ONE of our other lost pubs featured in Memories 493 was the Raby Inn, Tubwell Row, which became the Pied Piper Inn before in 1985 before it was demolished for the Cornmill Centre in 1988.

“The gents there were down a precipitous set of steep steps, which presented a danger to those gentlemen who had imbibed too much,” remembers Anthony Magrys.

The steps may well have dated back to the first known pub on this site, in the 17th Century, which was called the Packhorse Inn. It was said to be the last pub in town with a closet bed.

Closet beds were once common in pubs. They were beds that were separated from the bar by a curtain or double doors – perhaps the bed was in a cupboard. The drinker would be able to hire the bed and then order more and more ale until he had drunk himself to sleep.

In 1869, the Pack Horse was bought by Joseph Kimber Wilkes, who became mayor of Darlington in 1885. He demolished the old inn and replaced it with a hotel with six bedrooms, seven stalls for horses and a concert room 50ft by 15ft. In 1870, the Duke of Cleveland, or Raby Castle, granted him permission to call his new place the Raby.

As well as the toilets with the precipitous steps out the back, there was a 10ft deep brick-lined well, and upstairs in one of the front bedrooms there was a ghost – a lady in a long white gown who would sit on a bed and comb her long hair.

Disappointingly, the ghost has not been seen since the pub was demolished – unless you’ve seen her hanging around the Cornmill?

OUR list of lost Darlington pubs grows longer almost by the week. Only ten days ago, the Echo reported that the town could well be losing the Greyhound, in Parkgate, where there is an application for planning permission to turn it into eight apartments.

The Greyhound was the favoured watering hole for actors at the theatre over the road. Tommy Cooper once propped the bar up, but didn’t have any cash on him, and when Ken Dodd was in, someone stole the wheels off his car that was parked outside.

In 1991, the upstairs of the pub was used to house the 40-piece orchestra that was accompanying the musical Chess that was playing over the road at the Civic (now Hippodrome). The stage directions for Chess apparently insist that that the musicians are out of sight, so they couldn’t use the theatre’s pit as they were visible from it.

The only place for them was the pub, and the music was “piped” across to the auditorium.

The Greyhound itself was a private house until 1864 when it was bought by Darlington’s Plews brewery. In 1903, it was rebuilt, and since the theatre opened in 1907, it has catered for both luvvies and locals – brothers Bill and Bert Bell, who lived just round the corner, claimed to have had at least one pint in the pub every day for 55 years until the mid-1980s when Bert died and Bill moved to Richmond.