THIS week, the businesses in the streets around Darlington's Imperial Hotel have banded together to launch themselves as "the Imperial Quarter".

The quarter includes the fashionable retail outlets in Grange Road, Northumberland Street, Coniscliffe Road and Blackwellgate.

By coming together, the businesses hope to be able to present their quarter as a retail destination – in time for Christmas.

To celebrate, we've delved into The Northern Echo's archive to find some old pictures from the streets in the quarter.

If you compare the first two pictures in the gallery above you will see that quite a bit of building work has taken place in the intervening period: the Three Blue Bells Hotel (best known as the Falchion and now called Avalon) has acquired a strange, stepped top and next to it, a narrow three-storey building has shot up. Hollis & Perry is now Uno Momento.