THERE is just one more chance to see inside Thornaby’s derelict late Victorian town hall before it is restored.

“On the first floor, the magnificent former council chamber is bare and the plasterwork is in poor condition, but the ornate entrance doors, with the Thornaby coat of arms set in stained glass, still survives, as does the large stone spiral staircase with a beautiful glass domed roof,” reports David Thompson, of his visit.

“For me, the piece de resistance was to be found in the attic where the wonderful clock mechanism made by Potts and Sons of Leeds is dated 1892 and is hoped will be restored to working order.”

There is one more open day this Saturday between 10am and 2pm – before the builders set to work with £850,000 of Lottery money.

Of course, Potts and Sons were founded by a Darlington man, William Potts, who was born in Salt Yard, off Bondgate, in 1809 and who served his apprenticeship to a clockmaker on High Row. When he completed it in 1833, he was not allowed to set up in business in direct competition to his master, so he moved to Pudsey, Leeds, and cornered the market in turret clocks. Almost every Victorian town hall, church spire or railway station clock you ever set eyes on anywhere in the world will be a Potts clock, and Thornaby’s quarter-chiming one is a fine example.

William died in 1886, but has he never lost his interest in Darlington, his sons paid for the Potts Memorial Clock to be installed in South Park, where it survives to this day.

And, finally, Memories always enjoys Thornaby Town Hall. It is Thornaby’s equivalent of the Angel of the North or the Transporter Bridge – its symbol of identity.

Thornaby, on the Yorkshire bank of the Tees, is an ancient community with a 12th Century church, but it has always been overshadowed by Stockton on the Durham bank of the river.

When, in 1892, Thornaby had grown enough to get its own borough council, it deliberately angled its £7,000 town hall so it looked over the Victoria Bridge with its centrepiece Potts clock keeping an eye on the Stocktonians.

Thornaby’s independence lasted until 1968 when it was subsumed into Teesside and its town hall became largely disused. It then drifted into Cleveland and, from 1996, was part of Stockton Borough – although it has always had an inclination to assert its Yorkshire identity.

In 2012, Stockton council sold the town hall to Thornaby Town Council, which is now restoring it and reclaiming its own individuality.