The first history of Darlington, William Hylton Dyer Longstaffe’s History and Antiquities of the Parish of Darlington in the Bishoprick, was written in the Victorian era using the material gathered by the local antiquary George Allan. The first recorded theatrical performance of Thomas Bates’ Durham Company in Darlington was in June 1768, for which two playbills survive. According to Longstaffe the actors performed “in a tent erected in a field on the edge of town – probably in the Green Tree Fields behind Skinnergate.” Theatrical entertainment was popular in the town and thirty-two people appear in the Darlington section of the manager James Cawdell‘s Miscellaneous Poems published in 1785. One of those entries, “Richardson and Co”, refers to the bankers John Mowbray, Richard Richardson and his sons, one of several Quaker businesses based in Darlington that played an important role in monetising the regional economy. The fact that the subscription appears under a company name suggests that Cawdell used their banking services.

The Darlington Quaker James Backhouse, whose banking business was founded in 1774 subscribed to the actor James Field Stanfield’s Essay on the Study and Composition of Biography. After Hollingsworth and Mowbray’s bank collapsed in 1815 the Backhouse bank took over their premises on High Row in Darlington and the Backhouse bank later went into partnership with Barclays in 1896. Their building in Darlington remains the site of Barclays Bank today, thereby providing a surviving trace of eighteenth-century banking in the region.



Image by Unknown, Darlington, unknown