As in all colliery villages, a man was employed to awaken the miners for early shifts. The duty was to travel along the streets in the early hours and often complete darkness, peering at chalk marks on the doors, indications of the time at which the occupant had to be called. The duties of the “Caller” also included that of “Street Crier.” This latter job was primarily concerned with informing the miners of meetings to be held or closure of the pit the following day.
The founding of the Labour Party, especially the Women’s Section, brought new interests into the lives of the village women, some later serving on the local Parish Council. From these women the voluntary committees of the Child Welfare Centre were formed.
The beginning of the century was the time of the handy women, who was prepared to give assistance at times of birth or death. One such woman was Mrs. Lawson, assisted by her neighbour Mrs. Grieves.
Mr. Ebenezer Carr, the schoolmaster for two generations was a fine, jovial man, keen on outdoor sports.
He lost an eye when shooting on the moors near his home at the old colliery. He was very patriotic. One Empire Day the teachers and older scholars stood around the flag in his garden repeating words of allegiance to crown and country including “Flag of our Empire, we salute thee.” Mr. Carr, staff and scholars were moved into the new school in 1912. Thirty years later this building was to be almost completely demolished by a German bomb.
The wing remaining is now used as an Infants’ School with Miss H. Gill as Head Teacher.
Part of the demolished school was rebuilt after the war to provide a Central Kitchen for school meals organisation. In turn the Kitchen is now closed and the property converted into a Youth and Social Service Centre under the direction of the County Council.
South Wingate, otherwise known as Hartbushes, is approximately two miles from Wingate. Formerly it was a rather isolated village, comprising two terraces of sub-standard dwellings, but with a most healthy environment. The air was considered ideal for persons suffering from chest complaints, whooping cough, etc.
The dwellings have now disappeared, the occupants having been moved to Station Town under a Clearance Order of 1936. They are now living in “Newholme” Estate but over the years many have persisted in returning to a lonely shop in Hartbushes to purchase their groceries. The shop is kept by a Miss Nichol, who inherited it from her family. They appear to have been in business for almost a century.
The policeman’s house contained two cells where he could lock up an offender for the night.
The village also prided itself on the communal mangle where clothes could be pressed for a few pence, and all the local gossip exchanged.
Religious services were held in the cottages.
Interruptions caused by straying fowls were not unusual. Such was life in the outpost of Hartbushes.