PEOPLE reacted with astonishment when they opened last week’s Memories. “Come on, Chris!” exploded Don Eccles. “The man nearest to the camera has his wellingtons turned down!”

Loads of people were also amazed by our ignorance of what strange contraption the man in the Prospect Place, Darlington, branch of Midland Bank was wearing on his ankles in August 1961 – Phil Mothersdale, Malcolm Dunstone, Cathie Jackson, John Fitzpatrick, A Reader and Wally Mellors, to name but a few.

But why would anyone buy a boot only to turn it down?

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“Maybe the trousers were too thick and wide for the wellies to go over or maybe this was cooler for their legs,” said June Hall. “I don't really know the reason, but I do remember my Dad wearing his wellies like that.”

Among the reasons offered for wearing wellies in this way were:

1. Stop the wellie chaffing the calf

2. Stop the wellie chaffing the shin

3. Save having to tuck in thick trousers

4. For ease of movement

5. Cooler in the summer

6. Working class, labouring fashion.

Alan Simpson, though, came up with a sock theory. He believes the man in question is wearing shortish wellies with sea boot socks. “I had quite a few of these warm socks on the farm,” he said. “There was a lady in Dent up the dales who knitted this type of sock which in winter was very warm. Failure to bring the sock over the top of the boot resulted in the sock working its way down the foot.”

He concludes: “I have no idea why he is wearing them in August.”