Stockton and Darlington Railway

Heritage on Track Commission

Heritage on Track

Artist Brief

Tees Valley Arts, in collaboration with Creative Darlington and Groundwork NE & Cumbria, wish to commission an artist or group of artists to undertake a commission as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Great Place – Tees Valley initiative. The opportunity is open to artists working across any platform, including visual arts and performing arts and should respond to the themes identified below. The site for the work will be along the track bed of the original Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world’s first passenger railway, the bicentenary of which is to be celebrated in 2025. We envisage interventions along a 5-mile length of track bed in Darlington Borough, either physical, virtual or through performance.

The project will last for a total 18 months, between September 2018 and March 2020 and should be predicated on structured community involvement, particularly through local school, in the shaping of the final work to reflect the site’s railway heritage. Support will be offered by Groundwork NE & Cumbria and Tees Valley Arts in reaching local communities. Support will be offered through the project steering group in accessing information regarding the history of the railway, including through the Friends of Stockton and Darlington Railway.

We invite first stage expressions of interest which should include a statement about your practice, details of previous experience in a related area and an outline of how you would approach the brief and a proposed breakdown of your budget. This should be no more than 3 sides of A4 in total. Please include up to 5 high-quality images to accompany your proposal in digital format. Up to five shortlisted artists will be invited to develop a detailed proposal which will be exhibited at the Head of Steam Museum, Darlington in June and shortlisted artists invited to present their ideas to interested parties from the local community. A fee of £800 per proposal will be available for this stage together with modest travel costs and subsistence costs (not more than £200.) From this, a final selection will be made.

The overall budget for the final commission is £18,000 to include fees, travel & subsistence and materials. If you wish to discuss any details of this opportunity please contact by email James Beighton, Executive Director at Tees Valley Arts at

Please email your expressions of interest by 12pm on 1st June 2018 to

Opportunity Summary

Duration: 18 months
Total Fees: £18,000 including all fees, travel & subsistence and materials.

Key themes:

  • To explore the importance of both rail and local heritage within particular communities in Darlington which are based in close proximity to the track bed of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (Red Hall, communities around North Road, and Middleton St George).
  • To engage with the Healthy New Towns agenda around wellbeing, building pride and aspiration.
  • To encourage story-telling and inter-generational learning around aspects of the area’s heritage.
  • To involve other artists and creative practitioners within the Tees Valley region in the creative journey.
  • To produce recommendations for further and sustainable activity around the theme in the run-up to the anniversary.

Key Dates

1st June 2018: Deadline for expression of interest.
8th June 2018: Shortlisted artists notified
15th June 2018: Deadline for submission of developed proposals if successful
20–29th Jun 2018: Tour of proposals with local schools (managed by Tees Valley Arts/ Groundwork NE & Cumbria)
3rd July 2018: community pitch. Artists will be invited to pitch their proposal to a community group which will inform the final selection of artist/s

Download Brief

Download (PDF, 111KB)


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Heritage on Track

Help us save this Portrait of Henry Pease

Henry Pease Portrait

Will you help to save this slice of history for our museums?

Tees Valley Arts are leading the fundraising effort to save this important portrait of Henry Pease for our region. It will be jointly accessioned by the Head of Steam Museum in Darlington, the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough and Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar with the aim of making it available to all of the museums in the region that has been so profoundly shaped by the industrious nature of the Pease family.

The portrait of Henry Pease hanging in his home Pierremont House, Darlington

The History

The portrait depicts Henry Pease, one of the leading Industrialists of the 19th Century. He is perhaps best known as one of the founders of passenger railway as a Director of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He is also remembered as the founding father of the Saltburn-by-the-Sea, the first purpose-built railway seaside resort.

He is less well known in his role as President of the Peace Society and his campaign to prevent the Crimean War between Britain, France and Russia, during which he met with the Russian Tsar in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution. When that failed, he was received in Paris by Emperor Louis Napoleon, with the aim of establishing a Peace Congress in the city.

Whilst he was not successful in his efforts to prevent the Crimean Conflict – the weights of two empires being against him – it is perhaps this context that makes the current portrait so important. The artist was Jerry Barrett, a Victorian painter who is most well remembered for his own paintings of the Crimean War.

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Among these are two paintings hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, one depicting Queen Victoria visiting her soldiers and another showing Florence Nightingale tending to the wounded (above). We don’t know how this campaigner for peace and this painter of conflict first met but the portrait is a lasting testament to both men’s involvement in the war.

Please Donate

Donations of any size are welcome, please join us and donate whatever you can afford through our fundraising platform and help rescue this piece of our history.*

* any additional funds raised over the purchase price will be used to support the research and display of the painting

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