OUR tour of Teesdale recently inspired Kathleen Linton, of Pity Me, Durham, to send in this magnificent view of Barnard Castle taken from the Startforth side of the river.

“The low building in the foreground was a small smithy,” she says. “I remember my father, who was a farrier, taking me there in the early 1930s and I was allowed to work the bellows.”

Kathleen also points to the line of houses over the water in Bridgegate. Back then, Bridgegate was extremely narrow, with the 18th Century terrace built into the rock and a four-storey mill on the riverfront dropping into the water – it can be seen to the right of the picture and was part of the carpet-making industry that made Barney famous.

Several of the Bridgegate houses in Kathleen’s picture appear to be doubling as commercial premises as they have big nameboards nailed above the ground floor.

Even more remarkable is that in Kathleen’s picture there is a substantial house with barn-like outbuildings that is beneath the castle walls, halfway up the cliff. Looking up today, it is impossible to think that such structures could once have stood.

“They were accessed by a set of stone steps which I believe are still there,” she says. Old maps also show a track through the yard of the King’s Head Hotel leading to the house, so it could be reached from above, as well.

These Bridgegate slums and the mill were cleared from the 1930s to the 1950s – probably a good thing as in recent years they would have been threatened by stones tumbling down the cliff.

“I remember during the Second World War that tanks would cross the County Bridge,” says Kathleen. “It was extremely frightening if I happened to be on the bridge at the time, and I would dash to the refuge in the middle of the bridge.”