Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum

Head of Steam


Station Road

Making a Mark programmes

Free sessions supporting students to make their mark as writers

Key Stage 2

English (Creative writing – settings)
Tall tales:
students develop their creative writing techniques drawing inspiration from the Museum’s immersive environments and objects, to create imaginative stories.

Key Stage 3 and 4

English (Creative writing – 19th Century Literature)
Tall tales:
Taking inspiration from 19th century mystery and detective writers and our own atmospheric station, students will begin to create a story set in Victorian Darlington. Working with local crime fiction writer John Dean, students develop their creative writing techniques. They will also meet Mr Stephenson and Mr Pease, who will give them information about the origins of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and talk to actors Graeme and Phil about how to research and develop characters.

English (Creative Writing –character development)
Meet Mr Dickens!
Charles Dickens was inspired by the North East and made several journeys in our region. His younger brother, Fred, lived and died in Darlington. This workshop gives students the opportunity to meet Charles and Fred, and find out more about their relationship. The workshop focuses on character creation and development, looking at the wealth of rich characters found in Dickens work.

History (use of primary source materials)
English (journalistic writing)

All change:
Investigate the birth of the rail revolution, and discover how Darlington and the wider world changed with the coming of the railways. Use the museum displays and archive materials to gather information for a piece of journalism. Local journalist and author John Dean will give a master class and run a ‘live’ news room activity.

You can use our online resources to help students explore personal, local and national identity as an extension to museum visits or to enrich classroom work.

‘A thoroughly enjoyable experience. I think the children learned a lot and felt that they had written a very good story at the end. Everyone felt they had achieved a lot.’ Teacher Year 6

‘Pupils created some excellent pieces of creative writing. The museum inspired their writing and brought their settings and characters to life. When back in the classroom pupils constantly used the experiences to aid their writing. Motivation levels are at an all time high.’ Teacher Year 10


Sarah Gouldsbrough
[email protected]
01325 734128

  Read about all the sessions the Museum offers for schools