List of Plaques in the City

Ongoing resource. We are aiming to feature on this page any plaques sited on buildings, walls and pavements in Durham City. We are using a wide definition of plaques to cover any feature that provides historical information about the City. If anyone has any information or photos of these plaques, or know of additional plaques please get in touch by leaving a comment on this post or by email Many thanks to the people who have already sent in images.

City of Durham Parish Council Plaques

  • Daisy Edis, the pioneering female photographer – 142 Gilesgate
  • Mary Gibson, Dora Heslop and Winifred Hindmarch, the three first female graduates of Durham University – Chapel, St. Hild and St. Bede’s College
  • Former site of Harrison & Harrison, organ builders – Harrison House, Hawthorn Terrace
  • The Market Hall, established in 1851 by an Act of Parliament, and one of very few privately owned markets in the UK – outside the Market Hall 
  • The Railway Cottages, part of the former Durham Elvet Railway Station – Green Lane
  • Neville House – original site of Neville’s Cross teacher training college (opened 1921), now part of the University’s Ustinov College (opened 2017)
  • 20 Allergate – On 24 Feb 1328 John de Hert and Adam Tanner, keepers of the light of St Margaret’s, Crossgate, granted this property to Robert and Agnes de Plauseworth. It was formerly held by William de Cravan.

City of Durham Trust Plaques

  • James Finlay Weir Johnston (1796-1855), agricultural chemist and mineralogist, founded a grammar school in Durham in 1825, which later merged with other local schools to form Durham Johnston Comprehensive School – 56 Claypath
  • Sir Ove Arup (1895-1988), structural engineer and architect, designer of Kingsgate Bridge (1963), and structural engineer and architectural advisor for Dunelm House (1965) – Dunelm House, New Elvet
  • Drury Lane, site of a theatre 1771-1791 – Saddler Street
  • Neptune, originally erected in 1729, in the centre of the Market Place on a contemporary stone pant (public water fountain / wellhead) – Market Place
  • Clayport, site of the gate in the city wall, removed 1791 – in Walkergate, on the corner of St Nicholas Church at start of pedestrian overpass to Claypath
  • Former Chapel of St Andrew, one of the chapels at the ends of the bridge in the 13th century; now a listed 17th century building – Elvet Bridge
  • Chapel Passage, entrance to a ‘discrete’ Catholic chapel before Catholic Emancipation which was replaced by St Cuthbert’s Church in 1827 – 33 Old Elvet (plaque missing as older building replaced by modern building for student accommodation (previously the University Catholic Chaplaincy now located in St Cuthbert’s Catholic Church, Old Elvet)
  • 57-59 Crossgate – winner of the City of Durham Trust Architectural Award for 2013

Jubilee Plaques, Durham Rotary

Rotary Durham, with negotiations with members of the Civic Trust, historians etc, set up these plaques as part of their 50th Jubilee celebrations. Plaques bear the City Cross at the top and the Rotary Wheel at the bottom with the dates 1923 to 1973. See post on the Rotary Durham Website. A walk leaflet was produced. Is it still available?

  • Site of house of John Gully MP (1783 – 1863), MP, prize fighter, racehorse and colliery owner, lived in No 7 North Bailey, the Principal’s House, Hatfield College, named after Dr Frank Byron Jevons, Principal and then Master from 1897 to 1922. Demolished in 1966, replaced by new building 1968 called Jevons House – Bailey
  • John Meade Falkner (1858-1932), English novelist and poet, chairman of Armstrong Whitworth during World War I, Honorary Reader in paleography, University of Durham, and Honorary Librarian, Dean and Chapter Library – Divinity House (now the University Music School), Windy Gap, Palace Green
  • Site of House of Sir John Duck (1632-1691), Durham’s Dick Whittington, Mayor of Durham 1680 – 39 Silver Street
  • Site of the fifteenth century town house of the Neville family, demolished in 1851 – over entrance to Market
  • Moatside Lane, medieval pilgrims’ route to the Cathedral – Silver Street
  • Bishop Cosin’s Almshouses 1666, replacing Bishop Langley’s song and grammar schools 1414 – Almshouses, Palace Green
  • Cathedral Grammar School, 1661 to 1844, converted into the University Music School – Music School, Palace Green
  • Bishop Cosin’s Library 1669, entrusted to the University 1935 – University Library, Palace Green
  • Former Exchequer and Chancery of the Palatinate built for Bishop Neville (1438-57) – University Library, Palace Green
  • Site of the North Gate between Bailey and City rebuilt 1420, removed 1820 former County Gaol – Saddler Street
  • Elvet Bridge, built 1160 for Bishop du Puiset, widened 1805, rebuilt 1832. Gaol 1632 – 1819 beneath – plaque missing
  • Tithe Barn of Elvethall Manor, held by the Cathedral Monastery, late Mediaeval – lane off Hallgarth Street, plaque not accessible to the public

