Kiko was a monkey who lived in a North Yorkshire pub in the 1950s. She would give anyone who bought her a dry ginger a kiss – complete with tongues.

Kiko’s story begins when Doris Fishburn, who ran the Standard Inn in Northallerton with her husband Humphrey, went by train to London with her sister, Sylvia, to visit their parents for a week.

But outside the big city station – presumably King’s Cross – she spotted a man making money with Kiko doing tricks for passers-by.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Google STreetView

The Standard Inn, Northallerton, on the left. Picture: Google StreetView

“Doris was a huge animal lover and offered him all the money she and Sylvia had on them and he accepted,” says Doris’ niece, Beryl Hankin who runs the Guru boutique in Darlington. “She brought Kiko back to Northallerton with her on the next available train as all her money was gone and all she had left was her return ticket.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Kiko the monkey who lived in the Standard Inn, Northallerton

Kiko (above, with the pub cat) was a capuchin monkey – the sort of monkey that traditionally accompanied an organ grinder – from the tropical forests of central and south America.

“Kiko became a big attraction in the pub as people would buy her a drink of dry ginger in exchange for a kiss,” says Beryl.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Kiko the monkey who lived in the Standard Inn, Northallerton

“Kiko used to run around the pub tethered on a long chain, flinging her arms around people’s necks in the hope of getting a treat.

“I was only a small child at the time but I remember being terrified of Kiko because she would launch herself at me, throw her arms around my neck and give me a kiss.

“What was so scary about this was that not only did she kiss me but she usually stuck her tongue in my mouth at the same time too.”

Indeed, Kiko was so excited by a kiss that she might widdle a little bit as well.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Guru jumble sale to raise money for Ukraine, pictured owner Beryl Hankin and Darlington Mayor Cyndi Hughes Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT.

Berykl Hankin with the Darlington mayor, Cyndi Hughes

But Aunty Doris loved her. “Looking back, I think she saw Kiko as some sort of comfort and even a child substitute, as she didn’t have children of her own,” says Beryl. “Kiko who was spoilt rotten and lived to a ripe old age.”

Kiko is the latest in our extraordinary series of monkeys living in strange places. After the Second World War, they were not unusual as pets in the Durham coalfield – we’ve found them in houses in Wingate, Bishop Auckland and Shildon (Herbert the monkey, you will remember, broke into the co-op slaughterhouse next to his home in Shildon and was seen riding on the back of a sheep).

We’ve found them living in pubs: Pico the monkey was in the Queen’s Head in Gainford, there was another in the Holly Hill Inn in Richmond, and, of course, there was Jacko the gelada monkey who started in the Bay Horse at Middleton Tyas before moving to a haulage depot in Barton, behind the Half Moon, from where she ran riot, breaking into houses and biting inquisitive boys.

And, further back, the nobility kept them as pets. In Hoppyland Castle, near Wolsingham, there is still a stone marking the grave of Jacky the monkey who died in 1846, and then there were a couple of monkeys kept by a medieval bishop of Durham in Auckland Castle…