Picking brambles and spring flowers

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I AM now 90 years old, with many fond memories of growing up in Coverdale Street, off Northgate.

We had heavy snow in winter. We had to dig through the snow pile to open the back door.

We made a snowman and made a huge snowball, and we slid down Union Street bank (the stripes) on trays and various items used as sledges.

There was mass unemployment so my mother, and many more, had a struggle to feed and clothe her family.

She received only means tested weekly payments when the men had used up all their employment stamps to claim dole money.

A much hated inspector visited people to check that they weren’t employed.

People had to sell their pianos, rugs or any valuable items.

Some resorted to the pawn shop, or uncle’s.

There was no child benefit.

The Co-op “divi” was a good payment which Co-op customers received – amount due on their “check purchases”.

Although we were really poor we had a happy, peaceful, more leisurely time. No violence or burglaries.

We played ball games, hop scotch, itchy bay, top and whip, skipping, etc, as we enjoyed long summers.

We walked “up the country” to Blackhall, picked brambles and wild spring flowers.

We played on the Fish Sands and walked to West over the swing bridges.

I detest the title “Headland” as Hartlepool was an ancient borough with its own mayor and councillors.

I still go to the annual carnival parade in August.

I am very proud to be a Hartlepool monkey hanger.

H Maguire,

Butterwick Road,

Hartlepool.