Stockton & Darlington Railway boundary stone dating from about 1821 to 1825. Dressed stone inscribed "S & D R" in Roman letters.
Boundary marker, Stockton & Darlington Railway, probably dating from about 1821 to 1825.
Boundary markers like this were used to clearly identify the limits of railway land and to distinguish them from adjacent property. They were typically used where it was difficult to install a fence or hedge, where there was a risk of encroachment by other landowners, or where there had been a dispute over land ownership.
The Stockton & Darlington Railway was authorised by an Act of Parliament passed in April 1821. It gave the company powers to compulsorily purchase land needed for the railway and stipulated that its boundaries had to be marked ‘with good and sufficient Posts, Rails, Hedges, Ditches, Mounds, or other Fences’.
This boundary marker is a piece of dressed stone with the company initials, “S & D R” inscribed in two lines of Roman lettering on its face. The majority of the stone would have been buried to make it difficult for it to be dug up and removed. The lower part of the stone, which would have been underground, is only roughly finished.
The Stockton & Darlington Railway was built to connect Durham collieries with the towns of Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington and opened on 27 September 1825. It was the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives and significantly influenced the development of railways in Britain. The company and its lines were taken over by the North Eastern Railway in 1863.