IN recent weeks in this space, we’ve become fascinated by the distinctive red brick building on the corner of Finkle Street and the Market Place in Richmond. A fortnight ago, we established that it was built in 1890 on the site of the town’s last timber-framed building by Darlington architects, Clark and Moscrop, as a printer’s.

For KW Hunter of Leeming Bar, the building has other associations. “Outside its door in the 1940s, I saw the genuine article – a real life, North American Red Indian, well over six feet tall in his uniform of the Algonquin Regiment of Quebec, and very proud of it,” he says.

Before this encounter, Mr Hunter had only ever seen “cigar store Indians” – almost lifesize wooden figures that stood outside tobacconists’ shops advertising the sale of exotic-scented smokeables. He recalls that there was one outside Mr Fraquet’s shop in King Street.

But this soldier was the real mccoy. “Obviously, he’d come over to give us a hand. There was a roll-down wall map of the world where I worked, and he showed me the locations of every native American tribe,” he says.

And he continues: “More fame for Finkle Street – at the far end, there was the Freeman, Hardy and Willis shoe shop where the manager’s son too his pals upstairs where he had a quarter snooker table. They played many an hour watched by his sister, demonstrating how not to play to the quiet young lady.”

She was Vera Danby, who, under her married name of Vera Selby, became the inaugural women’s snooker world champion in 1976, a title she regained in 1981. She is nine times the world billiards champion and in 2016, now living in Gosforth, Newcastle, the 86-year-old received an MBE for services to snooker and billiards.