Sometimes, you can take the things on your doorstep for granted. I’ve lived in Darlington for most of my life but somehow didn’t manage to make it to Tees Cottage Pumping Station until the grand old age of 22.
If you live in Darlington, you’ve probably driven past the Tees Cottage Pumping Station plenty of times. I know I have. But when I heard that they were having an open day, I decided to call in and see what was hidden in plain sight. These open days don’t happen too often (the next open weekend is the 1st and 2nd of April 2018) so you definitely need to be on the ball to make the most of them.
With that being said, it is well worth sticking the dates in your diary and popping along.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but as soon as I headed through the doors, I realised what a historical gem has been hiding in Darlington. Built in 1849, the station was originally used to pump water from the River Tees to the local area. As you wander around the site, you are met with lots of fascinating machinery and plenty of information about how everything worked. A lot of the machines are turned back on for the open day so that you can see them in action. It’s like having a chance to walk through history itself.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful volunteers who run the Tees Cottage Pumping Station. They are so knowledgeable and more than willing to answer any questions you may have. It really made me feel welcome to be surrounded by friendly faces.
If you want to spend a couple of hours at the Tees Cottage Pumping Station, you certainly can. On site is a tearoom (with amazing handmade cakes and biscuits) as well as other sights to keep the family entertained. When we were there, there was a miniature train running and they had a blacksmith working while people watched. It was fascinating!
While you do have to pay to enter, it was a really reasonable price and you got to see a lot for your money. I was even promoting it on Facebook the next day so that other people could visit.
If you’re free in April, I would definitely recommend a trip to the Tees Cottage Pumping Station. Whether you’re a history buff or not, there’s plenty of interesting things to see that are usually hidden in Darlington.