Along with a single cracked and muddy football boot and a matchbox complete with cigarette ends, the team from Willmott Dixon have uncovered several bundles of old paperwork relating to Darlington Hippodrome, some if not most or all of it dating from the mid-1920s.  The papers - invoices and receipts - detail transactions between the Hippodrome and suppliers of electricity, drinks, maintenance, and confectionery.

The name which appears most frequently is Di Duca’s, recorded variously of being of Priestgate and of Parkgate, who supplied confectionery to the theatre from Cadbury's, Rowntree’s, Terry’s, Chocolat Tobler (now Toblerone), J J Fry & Sons, and Mackintosh’s, as well as companies which are less well-know these days, such as L. Wright & Son Ltd Biscuit & Cake Manufacturers of South Shields and biscuit manufacturers Peek Frean and Huntley & Palmers. It seems Messrs Di Duca & Sons also had some confectionery wrappers printed at the much-missed W M Dresser & Sons of High Row, which closed early this century.

Do you remember a shop called Di Duca’s, or know someone who does? Where was it? When did it close? What are your memories of the shop? Let us know by emailing

The newly-discovered items will be catalogued as part of the Hippodrome’s archival project, the first phase of which will commence work in February. A team of trained volunteers from The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies will start to record the Hippodrome’s vast collection of programmes and hopefully more exciting finds from the site.