HARTLEPOOL in the early 1900s is commonly thought to have been a typically grimy Northern town.
But the truth was very different during the years which led up to the darkest day in its history - the Bombardment of 1914.
Hartlepool was a town which was known for paying good wages in the shipyards such as Grays, Irvines and Richardsons.
And back then, the shipyards covered all of the area now occupied by Hartlepool Marina and as far across to the Heaven and Earth roundabout.
Life in the town, and how it was affected by the Bombardment, is illustrated in a new six-month exhibition which has just been launched at the Museum of Hartlepool.
It includes the most famous depiction of the event which is the painting called The Bombardment of the Hartlepools by James Clark.
Also on show are remnants of German shells, the uniform of a soldier from the Durham Light Infantry, and even an alarm clock on which time stopped forever when it was hit during the attack.
Medals, badges and a military bugle also add to the exhibition which is called Voices of the Bombardment.
Hartlepool’s museums manager Mark Simmons told the Hartlepool Mail more about life in Hartlepool during the early 1900s.
A clerk could earn four shillings a day or £1 a week. A £1 of 1900s money had the buying power of £40 today.
This was a prosperous place to be unless you had fallen into the lowest class of all, said Mark.
Then, life was tough and it was never more typified than by looking at the way of life in the town.
The poorest families could only afford a breakfast of black tea, sugar and lard. A class higher meant bread and marmalade.
Another rung higher, families were feeding on the recently introduced porridge, brought in by Scottish workers.
At the highest level, there was eggs, ham and bacon. Coffee was available but it was a “rich man’s drink,” said Mr Simmons.
Tinned food was around but most working people thought it a waste of time.
There were other differences to the Hartlepool of today.
Hartlepool was lit by street gas. Electricity was arriving but the price of rewiring your house was high.
Most properties still had outside toilets.
Photographs of town houses which were shelled during the Bombardment make up part of the new exhibition.
The exhibition runs until March 15 next year at the museum in Maritime Avenue which is part of the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience,
The display is part of the Tees Valley Remembering Our War project. Other exhibitions with a war theme are on the way at the Central Library in York Road, during November and December.
For more details on Voices of the Bombardment, contact the museum on (01429) 860077.