The railway station bridge at one time was just a wooden structure and when the brewers’ steam engine brought six trailers of supply beer they could only be brought up the station bank one at a time. This was a day of rejoicing for young and old, for by standing on the bridge tingling vibrations were experienced when the load passed over.
In the days of yore everybody knew everybody else as well as everybody’s business. Hartlepool ‘fish wives’ brought the village’s fish supply by train and had a little hut at the station for their stock. Their cries of “ony fish today” heralded their approach, pushing old prams full of fish. A tale was told of the tradesman who was rich enough to have a horse and cart, but alas one night he had drunk too well and fell asleep as he was driving home. Some jokers promptly took the horse out of the limbers and when the old man woke up he was heard to say “Well, if I’m Jack -I’ve lost a horse and if I’m
not, I’ve lost a cart. During the .first world war. an air raid shelter was made out of a long cave in the old quarry’ working at Old Wingate which was still a good steep walk from Deaf Hill. Special Constables were informed of warnings by the “Caller up,” and so other people heard the news and were able to seek shelter. Yes, times have changed and even air raids move much quicker.
When the German Zepplin was brought down at Hartlepool by the bravery of a Thornley searchlight attendant, many people were sure the burning ship was just over Deaf Hill.
For years the local Chemist Was T. L. Scott, Esq., and people from far and near travelled for his advice and treated him as their doctor. He was also the local tooth extractor. Leather Watson, a boot and shoe man, was another highly esteemed man, for he made and sold a very good rubbing bottle.
John Edwards, a Grange man, and fruiterer by trade, was the first to introduce bananas into Trimdon at the turn of the century. People in those days had their fun, but wrong doers were very much looked down upon, and anyone breaking their matrimonial bonds was often drummed out of the village.
Trimdon is fortunate in being so close to the borders of Scotland that it can have two sides of the bread buttered by celebrating both Christmas and New Year. The turn of the year is a time of great ritual, many a Christmas Cake not being opened until the first foot comes over the threshold in a fresh year. Dark men are most popular as “first foots” for fair men and women would spell bad luck to the house, even if they carried the traditional gifts of coal, bread, or a coin. Perhaps this custom harks back to the time when the earliest inhabitants of our isle were dark, and the bringing in of gifts can be traced to the Roman superstition, when anything comes in on New Year’s Day, it will come in all the year round. This New Year custom is one that has not yet died out.
Funeral customs have disappeared perhaps because of the two world wars creating difficulty. At one time, the dead were laid out with great honour having white sheets over a clothes horse for a screen, which was trimmed with huge mauve satin ribbons. Bidders had wide mauve or white sashes draped over their shoulders, and they set off to knock at everybody’s door. When it was answered they said, “Mrs. So and So invites you to the funeral on Monday. Gather at 2, lift at 3.” On the day of the funeral six chairs would be placed outside the door, the coffin put on top and everybody would sing hymns over it in the street. The bearers being fortified, they all walked in procession (wearing deep mourning) to the place of worship and thence to the Churchyard which was often Kelloe, a few miles distant.