ON May 18, 1906, The Northern Echo reported: “About five o’clock last night, the whole building of the Cash Clothing Company, in Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland fell with a terrible crash, causing consternation amongst the shopkeepers in the immediate vicinity.”

By the wonders of eBay, Tom Hutchinson has just acquired a postcard illustrating the collapse.

The Cash Clothing Company was a couple of doors down from the Eden Theatre, which, a decade earlier, had been managed by Arthur Jefferson, the father of Stan Laurel.

The Cash Clothing company manager, Mr Thwaites, heard an ominous rumbling and rushed out and escaped injury, but “a well known Auckland gentleman, Mr Sam Lascelles, was injured by the falling debris”.

The Echo said: “It is fortunate that the affair was not even more serious, as it was the busiest part of the day, and there was a large number of people about, it being market day.”

The Echo hinted about why an apparently healthy building could come crashing down.

“The Cash Clothing Company’s premises were adjoining Mr Miller’s establishment, which was damaged recently by fire, and masons have been working upon the building,” it said.

The good news is that such is progress, we no longer have to fear randomly collapsing buildings…

Except, of course, in Newgate Street. At 2pm on September 15, 2011, several hundred yards north of Cash Clothing, the rear of Mothercare collapsed, bringing down three storeys, and leading to the demolition of the whole store.

The collapse was witnessed by Steve Davis, the manager of the neighbouring Phones4U shop, who experienced in 2011 what Mr Thwaites must have experienced in 1906. Mr Davis said: “We heard a noise that sounded like a rumble, as though somebody had crashed into the wall.

“There was silence for about 30 or 40 seconds and then there was a huge noise like thunder. A cloud of dust came out of the building and people were running towards it.”

* If you can shed any more light on the collapses of 1906 collapse and 2011, please get in touch.

We had a marvellous response to the Bishop Auckland picture of a woman shaving a man in Memories 409. There is a wonderful story attached to it which we will come to soon. Thank-you to everyone who has contributed – we would love to hear from Robert Heseltine again.