THE RAFF YARD
The new generation will never know the memories conjured up by once familiar names such as Coffee Pot Street when John Michael Walker had a huge coffee pot as a hanging sign. At Coffee Pot School the scholars paid 4d per week. In the Raff Yard there were houses which were entered by climbing a ladder and others which had their windows touching the ground with only one entrance. Some of these people carried water a great distance from trickling streams nearer to Old Trimdon and so they used large hoops or squaregoths to enable them to carry two buckets more easily, from 4 a.m. Carts sold it 1/2d per bucket.
The main entertainment in olden days was the fights that ensued after a pay Friday when revellers spent too much, and not wisely. Pay day was once a fortnight, the other Friday being known as baff or commonly bath night.
The railway station bridge at one time was just a wooden structure and when the brewers’ steam engine brought six trailers of supply beer they could only be brought up the station bank one at a time. This was a day of rejoicing for young and old for by standing on the bridge tingling vibrations were experienced when the load passed over.
Hartlepool ‘fish wives’ brought the village’s fish supply by train and had a little hut at the station for their stock. Their cries of ‘ony fish today’ heralded their approach, pushing old prams full of fish. During the first world war an air raid shelter was made out of a long cave in the old quarry working at Old Wingate which was still a good steep walk from Deaf Hill.
Special Constables were informed of warnings by the ‘Caller up’, and so other people heard the news and were able to seek shelter. When the German Zeppelin was brought down at Hartlepool by the bravery of a Thornley searchlight attendant, many people were sure the burning ship was just over Deaf Hill.
People in those days had their fun, but wrong doers were very much looked down upon and anyone breaking matrimonial bonds was often drummed out of the village.
BURIED WITH HAM
At one time, the dead were laid out with great honour having white sheets over a clothes horse for a screen, which was trimmed with huge mauve satin ribbons. Bidders had wide mauve or white sashes draped over their shoulders, and they set off to knock at everybody’s door. When it was answered they said, ‘Mrs. So and So invites you to the funeral on Monday. Gather at 2, lift at 3.’ On the day of the funeral six chairs would be placed outside the door, the coffin put on top and everybody would sing hymns over it in the street. They all walked in procession (wearing deep mourning) to the place of worship and thence to the Churchyard which was often Kelloe, a few miles distant. Everybody returned to the house for a farewell feast of ham, and pease pudding. It was a disgrace if you could not be buried with ham.