MEMORIES 387 told of the Lear family of ironmongers who had a shop – well, an emporium, really – in Darlington's Horsemarket for five generations from 1760 to 1965.

The last of the local Lears were John and Beatrice, who died a few years ago.

Their godson, Geoff Elvish, has some photographs which John took on December 17, 1938, when, smitten by a climbing bug, he ascended Peases Mill chimney (it must have had scaffolding around it), St Cuthbert's church tower and the town clock with his camera.

The negatives haven't really coped with the test of time very well, but they do give a fascinating glimpse of the smokey town as it was 80 years ago.