The Shorthouse Children (7)

When Charlotte Tattersall applied to the army for a separation allowance, she found that it was already being paid to another wife, hence the charges of bigamy. This allowance must have been paid to Ellen Mortimer (Kell) and would have provided her with some income between 1914 and 1918 when Mortimer was sentenced. Left on her own again, without means, and small children support, she fell back on her home business.

Ellen’s income came from the front room bakery and sweet shop on Commercial Street, she also scrubbed floors and took in laundry to make ends meet. It was also said that she had a liaison with Harry Baldwin and never paid rent. Harry was a bachelor and it was rumored that he was at one time going to marry Ellen but he called it off. When Harry Baldwin died in  1936 and Ellen was put out of the house, she moved with Ozzie and Tommy to live with daughter Jennie in Hartlepool.

The following articles include a reference to the shop:

Excerpt from History of Trimdon Colliery.   Shops. 

“Trimdon Colliery had quite a variety of shops. Some colliery housewives sold sweets and homemade ginger beer from their homes. Next to the Temperance Hall and the Primitive Chapel was Station Town Co-op, which could supply all needs from butchering, groceries, drapery, floor coverings etc. Past the station, down the bank, was Paul’s, the grocer and post office. The telephone number was just simply the number 1. A little further up the street was Sawyer’s, the printers. The actual printing was done in a shed in the back garden! Across the road was the bakers and sweet shop owned by the two Miss Robsons. Commercial travelers could stop here for a cup of tea and a snack behind the curtain, which divided the shop. At the end of the block was Temple the tailors. The next opening had Swan’s sweet shop and further up was Innes the grocer.

Traveling back to the colliery area, past Alex Purvis, we had Harry Baldwin’s the newsagent who later kept a supply of library books for hire for a few coppers a fortnight. Next was a kitchen sweet shop run by Nellie Kell, who also had a tea and sweet shop on Hart Sands. After that was Maughan’s the milliners. Next to the opening was Elliot’s the drapers run by mother and daughter, Olive, who was a dressmaker. Etc.” 

Excerpt from Peterlee Scene July 27th, 1984.” When Crimdon was Hart”. John Etherington

“As if by some prearranged signal each separate group settles down for a picnic. A queue forms at Ma Kell’s little green hut and steaming hot jugs of strong tea are passed out, a deposit of three pence being made.”

Kelly’s directory 1921, 1925, 1929

Mrs. Ellen Kell shopkeeper Trimdon Colliery.

A specialty of the shop were homemade Cornish Pasties, these were baked in a coal fireplace oven, several sheets at a time. They were timed to come out of the oven to coincide with the end of shifts at the mine.

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail June 24th 1930

William Woolnough (14) and Robert William Reay (15), two campers at Hart, who are recently bound over by Castle Eden Magistrates for a similar offence about the same time, were summoned at West Hartlepool County Sessions this morning for stealing sweets, biscuits, sugar, and mineral waters from a shop at Hart. These boys, and Robert Woolnough (18) admitted breaking into the shop, which was I wooden erection on Hart sands owned by Ellen Kell, of Front Street, Trimdon. They used a knife and a stick to pry some boards from the rear of the cabin, and filled five biscuit tins with the contents of the shop. These they buried in the sand banks at Hart. When P.C. Hill was questioning the boys in regard to another robbery, they showed him the hiding place and told him that they saw some other boys bury the things there. They were placed on probation for two years.

The shop in Trimdon that she opened around  about 1905, closed in 1936. The Hart teashop also closed about 1936; they were forced to move from beach area to the headland when the local Council changed to Easington District, it was a bad location, not profitable. The 1936, move from Trimdon to 11 South Road Hartlepool to live with daughter Jennie(a nurse) did not last long. Jennie married, moved to Nunthorpe and Ellen moved across the street to 14 South Rd with Ozzie and Tommy. Here she kept boarders until retirement age. Also had an arrangement with local bakers to make and decorate wedding cakes etc. (Very artistic designs with delicate lace work and roses).

Nephew Harry Robinson lodged with Grandma Kell during his early apprenticeship years, (very few buses from Trimdon during the war years). Nellie as she was called by the family had lots of family visitors and could entertain by playing jigs on her fiddle. She was an ardent card player and went often to Villiers Hall down the street for whist drives.

She lived in South Road for the rest of her life; her children and grandchildren would drop in to see her when in town. She looked after herself and lived in the kitchen area of the house, she got some assistance from her children. Shortly before her death, she moved to Nunthorpe to live with daughter Jennie. She died 5 November 1966 age 84 at Jennie’s house 5 Marton Moor Road Nunthorpe.


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