6:06pm Tuesday 6th May 2014
George Towns, a corporal in the Home Guard, went into action quickly when told a suspicious character was in his area during the Second World War. He grabbed a shotgun, ran to challenge the stranger and ended up firing at him.
3:24pm Monday 27th January 2014
6:26pm Tuesday 5th November 2013
7:10pm Thursday 25th April 2013
IT IS great news that the Mowden Hall jobs have been saved and are to move to a new-build block beside Darlington Town Hall and alongside the multiplex development which is about to take wings. There is, though, a spectre that haunts this work. It is a ghoul which could prevent it from happening. It is the bogeyman of boggyness.
11:40am Thursday 11th April 2013
WOODBURN is one of the great lost mansions of Darlington. It was built in the 1860s overlooking the valley of the Tees. Now houses in Coniscliffe Road stand on its site, but many of them have features of its exquisite stonework built into them.
3:46pm Wednesday 3rd April 2013
ARTHUR HENDERSON'S Nobel Peace Prize has been stolen from the Guild Hall in Newcastle. Henderson is one of my heroes: the Barnard Castle MP and Darlington mayor who became the first member of the Labour Party to sit in a British Cabinet.
12:25pm Monday 11th March 2013
3:50pm Monday 25th February 2013
11:59am Monday 11th February 2013
12:14pm Monday 4th February 2013
I PROMISED in Saturday's Memories to post my version of William Peachey's rise and fall on here and, belatedly, here it is. I wrote it in 2008 when I was asked to help reopen Peachey's Baptist church in Darlington - I gave a little talk from the pulpit, which is not my natural territory.
6:40am Saturday 15th December 2012
3:20pm Friday 14th December 2012
TOMORROW'S Memories looks at a famous Darlington company's role in building what I believe to be the hangar for Britain's first airship. This story gives me the opportunity to use the word dirigible, which is great.
6:40pm Thursday 13th December 2012
THIS is my favourite gooseberry-related story of all time. It gets a mention in Saturday's Memories (15/12/12), but here it is in its entirety which, when I told it in 2001, was so enormous that it spread over two weeks. The sad footnote to the story is that the prized herbarium, enthused over by the professor of botany in 2001, was lost when I enquired of Tyne and Wear Museums about it in 2011. I wonder if the downy currant still grows at Richmond and on the banks of the Tees between Piercebridge and Gainford...
5:14pm Monday 10th December 2012
THE property in the Darlington district that I am asked most frequently about is the tumbledown one behind the iron gates in High Coniscliffe. It's opposite the Spotted Dog, and everybody who passes between Darlo and Barney seems to have an eye on it. For me, though, it is a frustrating place.
12:00am Saturday 1st December 2012
TODAY'S Memories builds on recent articles about the Home Guard, and strays into the role of the ARP wardens during the Second World War. I was looking on the Echo's archive for further information about the ARP locally and came across this article from 1989 which I guess was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of war. I don't know who wrote it, but it makes fascinating reading. The salutory part of it is that I guess that the 70-somethings that are quoted are, 23 years later, unlikely to still be with us:
7:44pm Monday 26th November 2012
MEMORIES readers never cease to amaze me. So many people have enormous repositories of knowledge acquired over years of research and interest. I accidentally stumble upon their repositories, steal the best bits and then move on to the next topic.
6:05pm Wednesday 21st November 2012
THIS weekend's Memories (Dec 1) features an article on Bland's Corner at Blackwell, Darlington. One of the roads which creates the corner is the 1830s turnpike from Scotch Corner, which goes over Blackwell Bridge. Below is my article from 1993 about the building of the turnpike road.
12:22pm Friday 16th November 2012
THIS is my Saturday column from a couple of weeks ago which hasn't made it onto the website, but I am still getting asked about it. The ending is a bit vague because we are trying to get the necessary orders in place, but frustratingly, these things develop as slowly as the strawberry tree grows...
