Exhibition highlights the dale’s royal links
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
DALES folk and their relationship with royalty through the years will be the focus of an exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee which opened at the Fitzhugh Library, in Middleton-in-Teesdale, this week.
The exhibition celebrates the strong links between Teesdale and the royal family, both in recent times and the distant past with photographs and newspaper clippings spanning 156 years.
Kath Maddison, from the Fitzhugh Library, said: “We wanted to make the exhibition relevant to the dale and so it explores the relationship of the royals who have come to Teesdale and local people.”
Alongside newspaper clippings about the various royal visits, including the late Queen Mother, cousin to the 14th Earl of Strathmore, and the Prince of Wales, there are also previously unseen photographs commemorating various events including some of the Queen’s earlier jubilees, and those of her predecessors.
Elijah Yeoman photographs and those of David Sinclair, who was based in Middleton-in-Teesdale and used to photograph royalty, selling postcards of his images, provide a unique record of Teesdale life during the late Edwardian period and early years of George V’s reign.
Ms Maddison, who has sifted through hundreds of boxes of archives, selecting material to go on display, added: “We have made a scrapbook of Prince Charles’ time here in Teesdale and all the visits he has made to the dale and the support he has given to Utass.”
One of the earliest photographs shows the Queen’s great grandfather, King Edward VII, in 1866 – then the Prince of Wales – in a horse-drawn omnibus as he passed through Middleton-in-Teesdale on his way from Lartington Station to High Force.
A commemorative photograph of Cotherstone and Lartington residents, who celebrated Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, is sure to draw a lot of attention and is on display alongside a copy of the original activities programme.
Ms Maddison said: “We found the photograph then when we were tootling about in lockdown, we found the programme.
“There are lots of things that haven’t made it into the exhibition. Princess Margaret’s visit, for example, has gone by the wayside.”
Front and centre in the exhibition though is a newspaper clipping charting the proud day for many who travelled to London in 1980 for the Queen’s garden party.
Some items on display in the exhibition have come from the collection donated by Barnard Castle and District History Group, which ceased operating this year.
The exhibition will be on display throughout the summer and is available to see every Monday and Tuesday between 10.30am and 2.30pm.