Penny for your thoughts on Hartlepool’s coin-operated trolleys

Angela Nellis and the friendly budgie.
Angela Nellis and the friendly budgie.

More than 30 years ago, Hartlepool welcomed a new addition to the shopping world which remains with us to this day.

The first coin-operated shopping trolley was introduced at the Hintons store in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and it was greeted at the time with huge enthusiasm.

Trying out the new trolley system.

Trying out the new trolley system.

It had almost wiped out the problem overnight of trolleys going missing.

Before the previous Christmas, 40 of the Hintons fleet of 60 trollies had disappeared. And as the Hartlepool Mail reported at the time: “Many of the survivors weren’t exactly in peak condition.”

But then came the introduction of trolleys where customers had to pay ten pence to use them.

Our report at the time said: “Since they were introduced at the beginning of last month, these shining knights of the shopping aisles have done their bit towards keeping Hartlepool tidy.

Since they were introduced at the beginning of last month, these shining knights of the shopping aisles have done their bit towards keeping Hartlepool tidy

Hartlepool Mail reporter, 1985

“Only one trolley has gone astray – lost without trace – and that’s a vast improvement on previous weeks.”

Hintons said that 95 per cent of their customers were happy with the new system.

Hintons regional director Geoffrey Hewitt said in 1985: “We are trying out the trollies for a three-month period but I’m sure they will stay.

“If all goes well, we will introduce them into our other stores in the area.”

In other news at the time, Supergran dropped into Hartlepool Borough Hall where more than 1,000 children came along to meet her.

Gudrun Ure, the actress behind the popular character, said at the time: “The children of Hartlepool have been really marvellous.”

The youngsters were there for a disco with Supergran-themed prizes.

Another visitor to the town was of the feathered variety and was a very welcome visitor at Stranton Primary School.

Children were playing in the yard when a stray budgie landed, and started flying from the shoulder of one child to another.

They took the stray in for safe keeping and depity head teacher Carol Robertson said: “The kids have been very excited. They were out in the yard playing rounders and the little turguoise bird was watching us.

“It flew down and went from shoulder to shoulder. It was in a terrible state. It was dirty and dishevelled but we have looked after it.

Mrs Robertson added: “He is a lovely bird and we will be sorry to let him go but obviously he is someone’s pet.”

Do you remember these stories or do you have other favourites from 1985 of your own?

Get in touch and tell us more.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk