ERRY YARROW remembers the days when you could buy petrol in the village of Winston.

“The pumps were part of the village shop which closed in 1990,” he says. “It was run by a guy called Alf Holmes who sold petrol and paraffin – we had oil lamps back then when I was living there. He would also charge the accumulators for radios – you handed one in and got one back.”

Memories 469 was full of people talking about Cleveland petrol, which was the brand sold at Winston in the 1950s.

“I’m 75,” says Terry, who is a former headteacher at Firth Moor school in Darlington, “and I was born at Hedgeholme Cottages on the North Riding side of the river, where the ford used to be, and I went to the village school which is now the Bridgewater Arms.”

There’s loads to unpick there. Winston was an estate owned by the Duke of Bridgewater and there was an inn in the village which bore his name.

The school was built on the edge of the village in 1851. In 1961, it was sold to Hammonds Brewery of Darlington, and the inn relocated there with Lady Barnard drawing the first pint on July 22.

The village is on a crossroads, where the A67 Darlington to Barnard Castle road crosses the B6274 Staindrop to Richmond road. Today, we largely travel east/west, but in centuries gone by, the north/south route was just as important, carrying south Durham minerals, like coal and lime, into the North Riding.

But to reach market, the minerals had to cross the Tees, and this was at originally done by a ford at Hedgeholme. There was also a boathouse on the Winston side of the river, so there was probably a ferry across for those who didn’t want to get wet.

All that changed in 1763 when Winston bridge was constructed over the Tees. It is 111ft (34 metres) wide, and in its day it was hailed as the widest single span in Europe.

This technological marvel was designed by amateur architect Sir Thomas Robinson, of Rokeby Park, and paid for by the businessmen on the turnpike – the private company that owned and maintained the road. To make a return on their investment, members of the turnpike charged people to use their road, and at least four milestones either side of Winston can still be spotted.

A traveller paid for using the new bridge at Winston Gate, a hamlet on the Yorkshire side of the river. The tollhouse can still be seen as can a former pub opposite it. The pub was known as The Board Inn because it displayed the tollboard which told how much it would cost to cross the river.

(Maps of the 1890s also say that the Bridgewater Arms in Winston village was known as The Board Inn. Having two Board Inns on either side of the river must have been confusing, although perhaps it shows the importance of the information on the boards.)

Many more wonders of Winston are to be discovered in Brian Clarke’s book, Sweet Winston, which was published in 2013, and which a few copies remain unsold at £10. Email for further details.