MIDNIGHT! You hear the sound of something being pushed through your letter flap. It’s a small white card. When you examine it, you discover that it is an invitation to “an event”– precise nature unspecified – at some future date.

If you wished to attend, you have to write to the sender indicating how many of you wish to turn up.

It’s no good trying to work out who it came from because the card is from an accommodation address. And when you’re invited to meet this anonymous person to collect and pay for your tickets, even if you don’t know what exactly it is you’re paying for, would you go?

Back in the late Forties and early Fifties, quite a few West Cumbrians turned up at such an event, buying their tickets from a caped and masked individual, known only as “The Man in Black”. The events usually turned out to be dinner dances held in a variety of hotels in our area. A good time was had by all!

I have mentioned “The Man in Black” before. I don’t know who he was. I have asked if anyone does but with no result. So, for the last time of asking, do you know who this masked man was?

This is just one of the many questions I have asked over the years. The one great source of local history is the general public, and it is a great shame that much of what they know is never recorded anywhere.

Have you got a Swastika Thanks Badge stored away in your house? Mrs Westnidge (née Miss A Davies) most certainly had one in her house in Berry Street, Workington. She was awarded it for her efforts in supporting the work of the Marsh & Quay Company of the Boys’ Brigade. Did the awarding of this badge fall out of favour in later years – for obvious reasons? It had nothing to do with any German political movement.

I understand that it was a badge of fellowship among Scouts all over the world. Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout Movement, claimed that if a Scout met anyone wearing this badge, “it is their duty to go up to such a person, make the Scout sign and ask it they can be of any service to the wearer”. This was back in 1921. And here, never having been a Scout, I must confess that I didn’t know what the “Scout sign” is. I think one of my neighbours is a Scout – I must ask him!

Have you got a small badge bearing the image of a comet with a tail of gold? I understand this would be a Bright Sparks badge. This organisation was formed locally in October 1939, at a preliminary meeting held in Archer’s Café. It was decided that the name of the organisation would be Workington Bright Sparks Social Club. Does anyone know when this local organisation ceased to exist? Were you ever a member?

One of the downsides of the closure of our major industrial complexes is the disappearance of the many and varied organisations and sporting sides which their workers belonged to. I know that the Steelworks ran an excellent Rugby Union side, as well as many other sporting groups.

I came across a press cutting, from November 1979, about the British Steel Volleyball Club. They played in the National League Division 2. Volleyball is a game I know absolutely nothing about. Somewhere at the back of my mind I seem to recollect that the then organiser of Workington Sports Centre had tried to create local interest in the sport – with rather limited success. Unless, of course, you know any different. So did the members of this team join any other local Volleyball club?

Back in 1940, the Seaton Miners’ Welfare held a Field Day. One of the events of that day puzzles me – “Duck Herding.” Were the ducks being used as substitutes for sheep? I assume that the herding was done by a dog. Anyone know?

As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to local history, there will always be more questions than answers!