THERE’S an old farm tip somewhere in the Aycliffe area which predates the construction of the new town and which regularly offers up fascinating items.

Collector Lisa Griffiths has kindly sent in pictures of her recent finds, one of which is a metal identity tag belonging to W Howe of Aycliffe Station – he may have been stationmaster during the First World War.

But it looks as if the letter “T” has been scratched before Mr Howe’s name – did the tag maker get his initials wrong, or did his son inherit his role?

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Another fascinating find is a glass bottle which once contained “Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup”.

This ghastly medicine, also known as a “baby killer” was patented in 1849 by Jeremiah Curtis and Benjamin Perkins in Maine, in the US, who claimed it was an efficacious concoction put together by Jeremiah’s mother-in-law, Mrs Charlotte Winslow, who had had a long and successful career as an infant nurse.

The medicine was to sooth a baby’s teething troubles. It contained morphine sulphate (which is very nearly heroin), spirits foeniculi (a form of alcohol), and aqua ammonia (a cleaning agent).

Little wonder it was guaranteed to quieten baby: if he wasn’t dead, he was drifting on a druggy blanket.

In 1911, the American Medical Association denounced Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, but it remained on sale until 1930. Some unfortunate baby in the Aycliffe area was obviously administered it.