New History of our 190 Years

190 Years of our Institute's History Chronicled in New Book by Our Chair.

We are excited to announce that to end our 190th anniversary celebrations, a new book has been published which chronicles 190 years of our Institute's history from the events that led to the forming back in 1833 right through to our milestone celebration in 2023.

Penned by the current Institute Chair, Dave Reynolds, the book is entitled "An Insatiable First: 190 Years of Shildon's Pioneering Railway Institute". He explained the implied meaning of that title at a special book launch even at the Institute on Saturday 10 February 2024 - a date chosen for being closest to the day the current Institute building opened in 1913.

"The title works on a number of levels. If you say 'an insatiable first' thinking about the Institute today, with 'first' sounding like 'thirst', it would bring to mind how people come here to drink and socialise - but of course our institute more significantly is a 'first'. It was the first such organisation to be set up for railway employees anywhere in the world, and of course as much as you can have a 'thirst' for something to drink, the expression 'a thirst for knowledge' is also reminiscent of the earliest days of the Institute. As to the 'insatiable' - put simply this Institute is not yet 'sated' or satisfied that its work for its community is done. It is not ready to bring an end to its activities and wants to keep on providing service."

The author described the book as a journey by rail through the times in which the reader might imagine looking out from the window of their carriage at different scenes taking place as they pass by - from the founding of New Shildon, the starting of the institute in the cellar of the Globe Inn in 1833, the Welseyan schoolroom years, the reading room at the Masons Arms, the first building on Station Street and its subsequent expansion, the NER era and new building on Redworth Road, the LNER era during which a grand celebration of our hundredth year was marked by a special locomotive exhibition, the British Rail era and the founding of the sister Sports Ground site, the closure of the works in 1984 which brought separation and building ownership, right through to the triumphs and challenges of the present day - and even looks ahead up the line to consider the future.

At the launch event, Dave set out the Institute's vision that the current committee wanted everyone, members and the surrounding community, to know more about our past, what makes us special, the stories that defined us, and for the Institute to be the place that our members and community choose for a place to celebrate life, family, community, ancestry and our unique rich and proud industrial heritage and identity. 

Now that the book, which comes in both paperback and hardback format, has been launched and made available it can be bought directly 'in person' at the Institute, or ordered online internationally from Amazon.

Purchases made at the Institute will benefit from a special discounted price, and while stocks last the buyer will also receive a copy of the "Cradle of the Railways" CD featuring five songs, four of which were written with the community of Shildon, and all of which were recorded at the Institute.

Institute Prices (including free "Cradle of the Railways" CD) - just pop in and ask one of our friendly staff.

Paperback - £5

Hardback - £8

Every penny from these book sales will go to the Institute

Amazon Prices - direct link to the book's page on Amazon

Paperback - £6.99

Hardback - £11.99

The Institute will make a small commission on these online purchases

Date: Sunday 11th February 2024