MEMORIES 675 told how Leanne Carroll had discovered a 100-year-old bottle-stopper from Hindes’ Brewery in Darlington while out walking in the Skerningham area of town.

The Northern Echo: Leanne Carroll's Hinde brewery bottle stopper

Now D Nightingale of Consett kindly sends in a picture of the sort of bottle it may once have stopped.

The Northern Echo: National Brewery bottle, Darlington

Hindes’ National Brewery was founded in 1871 in Ridsdale Street, off Yarm Road, by Thomas Perkin Hinde and his brother George Ridsdale Hinde, whose father was landlord at the Waterloo Hotel, which was on the site of the Dolphin Centre.

TP Hinde’s first job in the 1850s was in the telegraph service in York, but one day he overslept and failed to telegraph to northern newspapers the vital news that Britain had concluded peace with Russia at the end of the Crimean War. He immediately resigned, and emigrated with his brother to New Zealand, where they joined the army, fought against Maoris, narrowly escaped an ambush and returned to Darlington to start their brewery.

After four years, they sold up and went fruit-growing and wine-making in California until they heard that their old brewery had failed and was up for sale again.

So in 1885, the Hinde brothers returned to Darlington and to brewing. It is most likely that these treasures come from this second period of brewing.

The Hindes put their beer in stoneware bottles. The Chinese had discovered 1,400 years before the birth of Christ that if you heat clay to 1,200 degrees Centigrade it vitrifies and becomes waterproof and so is ideal for bottles – it keeps out light and heat, which can damage the contents.

By the 1820s, stoneware bottles were widely used in this country, and by the 1870s, they were becoming fashionably two tone, with honey necks and cream bodies. The transfers applied to the bottles became increasingly ornate, so we’d suggest that a simple pattern on a bottle that we featured in 2020, when it was found under a floorboard in Sadberge by Rob Hind, is earlier than Mr Nightingale’s, which has a fancy blue design on it.

The Northern Echo:

Stoneware bottles had two main disadvantages: the were heavy and they were difficult to close. Glass replaced them at the start of the 20th Century.

Hindes’ Brewery, and its 14 pubs, was taken over by John Smith in the late 1920s, and brewing ceased in Darlington.


The Northern Echo: HMS Sheffield

JAMES EDWARDS in Darlington sends in a slightly out-of-focus picture of HMS Sheffield apparently leaving the Tyne, where she had been built, on August 25, 1937.

“It’s not the best, but if she was at full throttle and, as helicopters were not yet in production, it was taken from a spotter plane, that may tell us why,” he says.

Sheffield was built by Vickers-Armstrong and was the first warship to have her instruments made from stainless steel rather than brass, and so her nickname was “Shiny Sheff”.

James found the picture amid the affairs of his father, Lieutenant Dennis Edwards, whose first posting was to the ship.

“On the reverse is a little report that I thought might appeal to you,” says James.

It says: “25 August 1937: On her final full-power trial, off the Tyne estuary, Sheffield's bow wave generated a swell that collided with the shore and swept an elderly lady, with deck chair, off the pier at Cullercoats. She was rescued from the sea unharmed.”