News stories from the first edition of the Darlington & Stockton Times of October 2, 1847

“AT the usual market hour on Saturday last, the bell-man went his circuit with a notice to the effect that while the neighbouring towns were being supplied with potatoes at the rate of 6d per peck, in Darlington the dealers they could not be obtained for less than 10d thus enjoining upon the dealers the necessity of reducing their price. The bell-man’s edict had the desired effect.”

The Northern Echo:

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TOP STAR: Jenny Lind

MR Thorne had been running a tent theatre, which had been patronised by the Duchess of Cleveland and the Marchioness of Londonderry, in Darlington over the summer.

“He has, we hear, been in treaty with Jenny Lind to sing for one night in the Central Hall. A very handsome sum was offered to her in reply to which she has stated she would have been happy to accede to the terms did not her other engagements prevent her visiting Darlington.” Jenny Lind was known as the “Swedish nightingale” and was one of the greatest singers globally of her era.

“A GRAND match at cricket between 11 of All England and 22 of Stockton and North Yorkshire came off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday last. The lovers of this manly sport experienced a treat of no extraordinary character and the weather proving extremely fine, the attendance on the ground was very numerous and brilliant. The ladies’ tent exhibited a galaxy of beauty rarely witnessed. Result: All England 53 and 115, Stockton and North Yorkshire 55 and 72.”

IN the first edition of the D&S, there is a report of a presentation of a silver tea and coffee service to miller Thomas Wren, of Stockton as “an acknowledgement of the high esteem in which they held him in his private character and a straightforward and upright man of business”.

The presentation took place in the Town Hall, with mayor J Crosby presiding and Thomas Henry Faber doing the presenting. “The number of gentlemen who sat down was about 80. The evening was spent in the greatest good feeling and hilarity, and the company separated at an advanced hour.”

By happy coincidence, Thomas got a mention in Memories 341, because around the time that the D&S was first published, he established a flour mill above Yarm bridge on the Durham side of the River Tees. Although his mill was later damaged by fire, in 1904 his grandson Cecil established a vinegar brewery on the site.

As well as ordinary vinegar, he made vinegar-related products like Wren’s Tomato Chutney and Wren’s Indian Chutney, and we showed some of their labels in Memories 342.

The Northern Echo: IN the first edition of the D&S, there is a report of a presentation of a silver tea and coffee service to miller Thomas Wren, of Stockton as “an acknowledgement of the high esteem in which they held him in his private character and a straightforward an

Just to complete the story, Tom Stafford in Yarm draws our attention to a Wren’s glass bottle which is currently selling on eBay for less than a tenner – the only drawback being that the purchaser has to pay postage from the United States where this piece of Yarm heritage is today.

“ABOUT half past two on the morning of the 22nd, a shocking accident occurred to Benjamin Laws, a fireman on the Stockton & Darlington Railway, which resulted in his death.

The deceased and Robert Robinson, the conductor of the Etherley engine, were taking a train of waggons to Middesbrough. When they got to Darlington there was a red light burning which is the usual signal to stop.

The deceased then got off to put the brakes of the waggons down. Shortly after he was heard to cry out ‘oh dear me’.” Tragically, another train was following close behind, from which Abraham Poole jumped. He “found him laying upon a siding with his face on the ground, the waggons having run over his legs.

The deceased told him that the brake upon which he was standing had broken, and by that means he fell with his legs on the rails. He was taken at his request to his lodgings in Shildon, and Mr Fielding and Mr Jobson, surgeons, were called in.

He was too weak for an operation to be performed on him and brandy was administered to him, notwithstanding he died about 8 o’clock the same morning.”

“WEARBANK. – A very serious circumstance occurred at Cow’s hill on Monday last. A miner of the name of Hodgson had been drinking at a public house from an early hour in the morning, in company with others, and about 6 o’clock in the evening they were joined by another miner of the name of Bee.

The Northern Echo:

ONE PUNCH: An Edwardian postcard of Cowshill at the top of Weardale – although the first D&S called it "Wearbank"

About 9 o’clock, a quarrel ensued between Bee and Hodgson about the overturning of a table, which ended in them going out to fight. They only met once, when Hodgson fell, arose and struck a bystander twice or thrice without it being returned, and immediately fell again, and in a short time expired, as is supposed, from the effects of the first blow.”

“NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE. – Already the stupendous High Level Bridge across the Tyne is beginning to strike strangers with wonder. Strangers coming from the train and looking at the operations being carried on, cannot help exclaiming “stupendous!” “wonderful!”.

The Northern Echo:

CEREMONIAL OPENING: The High Level Bridge in Newcastle in 1848

There is no doubt that when this great work is completed, it will be amongst the “Lions” of England.” Construction of the High Level Bridge had only begun in January 1847 and it wasn’t until August 29, 1848, that the first train went across it.

“MIDDLESBRO’-ON-TEES. – Two Locomotive Engines have been built by Messrs Gilkes, Wilson and Co, the first engines in Middlesbo’ of this description (from Stephenson’s patent). Ten more engines are in active preparation, all the above being built expressly for the Newmarket and Chesterfield line of railway. The first mentioned two, named Beeswing and Eclipse, have been tried on the Darlington &c Company’s lions and appear to be a very superior description.”

“THERE is at present living at Long Newton, a woman named Mary Benton who has attained the grand age of 107. She is in possession of most of her faculties and during the last season frequently joined her neighbours in hay making.”

“RARE PRODUCE. – Our Sedgefield correspondent states that on Monday last he had the curiosity to partake of some very fine gooseberrys. They had only been pulled from the tree that morning. They were in a sound and perfect state, and retained all the flavour and sweetness of the berry in the months of July and August. They were grown in the garden of Mr J Harding, Trimdon near Sedgefield.”

“SEDGEFIELD. – The gathering of the early planted potatoes has been partially begun. The white potatoes in particular are found to be small in size and scabbed. Wholesale buyers from Scotland have bought here rather extensively, at 1s a bushel. An unusual breadth of land has this year been planted in this district and the prevailing opinion is that they will be thin in the ground, but never known to be of better quality.”

“AN example worthy of imitation. John Mitchell Esq of Forcett Hall, near Richmond, seeing the pernicious effects of the present game laws, and of the excessive increase of running game in this country, some time ago directed his gamekeepers to kill the game upon his estates, and make presents of it among the tenantry.”

The Northern Echo: USELESS LAND: Whorlton school, here seen in 1961, was mentioned in the first D&S

USELESS LAND: Whorlton school, here seen in 1961, was mentioned in the first D&S

WHORLTON. – The Rev J Potts had chaired a public meeting which had “agreed to grant a piece of ground and other property belonging to, but hitherto unproductive and of little good to the township, unto trustees for the erection of a school”.