THIS archive of adverts is taken from The Borough Guide to Darlington, which we reckon was published in 1909 – certainly Edward VII, who died in 1910, is still on the throne. The guide is pocket-sized, and published by a Cheltenham firm, but what makes it especially interesting is that most of the adverts contained within it have pictures of the town centre shops and cafes that they are advertising. Not only is it fascinating looking at what was for sale 110 years ago, but it is very interesting trying to work out what was where and what is there now. If you have any information or memories about any of the businesses mentioned, please let us know: email

The forward to the booklet is rather grovelling. It says: "At Darlington, life may be said to run in two different channels – the one represented by its strenuous and manifold activities as a commercial centre, and the other by the comparative serenity and dreamful ease of its residential quarters. It is an interesting town to visit and a pleasant place to dwell – not a little of its attractiveness in the latter respect being due to schemes wisely planned and successfully carried out by the Town Council. This little book, by inducing strangers to make a stay at Darlington, and by attracting those who, later on, determine to become permanent residents, will have fulfilled the purpose for which it was issued. At the same time, it will remind those who already live in the town that theirs is a goodly heritage."

We are very grateful to Robert Alderson of Aysgarth Road and Bertram Simpson of Tennyson Gardens in Darlington for lending us the book and reminding Darlington of its goodly heritage.

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