Edward VII died in 1910, so the first bunting I would see, and which I remember, would be 1911 to celebrate the crowning of the new king, George V. I was 3, born 11th. October, 1908 on a Sunday so my mother said. She was 46 and so was my father; Ellen, very rarely Nelly, Mather, never Matthew. I had 3 brothers, Jim 21, Stanley 16 and Tom 9. As was the custom, I was named after the 2 grandmothers, Isabella, father's mother and Alice, mother's mother. As a child, I was called Bell-Alice which I hated and which I changed to Isabel when in my teens. My two eldest brothers never lived at home with me because they had gone elsewhere to work, Jim at Newcastle and Stan to play football at Bradford, Greenock Morton and Newcastle.
My father collected rates and twice a year he had to go to Durham Court to get the 'Rate Books' signed by the magistrates, I imagine. We had a pony called Minny and a very nice trap so my father went to Durham by pony and trap, not only to court, but to Bailes's to get the books etc. needed for his job. That is where I must have been, when 3, and saw the bunting at Shincliffe, but not at Kelloe where I lived. That is my very earliest recollection of anything.
The pit was called East Hetton Colliery and was a mile away from the village, so we were away from pit noise and smell. The area is not flat, not hilly but sloping. Kelloe faced north and there was a slope to climb up or run down. It was a village built last century when the mine was sunk, 1850. It was built for the miners who lived in cottages or houses made of lime and stone, mostly. There were few brick houses in the streets. Only the main road had a proper surface. The rest of the paths were 'undeveloped' and so very rough. We lived in Green Street in a house that had been raised with bricks so it must have been mud, stone and lime before that. Water was laid on in my childhood and so was electricity.
My mother's parents, James and Alice Scott, had a grocery shop, and I remember the currents, sultanas and raisins being 'washed'. All the weighing machines were different and those made of brass were cleaned each week as all brass was. I cannot remember paper bags, but I can see my grandfather folding paper perfectly over butter and cheese, which was always ‘cut', lard etc. Some goods were tins and very nice ones too. Most bags were blue.
The house and shop seemed big to me. When 6 or 7 they both died. My mother had a brother, uncle Jos (eph) and a widowed sister Margaret Jane who lived near the shop in a miner's cottage and who had had a big family. I can member a fuss about a 'will', meaningless to me of course. My mother used to go to see her parents about 4.00 p.m. every Sunday afternoon, and one day she looked through the window, through the "shield" (brass curtain) and saw her parents and my aunt making a will. She came home very upset and told my father who, with the village headmaster, was an executor of a will already made. When my grandparents died, some months later, there had been new a will made, but incorrectly, so there was a great fuss. Father went to see Ferance a solicitor.in Durham and my aunt should have got nothing because her name was wrong, but my mother and her brother swore they knew her! Each grandchild got £50.00. I was the youngest. I still have some silver etc. that my mother bought when everything had to be sold and bought because of the muddle of the second will.