It lies opposite Stockton-on-Tees, with which it is connected by a bridge, on the river Tees.
The town was formerly known as South Stockton, and is still included in the parliamentary borough of Stockton (it is within the Cleveland division of the county), but was incorporated as a separate municipal borough in 1892.
As used by George Stephenson on the Stockton & Darlington and Whitstable & Canterbury lines they weighed 28 lb per yard.
On the Stockton & Darlington railway, which was authorized by parliament in 1821, animal power was at first proposed, but on the advice of Stephenson, its engineer, steam-engines were adopted.
The principal business of the new railway was the conveyance of minerals and goods, but from the first passengers insisted upon being carried, and on the 10th of October 1825 the company began to run a daily coach, called the " Experiment," to carry six inside, and from fifteen to twenty outside, making the journey from Darlington to Stockton and back in two hours.