A COUPLE are appealing for help in tracing four Darlington workmen whose names were inscribed inside a desk.

The inscription was discovered by David McLean, 51, a joiner for Kirklees Metropolitan Council, in West Yorkshire, when he was renovating oak desks from Huddersfield Library.

He and his wife, Lynn, 50, wanted to track down the men or their families and include information about them in a time capsule to be placed inside the desk.

The inscription reads: "Fred Metcalfe, Robert Barker, R Bowdrey have all had a go at this." It is signed by H Fuller, Darlington, 1939.

Mrs McLean, who works for the West Yorkshire Archive Service, has found paperwork relating to the sale of the desks to the library from Darlington cabinet-makers R Blackett and Sons.

She said: "We wonder if the desk with the inscription was a prototype. The desks are incredibly well made and my husband only found the names when he had taken one totally apart."

The couple hope readers of The Northern Echo will be able to provide information about the workmen for a capsule which will be put in the desk. All 26 will be reinstalled in the library's local history section later this month.

Mrs McLean said: "It was wartime when these were made so it may be that some of the men died. But someone out there must know who they are. The absolute ultimate would be a photograph of one of the chaps who made the desk. It is history and we want to preserve it. In 60 years time, maybe someone else will find what we have put there."

Anyone with information about the workmen can contact Sam Strangeways on (01325) 505022