JACQUELINE BOLTON was “96 per cent certain” that a librarian in the Echo’s distant past had thrown us a curveball when he, or she, wrote on the back of a 1963 photograph of a tranquil country lane that it showed “Yarm Road” in Darlington.

To Jacqueline – and many others who took 96 per cent up to 100 per cent – the stone trough on the corner was the giveaway.

“It’s Bland’s Corner where the A167 meets the A66 at Blackwell,” said Dave Atkinson of Haughton-le-Skerne. “In my younger days, I would occasionally travel to Darlington from Northallerton on the bus, which would sometimes take an age to make its right turn onto the main road into Darlington. The wait would enable me to gaze down at the trough!”

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They are right, and it is one of our favourite pieces of bric-a-brac.

The trough was put there in November 1913 by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association, an august body formed in London in 1859 by Samuel Gurney - a Quaker, Liberal MP. Municipal authorities at that time were beginning to provide clean water to see off the threat of cholera, and the association wanted it to be available to ordinary people and their animals.

Within 20 years, the association had placed 800 fountains and troughs across London. On a summer's day, 300,000 people refreshed themselves from an association fountain, and on most days, 1,800 horses a day refuelled at one of the troughs.

But the market town of Darlington had nothing to refresh the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of animals that came out of North Yorkshire for sale.

"Only those who week by week see the herds of cattle and flocks of sheep driven to the Darlington markets on Monday appreciate the agonies of thirst suffered by these poor creatures, many of which have by reason of the length of journeys been compelled to leave on the previous day, " wrote AP Plant in the Darlington and Stockton Times of November 22, 1913."Who has not seen many of them on a hot morning with gaping and frothy mouths and lolling tongues urged along as fast as they could drag their weary limbs in order to be in time to take their places in the market?"

It was for this reason, said Mr Plant, that the association had agreed to place a drinking trough on this prominent corner. There are several association troughs of an identical design, also made in granite, around the country, including one on London Wall.

So the country road in our picture from Memories 357 is Snipe Lane, which today leads from Bland’s Corner to the Blackwell Grange Golf Club and then is stopped by the A66. This lane once led to the farm which can be seen from the bypass with its curious, tumbling down outhouses.