8:52pm Thursday 15th November 2012
8:16pm Monday 15th October 2012
ONE of Darlington's most famous names was "Anty Richards". It was above a little cafe close to the Railway Tavern in Northgate. I was always intrigued by it: was it a spelling mistake concerning someone's auntie or was Mr Richards troubled by pesky ants? All became clear when I discovered the phenomenum of the hokey pokey men - ice cream immigrants from Italy.
6:14pm Monday 8th October 2012
Saturday's Memories contains an article about a new book which has been written by Peter O'Brien about the Basque children who fled the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and ended up living in Hutton Hall, near Guisborough. They were part of a contingent of almost 200 children who found sanctuary in the North-East. I wrote about them in 2002, particularly those who were sent to St Peter's Orphanage in Gainford and St Mary's Orphanage in Tudhoe.
11:46am Wednesday 18th July 2012
4:28pm Wednesday 27th June 2012
John Carr, the 18th Century North Riding Surveyor of Bridges, is one of my favourite chaps - largely because of a great pork pie story, but also because we still cross so many rivers using his bridges.
6:50pm Saturday 2nd June 2012
6:39pm Friday 1st June 2012
BLACKWELL BRIDGE has stood for exactly 180 years on a woollen foundation – a remarkable achievement. In fact, as the foundation stone was laid on June 5, 1832, it is an achievement that would normally have been celebrated in Echo Memories. However, this weekend's Memories is jam-packed with Diamond Jubilee malarky and so the bridge is relegated to a paltry #echomems fact. Let's rectify that here.
3:09pm Thursday 31st May 2012
THEY are very pleased with themselves in Aycliffe Village in that they have a Double Diamond Jubilee. They are celebrating Queen Elizabeth's 60th anniversary in the village hall which used to be a school which was dedicated to Queen Victoria's 60th anniversary. The brilliant local history society which meets there has informed Buckingham Palace of the happy coincidence, and Her Majesty has sent a letter commending the people of Aycliffe.
6:50pm Monday 28th May 2012
THIS blog is almost as underemployed as half the country seems to be, and I am sorry about that. There just aren't enough hours in the day, although I do tweet this sort of nonsense on a more regular basis (follow me @echochrislloyd on twitter).
9:40pm Friday 4th May 2012
9:07pm Thursday 3rd May 2012
I'VE had several comments about last Saturday's column about the Grand Contour Canal plan of 1942, including one from an angry chap who took it all too literally and said it was disgraceful that I was advocating the sale of North-East water to the south when really I should be demanding that water-intensive businesses should relocate from the south to the wet north.
9:30am Wednesday 25th April 2012
Barnard Castle and Teesdale are rightly celebrating their links with Charles Dickens in the year that the 200th anniversary of his birth is celebrated. As the world probably knows, Dickens stayed at the King's Head Hotel in the centre of Barney for a couple of nights in February 1838 while researching Nicholas Nickleby.
6:28pm Tuesday 24th April 2012
I DRAGGED my family out to look at the east bank of the Tees Viaduct at Barnard Castle at the weekend. After last weekend's excitement of seeing the west abutment, you can tell from the picture that there was unbounded excitement all round.
2:16pm Monday 16th April 2012
AT the weekend, I dragged the ever-moaning family for a nice spring walk through a chill wind and hail of sleet showers along the banks of the Tees. They admired the wild primroses along the pathside while I kept my eye open for an extroardinary, hulking remains of the Tees Viaduct just outside Barnard Castle.
6:20pm Wednesday 28th March 2012
THIS morning's Memories touches briefly upon the Dolls Hospital that was once in Darlington's Grange Road. I last mentioned this subject seven years ago. This was the article I wrote then: ==================================== DOLLS - hairless, eyeless, toothless, speechless, armless, headless. . . but no casualty is beyond the healing powers of Mrs Mildred Zealand, the kindly matron-cum-surgeon at the Darlington Dolls Hospital."
