I remember being told by my grandmother that when she came to Trimdon as a bride in 1830, she was astounded that there was not even an individual toilet in their street, Railway Row, and her husband had to build one in order to keep his wife.
The regular plan of every kitchen was a square eating table with an oilcloth cover under the window plus a wooden form for seating, and a round table in the centre. On this table there was a plush cover with the family bible in the centre surmounted by a globe of wax fruits. The big press in the corner was covered with a white crochet edged cloth and portraits in gilt frames were displayed everywhere. The now fashionable china dogs and two large ornaments and brass candlesticks adorned the mantle, a brass line ran underneath for drying clothes and the rest was enlivened by a high steel fender and massive fire irons. Pokers had to be long in those days, for fireplaces were deep set and often took five buckets of coals. A cracket always stood near the fire and a rocking chair. Fridays were nightmare days when all brass and steel had to be cleaned and placed on the round table until the Saturday. To ensure the man of the house drawing a good cavil with his two marrers, the fire furniture was turned upside down and the cat put in the oven to sleep. Conditions may now seem queer to us, but what kindliness there always existed then. Everybody aimed to make a new hooky or prodded mat for Christmas and special neighbours all went to help each other with work and clippings. When all was done, and the mat was got out, a huge pan of toffee was put on to boil for celebrations. No passing the time by watching Television or attending Housey sessions for those good happy folk. Hard, but happy work was their rule.
Water had to be carried from a communal tap in the street, and only 70 years ago the women went with their buckets to get steam water from the pit for their weekly wash. This was done by tub and poss stick, double possing being done by two people who kept the rhythm going. Tubs were always kept under everybody’s spout to catch all the water, and the Teddy boys of those days were very naughty when they turned the tubs upside down on New Year’s Eve.
The new generation will never know the memories conjured up by once familiar names such as Coffee Pot Street when John Michael Walker had a huge coffee pot as a hanging sign. Coffee Pot School was once the only school, the scholars paying 4d per week, but there was also a dame’s school. In the Raff Yard there were houses which were entered by climbing a ladder and others which had their windows touching the ground with only one entrance. Some of these people carried water a great distance from trickling streams nearer to Old Trimdon and so they used large hoops or squaregoths to enable them to carry two buckets more easily, from 4 a.m. Carts sold it 1/2d per bucket. Tank Street was named after a big tank kept there for drawing water.
Byers Field the region near the new road, opened about 40 years ago, was once the place of cow byres. The foundry was so named because of a forge once being there previous to its transfer to Spennymoor.
The main entertainment in olden days was the fights that ensued after a pay Friday when revellers spent too much, and not wisely. Pay day was once a fortnight, the other Friday being known as baff or commonly bath night, Penny Gaff nights were held in tents, and other entertainment’s apart from magic lanterns were held in the Jubilee Temperance Hall built 1897. This hall is now part of the Co-operative Store. Many well known actors and actresses were once seen gracing our village stages and received their audience training here.