Historic buildings and Stockton and Darlington Railway

Outdoor viewing of these buildings is available daily.

National Railway Museum at Shildon - Hackworth Cottage

Coal Drops

The coal drops is a grade II listed structure dating from 1846/7. It was used for fuelling the tenders of railway locomotives. Wagons loaded with coal would go to the top of the coal drops and coal would be released from an open bottom on the wagon into a chutes and then into the locomotive tenders below. The method was efficient and cost effective.

They were built during a period of expansion by the Stockton and Darlington Railway and placed near the new main line on route to Shildon Sheds. They can be seen from the museum's arterial footpath.


Near the coal drops are the remains of what was possibly a stable block used on the Black Boy Colliery Branch (part of the Stockton and Darlington Railway). In the early days of the Stockton and Darlington Railway many trains were still pulled by horses rather than locomotive power. The stables sit on the junction of two branch lines: the Black Boy Colliery and the Surtees Railway.

Goods Shed and Parcels Office

From 1857 the Goods Shed was the centre of local freight distribution in Shildon, it was the hub of the distribution network operated by the railway. The parcels office administered the movement of goods in and out of the Goods Shed.

The Goods Shed now is now used as the museum's heritage station during steaming days.

Hackworth House

In 1824 George Stephenson recruited Timothy Hackworth to oversee the building of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, engines houses and stationary engines. He became the railway's superintendent in 1825 and was responsible for building locomotives for the company.

In 1831 Timothy and his family moved into Hackworth House (formerly Soho House). The Stockton and Darlington Railway works was situated directly behind the property. The house was shared by Timothy's brother Thomas and family and was later occupied by his successor at the Stockton and Darlington Railway William Bouch.

Soho Shed

Soho Shed is the oldest surviving industrial building in Shildon. It was originally built as an iron merchant’s warehouse in 1826 and was later used by the North Eastern railway from 1863. In the 1870s it was being used as a paint shop for locomotives. In the 20th century it was used as a boxing gym and a practice room for Shildon Works Silver Band.

Inside the building you can see Nelson, a locomotive thought to have been built by Thomas Hackworth (brother of Timothy) plus early Chaldron wagons and Shildon Works Bell.

Welcome Building

The Welcome building was constructed in 1888 as a Sunday School for the Methodist Chapel. In the 1960s it became a clothing factory and in the 1990s it became a cable factory. In 2004 it became the entrance building for the museum (this changed in 2008 when the new car park was completed at Collection) and is the home of the original Sans Pareil locomotive built by Timothy Hackworth to compete in the Rainhill trials in 1829 for the newly created Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

Background: 'Skegness is so Bracing' LNER Poster