The local branch of the Women’s Institute was formed in 1926. The president today is Mrs. Ramsey Glass with Mrs. Wearmouth as Secretary. Many of the founder-members are still active in this movement.
The Child Welfare Centre was first inaugurated in 1925. The first Medlical Officer was Dr. William Grant of Easington, later to become Medical Officer for the Rural District. The first Secretary was Mrs. Armstrong, wife of the Co-operative Secretary, and members of the committee included Mrs. Grieves, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Churlish and Mrs. Laidlow. The two lastnamed ladies still assist in the organisation. The present Health Visitor is Miss G. Stobbart of West Hartlepool.
As in other places, the habits of the women have changed. Whereas once they were content to remain at home on marriage, they now often take a job, and there is a Nursery School provided for the children aged 2 – 5 years.
Almost all baby clothes and bed linen used to be made at home and many had their home-made quilts as evidence of this industry. Mrs. Sarah Ann Hays, aged eighty-two years, is still engaged in this occupation.
With the passing of time and changing tastes these quilts are now made of silk rather than the old-fashioned sateen.
Three gentlemen who must not be omitted from this history of Wingate are the family Doctors Gordon Russell, James Arthur and his brother Willy. These good men formed an important part of the village life and engaged in most of its activities. The eldest son of Dr Russell is now one of the local Practitioners, father and son having given fifty years service as Police Surgeons. Dr. Russell Jnr. is engaged in partnership with Dr. Barrow-Williams but the practice now extends to other villages. The other G.P’s. are Drs. Jackson, Stanners and Bissett. Dr. Jackson has a long connection with Wingate, being in partnership with Dr. Cooks of West Hartlepool for many years in a consultative capacity.
Family businesses in Wingate are now disappearing, being replaced by the impersonal multiple shops to be found throughout the North-East. Among the traditional firms which have vanished are the tailors John and Thomas Richardson, the butchers Thomas Watson and Sons, the chemist John Thomas Cross, the grocer Emanuel Cross and the barber Frank Sawdon.
The firm of Ralph Harrison, grocer and wine-merchant, has given good service in the village for almost a 100 years and continues to this day in the same premises.
The Tonks family has also been in business for almost a century, having specialised in Undertaking and Ironmongery. The brothers now include Haulage Contracting and Own a large fleet of modern vehicles.
The Postmaster is Mr. Harold Forster, having succeeded his father and grandfather in his business.
To maintain law and order the village has a Police Station and a terrace of Police Houses to the north of the village known as Burdon Crescent. In the young days of Peter Lee the village was controlled by one officer only, a brave gentleman by the name of Sgt. Brown.
Even the children’s play appears to have changed with the times; they no longer spin tops or do skipping games. Formerly the girls were very fond of singing games, the favourites being “Queen Mary, Queen Mary, my age is sixteen,” “Poor Mary sat aweeping on a fine Summer’s day,” “Fair Rosa was a charming maid” and “Here we go round the Mulberry Bush.”