Rediscover Stockton

Welcome to Instant Light a unique take on the story of the friction match, John Walker and a little sprinkling of the magic of circus.


In 1826 a world changing invention was created in Stockton-on-Tees – the first friction match.

Many people know little or nothing about this event.

To help bring it to life, Stockton Borough Council commissioned ‘Instant Light’, a story which takes a historical truth and weaves through it the magic of circus and Stockton’s history of festivals.

Travel in time to the moonlit, cobbled streets of 19th Century Stockton, a time before ‘instant light,’ and meet local chemist, John Walker as he embarks upon his discovery.

We have the original story written by Sara Maitland for grown-ups and a more simplified adaption for children telling the mythical tale of Walker’s invention with imagined characters to create a beautiful and heart-warming tale.

The Instant Light tale is available at a price of £5.00 from the Rediscover Stockton shop, 134b The High Street, Stockton, TS18 1LP; tel 01642 528130 or e-mail