AMONG the photos that George Barker will be showing in his Bygone Northallerton presentation next Thursday – March 8 – is this startling one of the Central Cinema at the north end of the High Street.

It was opened in December 1920, it had one screen and about 400 seats, and it closed in 1962 and was demolished to make way for the access into the Applegarth car park.

In the golden age of the silver screen, Northallerton had two other cinemas: Cinema de Luxe behind the post office in Romanby Road (1913 to the late 1950s), and the rounded Lyric in the High Street (1939 to 1995, and now a Baptist church).

Which brings us back to a marvellous picture that we published at Christmas, showing the Northallerton Rialto Mandolin Band of 1906. It was sent in by Tony Marshall in Darlington, as it shows his great aunt, Mabel Hallimond, in the darker hat, second from the right, in the middle row.

Sheila Oldfield recognised Mabel as her grandmother.

“She met her husband, Robert, during the First World War as she was a Red Cross nurse and he came back wounded from Ypres,” she says, “and they married in November 1917.”

They lived on the green at Ainderby Steeple.

But we’re still no closer to understanding what the Rialto Mandolin Band was. The picture was taken in the golden age of mandolin, from the late 1890s to the First World War, when the instrument was extremely fashionable and popular. The dawning of the jazz age killed it off.

So if you can tell us any more about the Northallerton band or the Northallerton Rialto, we’d love to hear from you. Please email

George’s show of Northallerton images starts at 7.30pm in Brompton Methodist Church Hall, with tickets £4 in aid of the hall’s kitchen refurbishment fund.

“I WAS only ten at the time, and was having lunch when we heard the explosion as the plane blew up over Stokesley Road,” says Bill Walters of the events of July 27, 1941. “I dashed outside and saw it falling out of the sky.

“I got to the scene within ten minutes – there were quite a few people running to the site and you could see the smoke rising. It was about 50 yards inside the field from the road, and the fire brigade was already there.”

It was a Spitfire piloted by Sgt Stephen Vavasour-Durrell, 24, who was stationed at Catterick. As he finished an aerobatic manoeuvre over Northallerton, his plane disintegrated, and he crashed in the triangle of land behind the petrol station where the A684 Stokesley Road meets the Brompton lane.

A fortnight ago, we asked whether there had ever been a memorial placed beside the road.

“There were quite a few plane crashes around here,” says Bill, “but no memorials.”