IN olden times, Yarm was the lowest crossing point of the River Tees – the marshes and saltplains nearer the coast were too unreliable for travellers to attempt to cross – and so it became the main port of the Tees Valley.

Even though it took four tides for vessels to sail to Yarm from the mouth of the river, this was still quicker than if their cargoes had used the poor roads network. This, then, was the heyday of Yarm.

But from 1750, roads improved due to the turnpike system, ships got larger and a bridge was built at Stockton. Yarm began to fade.

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It is still, though, an extremely attractive town with a rich history, as these pictures from The Northern Echo archive show. If any of them spark any memories or thoughts, or if you have any information about them that you would like to share, please email chris.lloyd@nne.co.uk

The Northern Echo: LOOKING NORTH: Yarm Town Hall is Dutch in style and was built in 1710, originally with open arches allowing access to market paraphernalia inside. In 1888, two arches were bricked up to house the town weighing machine, and in the 1930s, the others were fi

Above: Yarm Town Hall is Dutch in style and was built in 1710, originally with open arches allowing access to market paraphernalia inside. In 1888, two arches were bricked up to house the town weighing machine, and in the 1930s, the others were filled in to create public toilets – their mortar was still fresh when this picture was taken in July 1952.

The Northern Echo: DOMINANT FEATURE: The 2,280ft (690 metre) railway viaduct was built between 1849 and 1851 for the Leeds Northern Railway Company. It required seven million bricks, and has 43 arches, with two stone arches spanning the Tees. This picture is undated, althou

Above: The 2,280ft (690 metre) railway viaduct was built between 1849 and 1851 for the Leeds Northern Railway Company. It required seven million bricks, and has 43 arches, with two stone arches spanning the Tees. This picture is undated, although we’d guess at the late 1930s. What industry is going on in the foreground on the Durham side of the river?

The Northern Echo: CROWDED PLACE: Even in May 1975 there was traffic chaos in Yarm High Street. Cars are pulling out by the Town Hall but are stuck in the road because the pedestrian crossing lights are changing, and that illegally stopped coal wagon is forcing vehicles to

Above: Even in May 1975 there was traffic chaos in Yarm High Street. Cars are pulling out by the Town Hall but are stuck in the road because the pedestrian crossing lights are changing, and that illegally stopped coal wagon is forcing vehicles to overtake as pedestrians are trying to pick their ways across.

The Northern Echo: ANCIENT DWELLING: Hope House has changed very little since this photograph was taken in October 1962. It is late 16th Century and probably the town's oldest property. It was once twice the size, but when the viaduct was built in the late 1840s, its re

Above: Hope House has changed very little since this photograph was taken in October 1962. It is late 16th Century and probably the town’s oldest property. It was once twice the size, but when the viaduct was built in the late 1840s, its rear half was sliced off. Can anyone explain why it is called Hope House?

The Northern Echo: DREAM HOME: Yarm is a desirable place to live, which is why today it is ringed by seemingly endless building sites as more homes are added to its boundary. It was always the case, as this advert from August 1967 shows – and 50 years ago, prospective hom

Above: Yarm is a desirable place to live, and was always the case, as this advert from August 1967 shows. Fifty years ago, homebuyers were being offered the latest fancy gadgets to tempt them to buy.