Shildon is a town in County Durham, England. The population taken at the 2011 UK census was 9,976. It is situated 2 miles (3.2 km) south east of Bishop Auckland, 11 miles (18 km) north of Darlington, 13 miles (21 km) from Durham, 23 miles (37 km) from Sunderland and 30 miles (48 km) from Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Shildon area owes its growth to the rise of the East Durham coalfields in the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century.
The expansion of coal mining during the Industrial Revolution meant the traditional way of moving the coal along horse-drawn wagon ways was insufficient. Steam engines were introduced. At first static engines pulled the wagons, but were replaced by moving engines on railways.
Shildon is considered to be the "cradle of the railways". The town grew when the Stockton and Darlington Railway established its workshops in 1825. Steam locomotives such as the Sans Pareil and Royal George were built there. During this period the population grew to around 9,000. By 1855 it was a large complex of workshops and other buildings. After the Second World War, Shildon had one of the biggest sidings complexes in Europe. The Shildon Works eventually closed in 1984.
Shildon was the home of Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850), an innovator of the railway industry and builder of one of the first ever engines, the Sans Pareil. It is also the birthplace of Daniel Adamson, Hackworth's apprentice and engineer.
Shildon was originally a township in the ancient parish of Auckland St. Andrew in County Durham. It became a separate civil parish in 1866. From 1894 until 1974 it was an urban district. In 1937 a number of surrounding civil parishes were abolished and sections of all of these parishes were absorbed into Shildon.