THE PRIME MINISTER is to staycate in the North-East.

So the papers of 150 years ago this week were reporting.

The Northern Echo’s sister paper the Darlington & Stockton Times said that the Liberal Prime Minister, WE Gladstone, (below) was going to be staycating in Whitby.

The Northern Echo:

“Mr Gladstone needs rest and quietude,” said the D&S.

One of the reasons for the Prime Minister’s sojourn in Whitby was that his son, William Henry Gladstone (below), was the town’s MP from 1868 until 1880.

The Northern Echo: WH Gladstone, the MP for Whitby

Indeed, in 1870, the Whitby MP had played in the first unofficial international football match between England and Scotland, representing Scotland. This was one of five friendlies organised in London by the Football Association, which selected the Scotland team from people with Scottish connections living in the capital – although Gladstone was born in Wales and represented an English seat, the Gladstones considered themselves to come from Scottish stock.

This week 150 years ago, the D&S urged the people of Whitby to cut the holidaying PM some slack. “They will, we feel sure, abstain from anything likely to interfere with the privacy and enjoyment of the holiday which he so much needs, and which he has so well earned.”

If anyone spots Boris Johnson staycating on the east coast, we would obviously say the same.

The Northern Echo: The racecourse at Richmond in the late 1960s

The starter's box at Richmond racecourse in the 1960s with the grandstand, then with two storeys, behind

MEMORIES 531 and 532 told of Richmond’s racing history and the battle to save its ruined grandstand which, panoramically placed above the town, dates from 1777.

The D&S Times of 150 years ago this week adds a little more to the story as it tells how the town welcomed home its “Goodwood Cup heroine”.

“Shannon, who gave the talent at Goodwood such a surprise by her victory over such clinking good horses as Mortemer, the Ascot Cup winner, and Favonius, the Derby hero, arrived at Richmond on Friday night by the 8.30 train and looked none the worse for her journey,” said the paper.

Shannon was trained by James Elliott at Sylvia House, Richmond (can anyone tell us where that was?) and was owned by “a gentleman racing under the name of Mr F Mouncey”. She had been the 50-1 outsider at Goodwood but in what newspapers of the day described as “a most sensational race”, she beat Favonius – regarded as the best racehorse of the decade – by half-a-length with Mortemer a neck further back.

When Lord Zetland’s horse Voltigeur won the Derby in 1850, the beer flowed so freely and so long that it is reckoned that about 10 men died of over-indulgence, so the homecoming celebrations for the Goodwood heroine in 1871 were probably quite boisterous as well.

However, the best story from 150 years ago has yet to be told…