From the Darlington & Stockton Times of… December 2, 1967

FIFTY years ago, Northallerton seemed prepared to lose one of its finest old buildings without much of a fuss. The possibility of Register House, built in 1738, being demolished to make way for a new branch library was to be discussed, said the D&S.

“Register House was built originally as an office which the North Riding magistrates had to provide under an Act of 1734, and immediately after it was built they added living accommodation for the registrar and his family,” said the D&S.

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This was effectively the start of Northallerton as the county town of the North Riding as all legal documents were stored here, and in 1782, a courthouse was added in which disputes arising from the documents were settled.

But by the 1960s, it had out-lived its usefulness, and a health clinic had been built on its garden.

“In studying the problem of Register House, the County Estates Committee say that it seems inevitable that all buildings at the corner of High Street and Zetland Street will be demolished and the area redeveloped,” noted the D&S.

Although much of the corner was subsequently demolished, Register House was reprieved, and is now the home of the Joe Cornish Gallery.

December 1, 1917

THE death of Robert Lancaster was reported. For nearly 30 years, he had been the landlord of The George Inn at Piercebridge, and for all of his 85 years he had been steeped in the ways of Yorkshire horsey, hunting folk.

"His large check suits and leggings always marked him as a sporting and original character, and in his nature few men were more cheery or more full of anecdote,” said the D&S. "For well night half a century, he was seldom absent from the horse fairs in the district around Darlington, and it was somewhat of a proud boast of his that he had attended every horse fair between Land's End and John O'Groats.”

Born at Harome, near Helmsley, he emigrated to the US in the 1850s and had ridden on horseback from New York to San Francisco. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he came home, and after taking charge of the stables in Darlington’s King's Head Hotel, for ten years, he took on the George.

The inn became “one of the most popular meets of the Zetland and Hurworth hunts,” said the D&S, and “on several occasions he had the distinguished honour of the housing and entertaining members of the Royal family, including the late Prince Albert Victor”. The prince was Queen Victoria’s eldest grandson and so was expected to become king one day, until in 1892, at the age of 28, he died of influenza.

The D&S concluded: "The house was seldom passed without a call by either a master of hounds, a huntsman, rider or driver, or any pedestrian tramping along the old Roman road."

November 30, 1867

IN deepest Teesdale, where no gas lights illuminated the darkness, there was a ratepayers’ rebellion and John Parmley, of Skears near Middleton-in-Teesdale, was summoned by magistrates to the bright lights of Barnard Castle for non-payment of the gas rate.

“It appears that defendant, together with a number of other ratepayers in the township who, however, live out of the town, considered that as they derived no benefit from the gas lights in the town, they would not pay the rate,” said the D&S.

The magistrates ordered that Mr Parmley, and all the other rebellious ratepayers, should pay the full rate.