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Darlington has been at the heart of things from when it was the first fording point of the River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees. The area of Feethams has a proud local heritage within Darlington, being the home to cricket and then football for over 120 years.
The new development is located east of the Feethams area. To the north lies the Town Hall and the Medieval Parish Church of St Cuthbert. To the immediate east is the River Skerne and the south is bounded by St Cuthbert’s Way Roundabout and Victoria Road beyond.
In the early Nineteenth Century, Darlington underwent considerable change. New development and redevelopment was taking place at an increasing rate with the town’s boundaries expanding in almost all directions.
The County Map of the 1843-1891 shows the Feethams area bisected by the then Feethams Lane; the land being predominantly open space and rural in nature with the River Skerne meandering by. During this time, Feethams became the home of the Darlington town cricket club and from the 1860s amateur football was played here. By 1883 Darlington FC had arrived and the area became forever associated with football.
Nevertheless, the ordnance Survey Map of 1898 still shows the development site as being part of a single large field and it remained open as fields, gardens and allotments until the 1960s.
Throughout this time, new developments sprang up all around, with Victorian terrace housing shown to the east, south and west, and a new road, Victoria Road, built to the south.
Between 1956 and 1970 the face of Darlington changed considerably. New roads, developments and infrastructure throughout the 1960s led to the creation of a ‘new-style’ town. In the vicinity of the site, the new inner ring road, St Cuthbert’s Way, replaced a great swathe of terraced houses on the east bank of the river.
Finally, in 1961, the town’s new ‘Omnibus Depot’ was constructed on the site and to the immediate north the Town Hall was constructed, replacing the Technical College and residential properties. Darlington FC moved to the Darlington Arena after 120 years in 2003, the team coming from behind to clinch a 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient in their final match at Feethams. The bus station remained until 2009, when changing transportation patterns meant a series of more flexible and smaller bus terminals were located in the town – the site has been a car park ever since.
Feethams has a proud past and we are equally proud to be part of its future.