The pub with mystery garden gnomes and when Hartlepool struck lucky in bingo - nine town stories from 1998

Have you heard the one about the garden gnomes which turned up at a Hartlepool pub at opening time?

Monday, 11th April 2022, 3:15 pm

How about the story of the pub which opened up as a tribute to a store which had the best coffee aromas you could ever wish for?

Both stories, and all the others listed below, are true and they happened in Hartlepool in 1998.

Let’s take a look and see if we can jog your memory.

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Knights in Hartlepool.

l Drinkers got to step back in time when a new-look Hartlepool pub opened its doors. The East Durham-based Castle Eden Brewery took over the lease of what was once the family store John F Knights and renamed it Knights - in memory of the one-time store.

Do you remember the Hartlepool store which was known for its smell of freshly ground coffee – and did you love a visit to the pub?

l Easington had snow in summer in 1998 but it wasn’t a freak change in the North East weather - but the backdrop for a new £2million blockbuster movie being filmed in the region.

The Hollywood-backed film charts the story of a miner’s son Billy who quits boxing lessons for ballet in the midst of family turmoil, a huge chunk of the movie, which stars acclaimed actress Julie Walters.

The lake at Rossmere Park.

l Mountaineer Alan Hinkes tackled Hartlepool’s new rock climbing facility at the town’s £2.3million Summerhill Woodland Park, placed a flag at the summit, then told the watching crowds: “I think this is brilliant.”

l Hundreds of music lovers enjoyed a summer festival to showcase local talent.

The second Rozzfest, organised by local bands with support from the Friends of Rossmere Park, attracted a host of bands from the Hartlepool area on Saturday.

l The man taken on board to oversee HMS Trincomalee’s final stages of restoration was Bryn Hughes who was appointed as the project general manager.

A scene from Rozzfest.

l A former play leader turned sports injury specialist was preparing to get to grips with television’s Gladiators as part of her new career.

Recently qualified in clinical sports massage, 22-year-old Sarah Thorpe was to spend two weeks in Birmingham easing the aches and pains of the TV warriors.

l Hartlepool should have been re-named Lucky Town in 1998 - according to bingo bosses - after yet another big win.

Wednesday night’s £5,600 win for a Horden woman at the Mecca Bingo Hall on the Marina takes the club’s winning total to more than £100,000 for 1998.

Mecca Bingo in Hartlepool.

l They were used to serving shorts at the Woodcutter pub but this was going too far.

Landlord Terry Wing opened the Hartlepool pub ... to find a band of pint-sized customers queuing outside the door. The six garden gnomes were found in an orderly line outside the pub and no one knows where they came from.

l A community initiative to transform a lake into a picturesque recreation area at Rossmere Park looked set to get the go-ahead thanks to an environmental grant.

The £43,000 grant, which was obtained through the Government’s Landfill Tax Fund, would allow the Friends of Rossmere Park to turn the lake into a focal point for the local community.

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