There were seven public houses, each one at the end of a street or in the middle. The seven streets were shaped like a shovel with the New Row houses as the handle. There was a row of houses at the top near the Primitive Methodist Chapel and it was joined to the street going down. At the bottom was another row facing the street but not joined. On the east side was the main road into the village and there was a public house here and Mrs. Butler's very nice house and shop. We bought our sweets at the shop on the way to school which was on the main road too, and just below. I liked Fry's chocolate better than Cadbury's which was too sweet. Five Boys' chocolate with the picture of five boys was lovely. There were all kinds of sweets in bottles, jars and boxes and all had to be weighed. One half-penny was spent on the way to school. To get one penny was a fortune. A teacher, Miss Weir, Scottish, gave me a penny and it was still in the house, wrapped up well, when my, mother died in 1937.
My father had a very, very big book with good binding and this was the book he kept for the 'Box'. Every fourth Monday he went to the pub, the first one in the village, to get payments from the women for a sort of insurance. Last century there was little "death money" from insurance companies so many friendly societies were started locally and the 'Box' was the Kelloe one. Apparently, my father's uncle who had a drapery shop opposite the pub, started this one and when he died my father got the job since he I been brought up by the Hope family. When my father died my brother Tom had to take on the job. By then, all such friendly societies were government controlled. I remember £2.00 was given for the death of a child and £5.00 the death of a husband.
The managers of the public houses were really very much respected. To a child they seemed to be important men or women. Mrs. Arnold ran her house with perfection, very clean because of all the scrubbing that went on. She had much help as had all the others, and they all worked hard. Glasses were held up after being washed and dried. Mrs. Jennie Arnold's house was our nearest and I would be sent there for change. She often had money, and a lot, under the carpet. She sent her niece to a private school, and Violet indeed became a lady! (She was with me when I broke the umbrella). She had no 'common' friends in the village. Only the colliery manager's children were for her. Lamb's owned some of the pubs and so did a Newcastle brewery. Men drank a lot of beer so we were used to seeing beautiful horses and wagons bringing the great barrels of beer to the cellars of the pubs. The great well-made casks drifted clown the cellar steps. Looking after this beer was how a manager was judged. Mrs. Arnold was an expert, I have heard it said. There were only four shops, my grandfather Hope's, my uncle's (really a cousin of my father) big grocery shop, the post office, clothes, toys and some groceries. The owners along with the publicans were the elite of the village for we were all one class. We had few teachers, no collierv officials, ministers of the Churches etc. of any number in the village. The only teaching family were the Kirkpatricks. My father would have loved to have been ln business, but how could he with his relatives there? Anyhow, he made wills and wrote letters for other people, served at Chapel and at court, collected rates and rents etc. He loved to play the organ, harmonium and piano at home and at Chapel. He obviously could read music because he could sing all the new tunes we got each year for the Chapel anniversary.