Vandals destroy nettie at rail pioneer's home

The Northern Echo: PIONEER: Timothy Hackworth PIONEER: Timothy Hackworth

A 187-YEAR-OLD toilet once warmed by a world-renowned railway pioneer has been destroyed by vandals.

The outdoor toilet, known as an earth closet, is part of the Locomotion National Railway Museum at Shildon, County Durham, and sits in the grounds of the house built by the rail company for pioneering engineer Timothy Hackworth in 1825.

The “nettie” is in the rear yard of Hackworth House and has been a popular feature with tourists since the buildings were originally opened as the Timothy Hackworth Museum in 1975, before being incorporated in the National Railway museum’s Locomotion in 2004.

Sometime between 4pm on Saturday and 9.45am Monday vandals wrecked the nettie’s roof and pulled up the wooden boards users of the lavatory would have sat upon.

They also pushed over a large mangle which has been turned into a flower pot.

Museum manager Dr George Muirhead branded the damage as “mindless”.

When it was built, the seven-bedroom house and outbuildings were hailed as the grandest home in New Shildon, the new town at the heart of the growth in the railway industry.

Hackworth lived there for 30 years with his six daughters, two sons, two servants and family pets, before selling it back to the rail company.

He was a pioneer in rail engineering and a key figure in the creation of the 26-mile Stockton and Darlington Railway, built to transport coal from the coalfields in County Durham down to the River Tees at Stockton and hailed as one of the world’s first railway systems.

Hackworth, who oversaw the construction of worksheds and buildings around his home as the railway grew, was employed as the railway’s first locomotive superintendent.

He was also involved in designing the first Stephenson Locomotive before going on to

invent the Royal George, which revolutionised engineering.

A police spokesman said the building is a part of Shildon’s history and deserves to be treated with more respect.

He said: “We take any incident of vandalism very seriously, but it is particularly distressing when it is part of a museum that is treasured by so many people and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

“We would urge anyone with information to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Sharon Murray on 101.

Comments (6)

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8:31am Thu 9 Feb 12

GeordieB says...

No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught.
No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught. GeordieB
  • Score: 0

11:13am Thu 9 Feb 12

stevegg says...

GeordieB wrote:
No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught.
Its NOT the police who make the laws and punsishments its the government, they are bound by these rules in a democratic society. Im sure if the government werent obsessed with offenders rights things would be different.
[quote][p][bold]GeordieB[/bold] wrote: No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught.[/p][/quote]Its NOT the police who make the laws and punsishments its the government, they are bound by these rules in a democratic society. Im sure if the government werent obsessed with offenders rights things would be different. stevegg
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Thu 9 Feb 12

holmesc1 says...

Makes me sick a rich part of heritage destroyed. Its probably going to eb kids dont see why adults would do this. As they will be under the age of prosecution they will get away scot free. The parents should be made to pay for the damage! When i was a kid i grew up in shildon and respected local history like this
Makes me sick a rich part of heritage destroyed. Its probably going to eb kids dont see why adults would do this. As they will be under the age of prosecution they will get away scot free. The parents should be made to pay for the damage! When i was a kid i grew up in shildon and respected local history like this holmesc1
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Thu 9 Feb 12

GeordieB says...

stevegg wrote:
GeordieB wrote:
No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught.
Its NOT the police who make the laws and punsishments its the government, they are bound by these rules in a democratic society. Im sure if the government werent obsessed with offenders rights things would be different.
The Police make the decision whether to issue a caution or whether to prepare a file for the CPS though.
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GeordieB[/bold] wrote: No point in getting upset if the Police just let them off with a caution when caught.[/p][/quote]Its NOT the police who make the laws and punsishments its the government, they are bound by these rules in a democratic society. Im sure if the government werent obsessed with offenders rights things would be different.[/p][/quote]The Police make the decision whether to issue a caution or whether to prepare a file for the CPS though. GeordieB
  • Score: 0

10:07am Sat 11 Feb 12

grumpyoldpops says...

These kids want flogging I was brought up in Shildon and also worked on the Hackworth Museum many years ago which is an excellent place to visit another piece of railway history lost
if they find out who did this they will get a slap on the wrist
makes my blood boil
These kids want flogging I was brought up in Shildon and also worked on the Hackworth Museum many years ago which is an excellent place to visit another piece of railway history lost if they find out who did this they will get a slap on the wrist makes my blood boil grumpyoldpops
  • Score: 0

11:04pm Sat 11 Feb 12

bishop1 says...

slap on the wrist is correct , is it any wonder they have no respect for anything , did the govt say something about being soft on crime & soft on the causes of crime ?
slap on the wrist is correct , is it any wonder they have no respect for anything , did the govt say something about being soft on crime & soft on the causes of crime ? bishop1
  • Score: 0

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