WE got our lefts and our rights mixed up when looking for Simpsons’ sports shop which was in Darlington’s Post House Wynd from the early 1960s until the late 2000s.

It was on the northern side of the wynd, in the premises now occupied by Toni & Guy hairdressers, next to Robin Finnegan’s jewellery shop.

“It was on the same side as Hoppers and Richardson’s the jewellers,” says Mike Walker of Middleton St George, one of many who pointed out the mistake. “There was a fish and chip shop on that side, and I remember Simpsons was very close to was a ‘surgical’ shop which for the life of me I can’t remember the name but it’s window had all sorts of supports, socks etc in it.”

It’s unimaginative name was the Northern Surgical Company. It no longer seems to exist, although the internet informs us that the only Northern Surgical Company currently in the world was formed in Delhi in India in 1999. It specialises in “disposable multi prong grasping forceps” and many other painfully intrusive medical instruments – a far cry from socks and supports on Post House Wynd.

SIMPSONS’ shop was at No 26a Post House Wynd. Between Nos 24 and 25 Post House Wynd is a grey door which must lead to a concealed, enclosed yard, which is still named on maps as Alms House Yard.

It was here in 1820 that Mary Pease bought some land and the connecting passageway and built four almshouses for “four poor widows, aged 60 at least, of good moral character and not of the society of Quakers” to live in.

Mary was herself a widow as her husband, Joseph, had died in 1808. He was the second generation of Peases to be active in Darlington as woolcombers and he had also established a private bank, so he was crucial in establishing the family, and its mills, at the centre of the town.

Mary and Joseph had a famous son: Edward, who was born in 1767 and who would become known as “the Father of the Railways”.

Mary, herself a devout Quaker who died the year after establishing the houses, was the first of the Peases to act so charitably. The widows had to pay five shillings rent a year, but any money not used in the upkeep of the properties was returned to them on Christmas Day.

However, if the widows got married or committed “gross impropriety”, they were to be expelled from the houses.

In 1895, Mary’s great-grand-daughter Emma died at the age of 66. Emma, who was the daughter of the Joseph whose statue stands in High Row, never married and she left money for six new almshouses to replace Mary’s properties.

These Pease Cottages still stand in a quiet corner at the end of South Terrace, shielded by trees from the traffic of Victoria Road and the Sainsburys petrol station.

But what now lies behind the grey door in Alms House Yard?

THEREFORE, Simpsons was on the opposite side of Post House Wynd to the Green Dragon, which is in a very distinctive Grade II listed building, with three curious portholes at the top, dating from the early 18th Century.

It is probably one of Darlington’s oldest pubs, as we have a list from 1827 when the town had 38 pubs. Nearly 200 years later, seven names still trade: the Black Swan, Parkgate; the Boot and Shoe and the Hole in the Wall in the Market Place; the Half Moon, Northgate; the Turk’s Head, Bondgate; the King's Head in Prospect Place, and the Green Dragon.

Pub names did have a habit of changing buildings as landlords moved about, but these seven are probably all in the same location as they were in 1827.

They have all done well to survive, especially the Dragon (which was the favoured drinking place of the young Vic Reeves in the late 1970s). In the early 1990s, owners Bass Taverns wanted to Irishify the pub and rename it O’Neills, but an outcry ensured that the Dragon lived on to fight another day.

“PORK DIPS from Gregorys were our Saturday morning bait in the early 1970s on the way to the OK office to buy our tickets for the bus to Roker Park,” says Paul Dobson, taking us back to last week’s piece on the great Durham delicacy.

“Regarding saveloy dips, I suggest Hanley's, the butcher in Lanchester, for size and content, based on a recent visit.”

Another hot tip for a saveloy dip comes from an anonymous caller who recommends Ibbitson’s, Sunderland’s oldest family butcher, in Jacky White’s Market.

A traditional dip has pease pudding on one half of the sandwich and sage and onion stuffing on the other half, and the hot meat or sausage in between. There is a degree of controversy about when the dip part of the process should take place. Some people say that both halves of the bun should be dipped in hot gravy or meaty fat prior to the spreads being applied; other say that the dipping is the final part of the process when the sandwich is fully compiled.

MEMORIES 530 told of the five artificial teethmakers in Bishop Auckland in 1914, one of whom was Andrew Jameson.

“I recall as a 14-year-old playing golf at The High Plains in Bishop one sunny night,” says Allan Wilkinson. “In those days you just turned up and played with whoever was awaiting. My father and I had the misfortune to join up with Mr Jameson, an old man by that time, and another player, whose identity is lost in the mists of time.

“He started arguing and questioning every move his colleagues made and by the eighth hole, he was in a state.

“When his first putt lipped the cup, he turned round and shouted at me that I had moved while he was putting. He ordered me to return to the clubhouse because of my action!

“My father, a reasonable man, reprimanded Mr Jameson and confirmed that I was going nowhere.

“The match proceeded with ill will and the normal ending, in which the losers paid for the drinks, did not take place. What a night! What a man!

“Mr Jameson was a friend of Dr Vivian Wardle, a hero I believe of the First World War, and Angus Ferens, owner of The Mill, just below Bracks Wood - two more venerable gentlemen I have not met in my long life. They must have been in their eighties, but were not to be underrated as golfers even then.”

“LIKE your reader Ann Lake from Ferryhill, I too learned to drive in Mr Ramsey's Triumph Herald,” says Ray Todd of Newton Aycliffe.

He operated from Gay Flowers, a shop that would have a different name today on Darlington’s Grange Road.

“I failed my first driving test in 1961, but on my second attempt I used the Triumph Herald and passed,” says Ray. “My friend also had lessons from Mr Ramsey who told him he was surprised I'd passed, and I suppose he did have a point.”

But David Knowles emails to say that optician JA Webster, whose spectacles from 1965 featured in Memories 531, traded from 149 Northgate, which was opposite the Salvation Army citadel and Thornleys.

Then he drops something of a bombshell: “The driving instructor who operated from Gay Flowers was actually Tommy Ramage. He gave lessons in a green Triumph Herald and he lived at 51 Geneva Drive which was also a general dealer’s shop run by his wife.”

LAST week, we had a police coffin turning into a "satanic bobsleigh" when it burst out of the back doors of a police car in Elvet in Durham.

"That reminds me of when I was 15 in the 1960s, and my dad was driving us towards Roker, Sunderland, for a day's fishing," says Derek Jago in Bishop Auckland. "To avoid the city centre, we went through Pallion, passing Joblings (of Pyrex fame) glass works. On the approach to Joblings, a very steep hill rose suddenly to the right from the main road and as we approached, we were greeted by the sight of a very large piece of machinery which was embedded into the tarmac of the main road. A man was walking around it scratching his head.

"The machinery was a massive lathe about 15ft long which had broken free from an articulated lorry as it had turned up the bank. It was dug into the main road and its huge cast iron base was completely smashed.

"Dad managed to drive round it. We didn't stop to see how it was removed!"