11:54am Wednesday 21st March 2012
I OFTEN begin these posts with an apology, and once again I hadn't realised that it had been so long since I added to the Memories blog. This week, though, I've been reading What Price Happiness? by Dick Beavis, the Communist Spennymoor miner, and whatever you may think of his politics, he certainly wrote some fascinating descriptions of pitlife.
2:29pm Wednesday 29th February 2012
6:20am Wednesday 29th February 2012
TODAY'S Memories touches upon the Cleveland Car Company which was housed in one of Darlington's most distinctive buildings on Grange Road. Until the mid-1960s, of course, Grange Road was on the Great North Road, and so ideally placed for passing motor trade.
6:20am Friday 24th February 2012
THIS morning's Echo Memories concerns snowploughs and the famous 1955 British Transport Film entitled Snow Drift at Bleath Gill. You can see the film continuously running at the Locomotion museum at Shildon, and it is on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymz6D8eFeUg). Here's my version of the story from 2005:
6:40am Wednesday 22nd February 2012
TODAY'S Memories partly concerns itself with Harperley, on the banks of the Wear between Crook and Wolsingham. It is a lovely, tranquil place which I dragged my unfortunate family to investigate a snowy day a fortnight ago.
10:00pm Thursday 16th February 2012
I WOULD guess that 50 or so people turned up for the impromptu ceremony to mark the 130th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Colliery Disaster. There were the odd councillors, an MP and the BBC Look North TV people who produced a really good report with Skerne's atmospheric singing as the backdrop.
10:51am Thursday 16th February 2012
TODAY - THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16 - is the 130th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Colliery disaster which killed 74 men and boys. At 1pm, there is a little ceremony in the Trimdon Village cemetery, around the obelisk memorial, to commemorate the diaster. All are welcome to attend.
6:20am Wednesday 15th February 2012
HERE'S another disaster poem. As the pictures suggest, it seems to come from a penny songsheet. Whether this was sold to raise money for the bereaved of the Trimdon Grange Colliery Disaster or whether it was just to cash in on the area's sorrowful feeling is unclear.
2:41pm Tuesday 14th February 2012
ON Thursday, it is the 130th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Colliery Disaster, in which 74 men and boys died underground in an explosion. In the article in tomorrow's Memories, I quote Tommy Armstrong's famous poem about the disaster.
6:08pm Monday 13th February 2012
4:02pm Friday 10th February 2012
NEXT Thursday - February 16 - is the 130th anniversary of the Trimdon Grange Colliery Disaster in which 74 men and boys lost their lives. Wednesday's Memories will tell the story, and I'm just about to set our graphic artist away to create the cover with a list of the names of the victims. I don't think we'll be able to get all of these details on the page, so before I edit them out, I thought I place them here. It'd be interesting to know if there are any descendants still about:
11:00am Tuesday 31st January 2012
TOMORROW'S Echo Memories is to be a follow-up to that of a fortnight ago about Harperley - a truly haunting place. For Dave Chapman, it was not haunting in the spooky sense but because it was where he spent his happy childhood. This is his reminiscence in full:
11:13am Wednesday 25th January 2012
ONE of the great intrigues of modern life - well to me, anyway - is the pair of gatehouses on the southbound A1 just north of Catterick Bridge. They were due to be demolished as part of plans to widen the A1 into a motorway, but the spending cuts have caused those plans to be dropped, giving the lodge houses a reprieve. Scaffolding has sprung up around one of them, so possibly they may be springing back to life.
3:26pm Tuesday 17th January 2012
5:38pm Thursday 12th January 2012
5:23pm Monday 9th January 2012
WEDNESDAY'S Echo Memories is going to be the second part of my story about Jack Hatfield. I think he must be the Tees Valley's greatest Olympian, and with this Olympics year marking the centenary of his Olympics, it seems appropriate to tell his story.
- Barnard Castle
- Bishop Auckland
- Crook & Weardale
- Durham City
- York & Harrogate
- Newton Aycliffe
- Richmond & The Dales
- Tyne & Wear
- Whitby & Scarborough