MICHAEL Barber had noticed that in a 1930s photograph there was a newsagent called Find It Out beneath the King’s Head Hotel in the centre of Darlington and that in a 1970s photo there was also a newsagent called Find It Out in East Row.

He asked if we could find out why it was called Find It Out. “I’ve always thought it an odd name, rather more 1960s sounding than 1930s,” he said.

In short, we haven’t found it out, but other people are interested.

“Although I have been a resident of Darlington for 38 years, I was born and brought up in Hartlepool,” says Sheila Harris.

“When we moved to Darlington I was surprised to see that there was a Find It Out shop, and I wondered if it was owned by the same person who had a Find It Out shop in Hartlepool.

“My two aunts, Mary Suggitt and Doris Lowes (who were sisters), worked at the Hartlepool Find It Out for many years. Mary became the manageress.

“The shop was originally in Lynn Street in what was then West Hartlepool, and when that was demolished it relocated to York Road. Mary worked there until her retirement, which would probably have been around 1980.

“As with the Darlington shop it was a tobacconist and newsagent. Sorry I can’t throw any light on the name. It was always called that, and I don’t think anyone questioned it!”

Kathleen Gibson was employed in Find It Out in West Hartlepool in the early 1950s by a Keith Murray whose brother had a Find It Out in Darlington. She believes their father, WA Murray, had started the business in Hartlepool where it had four retail Find It Outs and a wholesale outlets.

Perhaps there was a whole chain of Find It Outs across the region. Will we find out anymore?