From the Darlington & Stockton Times of...

September 28, 1867

THE D&S reported on “the annual show held at Stokesley” – the show had only been formed in 1859 so the paper did not yet know that it would become a regional institution.

“It will be remembered that last year, owing to heavy rains, the little town of Stokesley was converted into a lake, and the show was postponed,” began the report. “On the present occasion the weather was all that could be desired, and the field was in excellent condition.”

Entries were up in all classes, but “the horses were the great attraction” – particularly the jumpers. “Some splendid hunters competed for the special prizes, but although there were many excellent animals which jumped the fences in a style which called forth repeated applause, there was none that could approach Topsy, who cleared the timber in a first class manner.”

At Arkengarthdale, the paper reported that 300 leadminers had gone on strike because the mineowners had changed the way the men’s payment was calculated. The D&S said the change was “entirely opposed to all precedent, and consequently has given great dissatisfaction to this hitherto peaceable community, for such a thing as a strike was never before known among them. It is worthy of note that the mines have been worked for a period of 300 years.”

Happier times at Constable Burton Hall were a local village cricket team had taken on an eleven from Darlington – although the cricket was definitely secondary.

“Right hospitably and sumptuously were they entertained at breakfast, dinner and tea,” said the report. “Tables were spread under a marquee in the grounds, overlooking a hilly and beautifully wooded country. Add to this, that many of the neighbouring gentry and ladies were invited to meet the party and we may form some idea of the idea of the treat which cricketing, with these accompaniments would be – particularly to our Darlington men who, escaping for the day from business and its cares, exhilarated by a 20 mile ride behind four horses, and charmed by the beauties of Wensleydale, had a happy day of it, and did full justice to the luxuries of the season, spread with no niggard hand before them.”

There was just time to fit in a bit of cricket. “The match being decided by the first innings, Darlington was declared victor by three runs: Darlington 57, Constable Burton 54.”

September 29, 1917

SUCH were the stringencies of war that even the residences of the upper classes were being targeted by the authorities.

Near Bedale, Miss Margaret Vickers of The Hall, Patrick Brompton (which we presume is now known as Dalesend) was charged with wrongly acquiring sugar under the Sugar (Domestic Preserving) Order.

Inspector Honeywell had called on the hall on August 17 and noted that 52.5 stones of sugar had been delivered because the gardener reckoned there would be 80 stones of fruit to preserve as jam. This immediately set Insp Honeywell’s nose twitching, because he knew the soft fruit season was already nearly over.

He called on Miss Vickers, referred to in court as “the lady”, to explain. She said the raspberries had failed and so the sugar was unused. She asked to be able to keep the sweet stuff for next year, but Insp Honeywell was outraged.

“He estimated that the amount of sugar in the house would last the household for over three years,” said the D&S.

But Miss Vickers countered by saying that she distributed her jam, made from damsons, apples and pears to her chauffeur, stableman and gardener, and that since the visit of the inspector, she had returned 16 stone of unused sugar to her grocer.

The case was dismissed.

Meanwhile at Croft Hall, four miles south of Darlington, a domestic servant, Agnes Moore, was summoned for failing to shade a light.

“PC Ventress said on the night in question (September 10) that there was an incandescent gas burner fully alight in the kitchen and no blind was drawn. It was like a searchlight.”

The unfortunate servant girl said it was the first time that autumn the light had been lit, and she was fined ten shillings.

September 30, 1967

THE area, said the D&S, was experiencing a “stimulating shock” after ICI’s announcement that it wanted to sink a £25m potash mine that would take 750,000 tons of the salts from beneath the Cleveland Hills. The mine would employ 500 men – hopefully former Cleveland ironstone miners –and, said the D&S, it would be sited near Staithes “in one of the most unspoiled parts of the National Park”.

“We will employ top class landscape experts to meet any criticism from the planning authority,” said an ICI spokesman. “There will be no tips or dumps. All waste will be piped out to sea.”

The D&S said: “The company has been drilling for potash there for more than 20 years but hopes of a commercial discovery had been virtually given up.”

Unlike the current fracking furore, the paper did not report that there was any dissent among the local community.

Fred Dawson, of the North-East Development Council, said: “Plans are still in the early stages, but they hold a lot of promise for the future. Mining will bring major benefits to the area.”

ICI began digging the mine in 1969, and Boulby started production in 1973.

Elsewhere, under the headline “homing instinct”, the D&S reported that Mr Tot Iveson, of Gayle, near Hawes, had bought a cow at a sale at Sedbergh, transported it home and placed it in a field.

“Next morning it was found patiently waiting outside the gate to its former field at Sedbergh,” said the D&S. “It is well known that sheep will travel long distances to reach their old jome, but for cattle to do so is much more uncommon.”