Mission accomplished as life and work of Cockfield's celebrated surveyor Jeremiah Dixon goes on permanent display (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Mission accomplished as life and work of Cockfield's celebrated surveyor Jeremiah Dixon goes on permanent display
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Members of Cockfield's Dixon celebration committee, who set out to raise his profile. Jeanette Newell, Carole West, Christine Watters, Simon Land and John Dixon. On the right are Pauline Charlton (chairwoman) and Jonathan Peacock.
IT is a case of mission accomplished for a group of residents determined to raise the profile of their village's most famous son.
Prior to this summer, the only evidence of astronomer and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon's connection to Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, in County Durham, was his name recorded on one sign at an entrance to the village.
Now, following a series of events to mark his most famous achievement – helping to plot the Mason-Dixon line between Maryland and Pennsylvania in the US – details of his exploits are to remain on permanent display for all to see.
This year marked the 250th anniversary of the start of work on the Mason-Dixon line and celebrations included a Dixon day in Cockfield, exhibition at The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, and a gathering of more than 50 members of the Dixon family.
Jonathan Peacock, who spent two years researching Jeremiah Dixon's life for The Bowes Museum display, said the exhibition and other events had been a fantastic success.
“The exhibition played its part in keeping up the number of visitors to The Bowes Museum,” he said.
“Many schools visited the museum and I talked to them about Jeremiah – we did a lot of education.”
In addition, Mr Peacock said the Dixon celebrations attracted many overseas visitors to the area.
With activities now at an end, he said Jeremiah Dixon's work would live on in a number of ways.
Display boards from The Bowes Museum Dixon exhibition have been put in the Gaunless Visitor Centre, at Butterknowle, where they form part of the permanent display, said Mr Peacock.
A “well received” book on Dixon's life is also available from the museum and visitor centre, he added.
“Two permanent information boards have been erected on Cockfield Green telling the story of the Mason-Dixon Line and the Dixon family and two replica marker stones have been made.
“There is also a permanent display about Jeremiah Dixon at Cockfield Primary School,” added Mr Peacock.
* The Dixon exhibition was staged thanks to £15,000 from Teesdale Action Partnership, £5,000 from Durham University, £2,500 from the Friends of The Bowes Museum and £2,000 raised by private donations.
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