MEMORIES 496 told of the development of Corporation Road in Darlington, where a 117-year-old time capsule had been discovered in a school wall.

Corporation Road was made in 1892 to connect Northgate with Greenbank hospital. The school was begun in 1897 and opposite, the Baptists erected a £400 tin tabernacle – more often known as the “tin hut”. It held its first service on June 16, 1897.

With the rapid expansion of railwaymen’s terraces, attendances in the tin hut grew, and on November 21, 1905, the Baptists held their first service in their grand £4,760 brick tabernacle. A door was made in the new tabernacle leading to where one day they hoped to build a church hall on the site of the tin hut – but it didn’t happen until 1990.

In the meantime, the tin hut survived a fire, as these dramatically smoky pictures taken by John Hill show.

“As usual, I don't have an exact date of when I took the photos,” he says. “It's interesting to see that members of the public were allowed to get so close to the scene – that wouldn't happen now, of course.”

It looks as if the fire was early 1970s?

The tin hut deteriorated further after the fire until it was replaced by the £113,000 church centre which opened on June 16, 1990 – 93 years to the day since the tin hut’s first service, and connecting up a door which had led nowhere for 85 years.