TRIBUTES have been paid to an old-fashioned dales school teacher with a vast knowledge of local history

Margaret Elizabeth Baum, who died on Monday, aged 85, taught hundreds of people in Teesdale during her decades of service at Cotherstone Primary School.

Mrs Baum, known to everyone as Madge, taught at the school after the Second World War when it was based in schoolrooms behind the village's Methodist chapel.

When the school moved to its current site in 1964, she carried on teaching there until retirement in 1980.

Former pupils remember her as a formidable disciplinarian who commanded the respect of all her pupils.

Former milkman and Teesdale film-maker David Rabbitts, who was at Cotherstone School from 1947 to 1957, said Mrs Baum hated her pupils failing and did everything she could to ensure they left the school with a proper education.

"She really believed in the Three Rs. All the kids feared her discipline but we all loved her," he said.

"Nearly everybody around here over a certain age will have been taught by her.

"There aren't characters like her any more."

Mrs Baum, whose maiden name was Lowe, lived in Middleton-in-Teesdale all her life and, as well as being a keen musician and staunch Methodist, was extremely interested in local history.

Friends remember her encyclopaedic knowledge of the area.

Middleton resident and Teesdale dialect expert Kathleen Teward said: "If you wanted to know anything about the village, it was her you asked."

Local historian Vince Wearmouth added: "She was a member of the heritage group here and had a lot of old photographs."

Mrs Baum was married to the late Harry.

Her funeral takes place tomorrow at Middleton Methodist Church at 1.30pm.