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Coal Stories Durham City Trail guide front cover

An illustrated trail booklet has been developed by Durham Energy Institute researchers to guide people through Durham City’s mining past.

The guide’s easy to follow map highlights important landmarks that provide insights into the culture and experiences of the past. Across a distance of two miles, taking in some little known corners, the walk takes approximately an hour to complete. Where sections of the route are difficult or impassable for people with restricted mobility, the guide provides alternative directions.

From the earliest period of the Industrial Revolution, developments in Durham City played a significant part in the economic and political transformation of North East England. Major changes in Durham occurred that dramatically altered its environment, social composition and the preoccupations of its inhabitants.

‘Coal Stories’ reprises this story through a walking tour designed to reflect the lives of Durham’s expanding population, and the altered character of their city.

The trail takes visitors around Durham City’s historic landmarks, such as the Miners Association’s Pitman’s Parliament, as well as lesser known sites such as St Margaret’s Allotments and nearby alleyways.

The guide provides fascinating insights through stories connected to each location of how coal once shaped the lives of Durham’s citizens and of its legacy in the present.

The guide was produced by Professor Sandra Bell (Anthropology) and Dr Adrian Green (History). It builds on walking tours they developed for students and visitors. Durham City Trust contributed to printing costs and proceeds will go to the Durham Mining Museum at Spennymoor.

Professor Sandra Bell said
“We began our walks with students so they could explore the industrial history of the City, which is not as immediately apparent as earlier stages of the city’s past. They were surprised at all there is to be discovered, much of it hidden in plain sight. Staff joined too and encouraged us to produce a pocket sized illustrated book and to make the trail accessible to people with varying levels of mobility. Thanks to our graphic designer Christine Unwin’s clever map the routes are very easy to follow.”

You can find the guide at the following shops:

  • Durham Cathedral Bookshop
  • Palace Green Library shop 
  • Discovering Durham, Prince Bishops shopping centre
  • Durham Museum and Heritage Centre, South Bailey
  • The Durham Mining Museum at Spennymoor Town Hall

Or you can email to request a copy of the book.