LAST WEEK we told of Jennie Heseltine who set a world cut-throat shaving record in her Evenwood front room.

Alison Hope in Bishop Auckland diverts us to the only other shaving related story that we know: the Latherbrush Bridge, in Bishop Auckland.

It is a Grade II listed bridge – presumably it dates from the early 1840s? – which carries Etherley Lane over the Weardale Railway.

It gets its name because on its south side, where the Bankside bungalows are today, there was a Victorian pub where the landlord supplemented his income by doing a bit of shaving on the side – he was a beerseller-cum-barber.

It is said that the sign of his pub advertised his shaving sideline: a picture of a lathered brush hung outside his door.

About 100 yards away is the Pollard’s Inn, named after Richard Pollard, who killed a ferocious wild boar that was terrorising the townspeople many centuries ago. Now, boar’s bristles can be used for shaving brushes, but boar’s bristles absorb moisture, so most shaving brushes are made from badger’s bristles, which repel all water.

There are four grades of badger lather brushes:

Pure badger: made from the coarse underbelly of the badger. Rough on the face. Cheap;

Best badger: made from finer badger hair

Super badger: the best of the best, but often the tips are bleached white to imitate the most expensive badger brush, which is…

Silvertip badger: the finest, fluffiest badger bristle with naturally whitened ends. Not only does it feel luxurious on the chin, but the customer can also see if it is hygienically clean.

We feel sure that the landlord of the Lather Brush Inn would use only a silvertip badger brush, and so this would have been on his sign.

This part of Bishop Auckland is now covered in mid 20th Century semi-detached houses, but a terrace of three houses remains from those latherbrush days. It is next to Grove Road and when this late Victorian terrace was built it was called Woodhouse Grove.