Other organisations’ plaques

  • Ruth First (1925-1982), anti-apartheid activist and Durham University lecturer – Ruth First House, Providence Row
  • Dame Elizabeth Bowes, (1651 to 1736), ancestor of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother – Bowes House, St John’s College, Bailey
  • The Revd William Greenwell (1820-1918), Antiquarian & Minor Canon – 27 North Bailey
  • Statue of Charles William Vane Tempest Stewart, third Marquis of Londonderry (1778-1854), soldier, politician, mill owner and landowner, statue unveiled in 1861. Restoration in 1952 – Market Place
    • Charles William Vane Stewart. 3rd Marquis of Londonderry. 1st Earl Vane and Baron Stewart
    • of Stewarts Court X.C.C.C.B. Lord Lieutenant County of Durham and Founder of Seaham Harbour. General in the Army. Born May 18th 1778 Died March 6th 1854
  • Framwellgate Bridge – original bridge built by Bishop Flambard (1099-1128). Present bridge rebuilt by Bishop Langley in the early 15th century, widened in the early 19th century
  • Framwellgate Panthead – ancient wellhead / pant to access a spring given to the inhabitants of the City by Thomas Billingham in 1450
  • Milburngate Bridge – opened 1967
  • Prebends Bridge – built by George Nicholson for the Dean and Chapter 1772-1778. Restored 1955-1956
  • Prebends Bridge – quote from a poem ‘Harold the Dauntless’ by Sir Walter Scott
  • Kingsgate Footbridge – opened in 1966
  • Elvet Bridge – built by Bishop Puiset (1153 – 1195) as the second river crossing; widened upstream in 1805
  • New Elvet Bridge – built in 1975; refurbished 2020-2021
  • Highgate Bridge – footpath from St Godric’s Church to the Highgate development, and leading to the railway station. Built in 2004. Plaques on railings and in pavement.
  • County Court House – on this site (University Library, Palace Green) 1588-1811. Rebuilt as Diocesan Registry 1822. Passed to Union Society 1935 and to University Library 1978 (Palace Green, University Library)
  • Older inscription on the Almshouses, Palace Green (Episcopal hospital Dunelm for 8 paupers founded by Joh Bishop [Bishop John Cosin] AD 1666) – when was this inscription made?
    • Hospitale epi Dunelm pro VIII pauperibus fundat per Joh Episcop A-D-MDCLXVI (Episcopal Hospital of Durham, founded by Bishop John for eight paupers, AD 1666)
  • Civic Trust Award, located in Windy Gap (further information required)
  • Vennels: restoration (at entrance of Vennels up to the courtyard of Vennels cafe, Sadler Street)
  • Sadler Street: restoration and enhancement (side of Magdalene Steps)
  • Fearon Walk – riverside walk between Elvet Bridge and Bow Lane constructed in 1883 by the efforts of Rev. William Fearon, Headmaster of Durham School (located on wall near to Elvet Bridge end of walk)
  • Market Tavern, Durham City Market Place – a listed building, built in 1851 and originally called the City Tavern
  • Durham University hostel for women students 1899 (at 33 Claypath)
  • Opening of ‘Millennium City’, Golden Jubilee, 8th May 2002 (on wall of cafe at entrance to Millennium Square)
  • Gala Theatre, Lottery funded through the Millennium Commission
  • Gala Theatre: Civic Pride Award 2004
  • The Journey: statue by Fenwick Lawson of the monks carrying St Cuthbert’s coffin (in Millennium Square, next to the Public Library)
  • The Journey: details (located on wall of Public Library)
  • Helvetictoc: permanent installation by Tobie Langel, originally produced for The Lumiere 2011 and 2013 (on the wall of Clayport Library) – is the installation still in operation?
  • Water House, North Road; Wetherspoon pub, currently up for sale. Previously offices of the ‘Weardale and Shildon Water Company’, then the ‘Durham County Water Board’ offices, then a branch of the ‘Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society’
  • Obelisk, Obelisk Lane (no public access). Built in 1850 by local Durham philanthropist William Lloyd Wharton. Historically used by Durham University with the telescope in the Observatory on Observatory Hill to align the North-South position. Inscription: W L W Astronomiae Dicavit MDCCCL (WLW He told astronomy 1850)
  • Mount Joy Crescent (off Church Street)
  • Charley’s Cross – no plaque (corner of Church Street and Quarryheads Lane)
  • Neville’s Cross, relating to the Battle of Neville’s Cross (corner of St John’s Road and the Peth)
  • St Chad’s College – new building (architect Francis Johnson, 1961) on corner of Bow Lane and the North Bailey. This plaque is situated under the College’s coat of arms and references this in its design
  • The Chorister School, Durham Cathedral – 600years anniversary (1416 to 2016) (located near entrance to school on College Green)
  • King George VI – located on the government buildings, Hallgarth Street
  • Coat of arms on Elvet Hill House (right side of building over doorway). Elvet Hill House, a listed building, built in 1827 by Ignatius Bonomi as his own home. Later the home of North Eastern Railway Director, John Fogg Elliot (his coat of arms is featured). Motto: ‘Nec Pavidus Nec Superbus’ (neither fearful nor overbearing)
  • Railway Station – photo required

Coats of arms in The College, Durham Cathedral

Featured on buildings in The College, Durham Cathedral (the former outer court of the Benedictine Priory) are the coats of arms of four Bishops of Durham:

  • Nathaniel Crewe, 3rd Baron Crewe, Bishop of Durham 1674 to 1721
  • Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham 1752 to 1771
  • John Egerton, Bishop of Durham 1771 to 1787
  • Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham 1791 to 1826

Inside the gateway to The College is a copy of a drawing listing the coats of arms and their location. The original – Drawing of armorial bearings in the College, Durham Cathedral, by Cordingly & McIntyre, Architects of Durham – can be seen in Durham Cathedral Library’s collection of Additional Manuscripts (Chapter Library Acc No 50351). Note: there is one additional coat of arms: an eroded one on No 6 The College.

The coats of arms are:

  • Crew – on the riverside at the entrance to the Dark Entry
  • Crewe – inside The College, on the wall of the Dark Entry
  • Egerton – on the wall of No 13 The College, located in the higher position
  • Egerton – on the wall of No 13 The College, located in the lower position
  • Trevor – on the wall of No 14 The College
  • Durham – on the wall of No 12 The College
  • Egerton – Choir School
  • Barrington – Choir School
  • Eroded coat of arms – No 6 The College
  • Egerton – No 16 The College