Apple reseller Stormfront’s Durham store

Not only is Apple the world’s most valuable company by market capitalisation, but it’s also one of the companies that attracts the strongest loyalty in customers. If you own Apple devices already, you might be excited about buying some others that have recently hit the market – like the PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, updated 9.7-inch iPad and power-packed iMac Pro.

If you fancy giving any of these devices a test run, you don’t necessarily have to journey to one of Apple’s own retail stores in Newcastle’s Eldon Square or Gateshead’s Metrocentre to do so. Durham’s Silver Street is home to a store of one of Apple’s premium resellers, the national retail chain Stormfront. This store offers many of the same benefits as an official Apple bricks-and-mortar outlet…

For example, you can experiment with a range of demonstration units of recently-released Apple gadgets. Employees at the store can give you specialist advice about these products – and if you have previously bought an Apple device that has broken but remains eligible for repair under warranty, Stormfront is authorised to carry out such repair for you.

Especially excitingly, when you purchase a new Apple device here, Stormfront will provide a three-year guarantee with it. That’s two years longer than the standard warranty provided by Apple; hence, you’ve got an extra-special reason to source your Apple supplies from this place rather than one of Apple’s own stores slightly further up north. We can already hear you cry: “iLove it!”

Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington

You would expect an educational institution named after Tudor monarch Queen Elizabeth I to have a history going back centuries – and indeed, this particular college does. Well, to an extent. As a sixth form college, QE – as this establishment is commonly called – wasn’t founded until 1970. However, before this milestone, it was a boys’ school known as Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.

In June 1563, Queen Elizabeth I granted the Royal Charter for the school’s formation. James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham and Henry Neville, Earl of Westmorland were both instrumental in petitioning for this charter. Historical evidence suggests that, while a grammar school might have been attached to St Cuthbert’s Church since the early 13th century, it was both physically and financially beleaguered by the time Pilkington and Neville took the initiative with their petition.

Just over three centuries later, the school moved into its current building, an iconic structure designed by the esteemed architect George Gordon Hoskins, whose other works included the similarly Gothic-looking Middlesbrough Town Hall. The QE building, which can still be seen on Vane Terrace in Darlington, even includes a stone depiction of Elizabeth herself above the main entrance.

Today, QE has approximately 2,000 students in the 16 to 18 age bracket. The college’s academic reputation is stellar, while its alumni include Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham and Theo Hutchcraft of synthpop duo Hurts. We can’t help but think that the Faerie Queene herself would be impressed with how her namesake institution has flourished in the centuries since her reign.

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