LAST week, Memories was invited to Hurworth Primary School to assist in the children's local studies. We talked of everything from plague pits to pubs, and the children were very interested in, and knowledgeable about, the history of their village. We showed lots of old pictures of buildings as they once were, and only afterwards thought it might have been nice to have shown them some pictures of people of the district - of the children of Hurworth - as they were a long, long time ago.

In our archives, we have a box of photos connected to the Reverend Walter Stewart who was the Perpetual Curate of Eryholme from 1887 until he moved to Gloucestershire in 1904. He lived with his wife, Catharine, and their three sons, Gerald, Martin and Lawson, in Elcott House on Hurworth Green - it stands out because it has a sundial on it.

In 1890, Mr Stewart bought a £374 telescope - worth about £50,000 today, according to the Bank of England Inflation Calculator - which he installed in Elcott House so he could survey the heavens. When he moved away, the people of Darlington bought the telescope for a knockdown £130 and it was installed in a wooden observatory in South Park. It wasn't well used, and in 1931 the grammar school offered it a home in a shed on the Abbey Road playing fields. It still wasn't well used, and in 1992 when a fire destroyed the shed, it took six months for anyone to realise that the "Darlington Telescope" had been inside it, by which time the scrap man had long since carted off whatever had survived the flames.

We've used the photographs from Mr Stewart's collection many times over the years to illustrate our stories but today we look for the first time purely at the people, and especially some children, of 1890s Hurworth. The information connected to each picture is often scanty, so if you can add anything, we'd love to hear from you. Please email

Today's front cover shows a group of Hurworth children "down the ring", as the caption beneath it says. The Ring Field is the name of the village's favourite sledging slope down Blind Lane.