THIS is the Duke of Edinburgh opening the Darlington High School for Girls on Edinburgh Drive on November 19, 1955.

“I was a first year pupil and the four classes of 11-year-olds were all required to sit on the steps leading up to the stage while the rest of the pupils sat on chairs in the main body of the hall,” remembers Christine Jemmeson. “As a result I was sitting quite close to the platform party and the Duke – very exciting.”

Since 1968, when the school became co-educational, it has been known as Hummersknott.

“I don't remember much of his speech,” continues Christine, “except that he raised a laugh when he commented that he'd been asked to come and open the school but it looked as if it was already well and truly open!”

This leads to one of the great debates in Darlington history: the school is surrounded by streets with Scottish names so is it just coincidence that it should be on Edinburgh Drive, or was Edinburgh Drive named for the duke?

“When the school opened, it was virtually in open countryside, though this didn't last long,” says Christine. “The edge of town was Salutation Road and Baydale Road, and although some of us walked to and from school via Nunnery Lane in the summer when it was daylight, it was completely rural most of the way with hedges and trees at each side.

“The road up to the school was made when the school was built and it was named Edinburgh Drive because of the Duke's visit.

“Other houses were built gradually during my seven years at the school. Six of the first streets were named after the High School houses, which were the names of famous people of the north of England: Barrett Road (Elizabeth Barrett Browning of Coxhoe), Bede Road (the first Northumbrian historian), Caedmon Crescent (the first English poet of Whitby Abbey), Carroll Road (Lewis Carroll of Croft), St Hild Close (the abbess of Whitby), and Wycliffe Way (John Wycliffe, responsible for the first Bible translation into English, of the village of Wycliffe near Whorlton.)

“The other roads with names connected to Edinburgh like St Giles Close, Holyrood Avenue and Pentland Grove were I believe then chosen by developers to go with Edinburgh Drive.

“More recently, another group of roads with names connected with Edinburgh has been built: Greyfriars Close, Lauriston Close and Craigmiller (sic) Park – it should be Craigmillar, after the castle in Edinburgh, but was misspelt by the builder.”