the Jubilee and therefore capable of taking part, in addition there was another Hackworth locomotive on display at the exhibition, namely "Dart".

Other locomotives taking part, included:-
No. 1068, a Darlington built 2-4-0 locomotive, completed only weeks before the celebrations(shown above in the photograph).
1033 "Shildon" built at Shildon in 1846.
1035 "Commerce" built at Shildon in 1847
1050 "Meteor" built at Shildon in 1843.
1058 "Woodlands" built by Kitching in 1848.
1062 "Southend" built by Gilkes, Wilson in 1849.
1066 "Priam" built by Gilkes, Wilson in 1847.
1080 "The Duke" built at Shildon in 1854.

 

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