Horden is a village in County Durham, England. It is situated on the North Sea coast, to the east of Peterlee. Horden was a mining village until the closure of the Horden Colliery in 1987. Main features include the Welfare and Memorial Parks and St Mary’s Church.
It is connected to the villages of Blackhall Colliery and Blackhall Rocks to its south by a spectacular rail viaduct which spans Castle Eden Dene near Denemouth. Horden Dene provides Horden’s northern boundary with Easington Colliery. The A1086 road is the main road through the village linking with Easington and the A19 to Sunderland in the north and Blackhall and the A179 to Hartlepool in the south, the B1320 links the village to Peterlee and Shotton in the West.
The local manor house, Horden Hall, was built in the early 17th century, but Horden did not really begin to develop beyond a few farmhouses until the construction began of Horden Colliery in 1900. By 1920 Pitmen’s homes were built, initially in rows of houses named First to Thirteenth Streets. The name Horden may well be derived from the Danish “Yoden” or Yew Dene, as in the case of Eden or Yoden found corrupted in “Castle Eden. Yew is commonly found in Castle Eden Dene.
The first church in the village, St Hilda’s – now the church hall, was opened in 1904 and in 1913 St Mary’s church, built by local landowner Colonel Burdon, was consecrated. The village continued to grow strongly, reaching a peak population of 15,000 in 1951. By 1964 there were 3 cinemas, cricket, rugby and football pitches and also a bowling green.
Since closure of the mine in 1987 Horden’s population has fallen and it now suffers high unemployment, higher than average health issues and problems with poor housing stock. In addition, Horden has gradually lost most of its services and amenities including Police and Fire Stations, secondary school, many local shops, cinemas, and its railway station.
Primary and nursery schools remain, including Horden Nursery School, Cotsford Infant School, Cotsford Junior School, Yohden Primary School and Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School.
In political terms, Horden is split between the Horden North and Horden South wards of Durham County Council, both of which are part of the parliamentary constituency of Easington, represented since 2010 by Grahame Morris of the Labour Party.
Horden Colliery was one of the biggest mines in the country. From the beginning of construction in 1900 to nationalisation in 1947 it was owned and operated by Horden Collieries Ltd, who also operated mines at Blackhall, Castle Eden and Shotton. Following nationalisation the mine was operated by the National Coal Board. The mine was operated mainly for the purpose of working undersea coal, and had three shafts. At the height of operating in the 1930s it employed over 4000 men and produced over 1.5million tonnes of coal a year.
Large volumes of water and other geological issues meant that Horden Colliery failed to make a profit from the later-1970s onwards, and was finally closed in 1987.
Rising minewater following the closure led to fears of contamination of drinking water. A minewater treatment plant was installed in 2004 by the Coal Authority to remove the majority of the iron and raise the pH level of the water. This is a temporary measure, prior to a permanent solution being installed.
In recent years Horden has benefited from the removal of mining spoil heaps and the redevelopment of its Welfare Park (which houses Horden’s rugby, cricket and football teams). The Durham Heritage Coast Partnership (previously the lottery funded Turning the Tide programme) is committed to the conservation, protection and enhancement of the coastline, which is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
For such a small village Horden boasts quite a nightlife especially at weekends with several clubs bringing people from nearby villages. Pubs and clubs in Horden include; Horden Comrades, The Bell, Horden Cricket Club and popular on weekends, Horden Catholic Club and Horden Rugby Club.
Horden Big Club closed in June 2007 after a series of issues forced the owners to withdraw their licence with the site earmarked for residential development.
Horden was honoured to be one of the locations chosen for the Olympic Torch Relay on its way from Lands End to London when it passed through the village at 10:40am on Sunday 17th June 2012. Gareth Thraves from Chester-Le-Street was chosen to bear the torch from Horden Memorial Park gates to Blackhall. Hundreds of people turned out from the village to see it off, in what was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Efforts, by volunteers, community groups and local agencies, to refurbish Horden’s 100 year old Community Hall were rewarded with half a million pounds of Big Lottery Funding, marking another step in the regeneration of Horden. The decision followed dedicated efforts from local people determined to save and sustain the building which sits behind St. Mary’s Church. The doors were re-opened in late 2013.
In 2013 St Mary’s Church celebrated 100 Years. There have been some modest changes to the church in that time, including the replacement of chairs with pews in 1947 and the removal of the ‘street lamp’ lighting which was originally installed. Rather bare when it was first consecrated, St Mary’s now boasts more elaborate furnishings including various statues and icons. The event was marked with a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving, followed by a reception at Horden Social Welfare Centre, a Centenary Flower Display, the Ordination of James Leigh as Deacon in Durham Cathedral, a Welcome Mass for Fr. James Leigh as Curate of St Mary’s followed by a Parish Party and a Centenary Gala Concert.
In 2014 Horden Brownie Guides celebrated 100 Years. As part of the celebrations a raised flower bed was designed in the Welfare Park and the Horden Brownie Guides collected unwanted spectacles and used stamps. The spectacles were sent to World Vision and the stamps to WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) to help finance the work they do in foreign countries.