Harking back to the halfpenny and remembering Slix at the Red Lion

Maureen Brown from the National and Provincial Building Society in Hartlepool, with an old halfpenny.
Maureen Brown from the National and Provincial Building Society in Hartlepool, with an old halfpenny.

Penny for your thoughts? Well, a halfpenny at least as we head back to 1984.

It was the year when the old coin met its demise and it was not exactly missed among the people of Hartlepool.

The North East BMX championships in Hartlepool in 1984.

The North East BMX championships in Hartlepool in 1984.

Most who were interviewed in a Hartlepool Mail survey said it was a “nuisance” that they no longer wanted to have in their pocket.

And one stallholder at the Hartlepool market said he even threw them away.

Fruit stall trader Christine Dunn said in 1984 said the halfpenny was often dropped off the price of fruit and described the coinage as “nothing but a nuisance.”

She described the news that the coin was on the way out as “about time.”

It is very unusual for a dog of this age to be still winning championships because generally a show career is finished at the age of four

Fred Gent

By the time of its demise, it had been in circulation for an estimated 704 years, according to Hartlepool Mail reports at the time.

But there was at least one place in town where halfpennies were still welcome in 1984. The York Road branch of the National and Provincial Building Society was taking them in so they could donate them to charity.

The money was set to go to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children while Abbey National, also in York Road, was handing them over to Help for the Aged.

It was goodbye to the halfpenny and hello to BMX riding in the town as the BMX North East Area Championships were held.

Did you take part and how did you do? Get in touch and tell us more.

There were plenty of BMX champions and others were making the winners headlines in the same year.

Robert Shaw from Hartlepool came equal first in a Redcar chess championships and qualified for the British championships which were to be held in Brighton that August.

Who can tell us more about Robert’s fortunes?

And Hartlepool was just as proud in 1984 about one man and his dog.

Namely Fred Gent, of Stockton Road and his champion canine Avilas Lucky Lad of Foggy Furze who won the Blue Bedlington Terrier class at Crufts for the third year running.

It was a record for the breed and Fred said at the time: “It is very unusual for a dog of this age to be still winning championships because generally a show career is finished at the age of four.”

Fred’s dog, known as Jeff for short, was eight at the time of his third win.

To jog your memory on Hartlepool matters from 84, Slix nightclub was going strong at the Red Lion at Dalton Piercy and Andy’s Starlight Disco was doing great guns at the Woodcutter. There was disco dancing at The Queen every Thursday.

But what are your memories of the town at the time? Get in touch and tell us more.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk