FOR 364 days a year, the Darlington Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Record Book is locked away in a glass case.

It only comes out for the incoming mayor to sign, and then it goes back into hiding – unless a member of the royal family should rock up, and then it comes out to accept their autograph.

But now this beautiful, if secretive book, is being emblazoned all over Facebook: the current mayor of Darlington, Cllr Nick Wallis, is taking the opportunities afforded by the lockdown to photograph each page and put it on the internet.

“It is such a shame it is locked away for safety because there are exquisite and historic watercolours of Darlington in it,” says the mayor, “as well signatures of members of the royal family and other dignitaries who have visited over the years.

“The book belongs to the people of Darlington, and deserves to be seen by them which is why I am putting up a page every day.”

The book was commissioned in 1897 by the then mayor, George Marshall, with local artists contributing scenes of the town as it then was, plus providing illuminated headers for the pages, which over the years have been signed by royalty, freemen, mayors, MPs and other distinguished visitors.

To see more of this civic treasure, search for the “Mayor of Darlington” on Facebook – and while you’re about it, don’t forget to join our new “North-East Memories” page.