From the Darlington & Stockton Times of… January 12, 1918

NORTHALLERTON Urban Council had received a letter from an agent acting for Lord Bolton, of Bolton Castle in Wensleydale, who was to be visited in the early summer by Marquis of Cambridge.

“The marquis is also Viscount Northallerton and has expressed a wish to see the town from which he takes his title and to make acquaintance with the people,” wrote the agent. “I would like to ascertain whether the Urban Council would like to receive and welcome him.

“I need hardly say that Lord Cambridge is the Queen’s eldest brother, and that the title Viscount Northallerton was originally conferred by Queen Ann on the Elector of Hanover in 1706, who afterwards became King George II.”

The situation was actually a little more peculiar than Lord Bolton was letting on, for the Viscount of Northallerton’s full title was “Prince Adolphus of Teck in the Kingdom of Wurttenberg”. The prince’s father had been an Austrian nobleman who had married the daughter of the Duke of Cambridge and in the late 19th Century had successfully ridden two horses at once: he was a Generalmajor in the Prussian army and a Major-General in the British army.

However, for Prince Adolphus the matter of the First World War – Britain versus Germany – meant that he had to choose one horse or the other.

His brother-in-law, King George V, had started the process by de-Germanising the British throne by changing his surname from the foreign-sounding Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the very English Windsor.

On July 14, 1917, Prince Adolphus followed suit. He renounced his German titles and decided to call himself the Marquess of Cambridge, after his mother’s very English-sounding family.

Because one title is not enough for any self-respecting nobleman, he also seems to have revived the title of Viscount Northallerton, presumably because of its Germanic beginnings.

The clerk of the urban council was instructed to reply to Lord Bolton saying that the council “would have great pleasure in welcoming the Marquis and Marchioness of Cambridge to Northallerton”.

Prince Adolphus – known as “Dolly” – died in 1927 and his eldest son, George, became the new Duke of Cambridge and Viscount Northallerton. When he died in 1981 without a male heir, his titles became extinct.

Of course, in 2011, the “Duke of Cambridge” tag was revived for a certain heir to the throne and his new wife.

January 13, 1968

DRAMA at Northallerton Prison where two prisoners had been at large for nearly a week after a breakout. One was Thomas Kerr, of Sunderland, who was serving five years for manslaughter, and the other was a housebreaker from Rotherham.

“They made their escape by breaking into the prison kitchen and then through a window onto a roof,” said the D&S. “They climbed onto a higher roof of the prison engineering shop and then crossed a five yard gap from the roof to the prison wall.”

Despite this detailed description of their route, there was still mystery about how they accomplished their jailbreak. “No sign of ropes or ladders being used to clear the gap were found and it seems unlikely they could have jumped in the darkness because of snow and ice,” said the paper.

Their getaway van had been found burned out in Beechwood Avenue, Darlington.

Meanwhile, the D&S also reported that “after 40 years trading the Co-operative store in Hurworth Road, Croft, will close its doors for the last time this afternoon”. This is presumably in what we know as Hurworth Place today but which as it grew up around Croft Spa station was known as Croft.

“The closure of the shop would bring Croft into line with other villages served the travelling shops, said Darlington Co-operative Society’s general manager, Mr HC Jennings. The travelling shop would carry the whole range of goods right to the door, and there would be no less of service.”

Whereabouts was the co-op in Croft?

January 11, 1868

MORE than 200 workmen had been entertained to a special supper to commemorate the near completion of a two sister mansions in Darlington.

“It is now between two and three years since the works were first commenced, but they have been considerably delayed by a dispute with the masons, which lasted about four months, and it is estimated that both buildings will be completed by midsummer,” said the D&S.

John Pease, the eldest son of Edward “the Father of the Railways” Pease, had commissioned the mansions for his two daughters.

The first was Woodburn, which was a wedding present to Sophia when she married Theodore Fry in 1866.

The second was Elm Ridge, which John intended for himself and his wife, Sophia, and their unmarried daughter Mary Anna. Indeed, he had his initials entwined in the stonework with those of Sophia above the date 1867.

But it was not complete when the dinner was held in the Fleece Inn, on High Row, on January 8, 1868. “Mr Fry,” said the D&S, “delivered a very useful and interesting address to the men, alluding to the fortunate fact that no accident had happened during the progress of the work.”

The dinner didn’t speed construction up as even on July 29, 1868, when John died, aged 71, at Cleveland Lodge in Great Ayton, Elm Ridge was still not complete.

It really only became a home when Mary Anna married banker Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin in 1873. They had four sons and a daughter and lived extremely pious lives – in 1901 they went as missionaries to Syria. Upon their deaths, Elm Ridge became a Methodist church, as it is today.

Woodburn hasn’t survived. It was demolished in 1935 and substantial homes in Woodburn Drive were built on its site – each of them having a piece of the mansion’s decorative stonework incorporated into their design.