From the Darlington & Stockton Times of… November 11, 1967

A TRULY arresting headline – “Northallerton man charged with bigamy” – told how storeman Vincent Barnes, 40, of South Parade, had hooked up with young Miss Doreen Bell in London, causing him to leave his wife and two children.

They came back to Crakehall at Christmas 1963, where Barnes asked her mother for consent to marry as Doreen was under 21. “The consent was given, and the marriage went ahead at Bedale Parish Church on January 25, 1964,” said the D&S.

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Only afterwards did Doreen learn that Barnes’ wife of 13 years, Violet, was back in London with his children, aged 13 and 10.

But she said: “I still love him and intend to continue to live with him.”

He was sent for trial at York Assizes.

The same edition of the paper carried the news that 17 restaurants in the area had been included in the new edition of the Egon Ronay Guide. These, then, were the top local dining places: the Devonport, Middleton One Row; the George, Piercebridge; the King’s Head Hotel, Darlington; the Spotted Dog, High Coniscliffe; King’s Head Hotel, Richmond; Oscar’s, Richmond; Eden Arms, Rushyford; Scotch Corner Hotel; the Kingfisher, Spennymoor; the Cleveland Tontine, Staddlebridge; The Mitre, Stockton; the Thinford Inn, Thinford; the Wensleydale Heifer, West Witton; the Ship Inn, Worsall; the Bridge Hotel, Croxdale, and the Morritt Arms at Greta Bridge.

The guide complained that fresh chicken had so completely disappeared from the nation’s restaurants that it had become “a forgotten taste”. It said there was too much frozen fish and vegetables being served, diners were not given enough time to digest the menu by over-eager waiters, and there were not enough articulate members of staff “with a basic knowledge of English to take bookings by telephone”.

And it mourned “the fast disappearing taste of good mutton”.

When was the last time you saw mutton, be it good or bad, on a restaurant menu?

November 10, 1917

THE North Riding War Agricultural Committee decided to apply to the Government’s Petrol Committee for petrol to kill pheasants.

“It was said that landowners were prevented from shooting pheasants by the shortage of petrol to propel their motor cars,” said the D&S 100 years ago. The countryside was abounding with pheasants which were eating all the crops.

“It was pointed out that killing pheasants not only saved food, but provided food,” said the D&S. It doesn’t seem to have been pointed out that less than 20 years earlier before the age of the motor car, landowners would have had to have ridden their horses or, even worse, walked, to go shooting.

A memorial service was held in Staindrop church to the Hon Henry Cecil Vane who, as we reported a month ago, had died of acute infectious jaundice, in a military hospital in Rouen. The 35-year-old captain seems to have been wounded on the battlefield and then picked up the fatal infection.

The church was packed.

“Places of business were closed in Staindrop, and at every house the blinds were drawn,” said the D&S. “The flag over the church tower was at half-mast. The mellow autumn sunlight clothed the woodlands in golden glory, and there was a peaceful hush all over the countryside as people were gathering from near and far to pay respect to the memory of one who but for the tragic circumstance of warfare might one day have been Lord of Raby.”

November 11, 1867

GUY FAWKES had been dangerously commemorated 150 years ago in several towns, according to the D&S.

In Darlington, there was the “usual amount of sound and fury signifying nothing, emanating principally from dark, narrow alleys” in which youths were letting off squibs and crackers.

“A bonfire was lighted in the Market Place about six o’clock, and burnt itself out in about an hour, but the reports of miniature canon were so loud and frequent that nervous people must have been sadly disturbed.

“The sharp cracking of pistols put vigilant policemen on the alert, and several young men were taken into custody.”

There was a more upbeat report from Richmond where the anniversary had been commemorated with “great spirit”.

“A large fire was made on the Market Cross, which was not extinguished until nine o’clock the following morning,” said the D&S. “Fireworks were thrown about in all directions in the Market Place and other parts of the town. The efforts of the police would have been of no avail in the attempt to prohibit the sport, and seeing this, they allowed matters to go on. No injury to property has happened, and on the whole all has passed off quietly.”

It was a very different story in Guisborough where the son of grocer William Woodcock “met with a serious accident”.

His friends “had laid a train of powder, and in their eagerness to light it, one of them dropped a match on to the powder while young Woodcock was stooping over the train, causing it to explode in his face, and it is feared destroying the sight of both eyes”.