IN Memories 376, we were puzzling over a picture of roadworks on a street corner that was taken on September 19, 1963.

Behind the men who are lazily at work is a low shed with "Legg & Fellows" on the side of it, and to the right is a shop which was operated by a boot repairer.

Christine Stubbs recognised the location because she lives opposite it and because her father, John Burton Johnson, took over Legg & Fellows' business in the 1960s.

It is only with that kind of inside knowledge that you would be able to locate it because it has changed quite radically.

The picture shows Temple Buildings in Middleton St George, which is just off The Square in the centre of this rapidly expanding village. The boot repairer's shop is now a pizza takeaway, but the site of Legg & Fellows has been filled in with houses, called Temple Court.

Middleton St George came into being when an ironworks was established there, beside the Stockton & Darlington Railway, in 1864. The works attracted a lot of Irish immigrants, and local builders quickly turned property speculators to build cheap terraces to house them. Some of those terraces still bear their builders' names: there's Harts Buildings, Browns Buildings and Hansons Buildings (all missing their apostrophes, but never mind) plus William Temple's buildings, which appeared in our picture. Temple Buildings must have proved profitable for Mr Temple as ended his days living in a large Victorian villa in the village called Thorntree House.

Once the Irish ironworkers had a roof over their heads, they needed a drink, and two pubs were built in The Square: the Killinghall Hotel (now the Table Talk Indian restaurant) and the General Havelock Hotel (still serving).

Ironworking was a hot, thirsty job and so the Irishmen were robust drinkers, and, as a consequence, the village became noted for its lawnessless. In 1877, a 7ft-long petition was delivered to Darlington magistrates demanding that the village be equipped with its own prison because the village bobby was having to deal with so many drunkards.

"In order to convey a disorderly person to the lock-up in Darlington, the policeman is frequently compelled to leave the locality when his presence is most needed, and it is well known that, in his absence, deplorable scenes are but too common," wrote the petitioners.

They got their wish. On the south side of The Square (which is actually a triangle, but never mind) was Central Buildings, a terrace of about ten houses, one or two of which were converted into a surprisingly large police station, complete with cells. The station was ideally located, between the two pubs, where most of the drinking took place, and facing the open space of The Square, where most of the fighting took place.

As Middleton St George lost its Wild West feel after the First World War, so the village prison fell out of use, although it was revived during the Second World War as a cooling off place for Canadian airmen from the nearby airfield who had over-imbibed.

After the war, the prison was deemed unnecessary, and our picture shows the roadworks after its demolition. In its place, Legg & Fellows – run by Mr Johnson – built two police houses with a hut beside them which acted as a little police station.

Because Middleton St George is now a very law-abiding place, the police hut is no longer in use.

BECAUSE of the demolition of the police terrace, Central Buildings in Middleton St George today rather strangely consists of Nos 1 and 2 (which are the police houses built by Legg & Fellows in 1963), and No 12.

No 12 Central Buildings is now a fashionable hairdresser and beauty parlour called Twelve Central. It is a substantial property which was built as a co-operative store. It rambles quite a long way back, where presumably all the co-op departments used to be, and it ends with a substantial brick-built outhouse, which could just have been used for storage.

Many Victorian co-ops, though, also had their own slaughterhouses. Did the one at Middleton St George?

Ironically, the Co-op has recently announced that it hopes to build a large supermarket, employing up to 20 people, in Middleton. It will cater for the newcomers to this village that was founded by Irish newcomers 150 years ago.

If you can tell us anything about the original MSG co-op in Central Buildings, we’d love to hear from you.