13 blasts from Hartlepool’s Christmas festivities of the past

Santa at Binns in the 1950s.
Santa at Binns in the 1950s.

Is this how you remember greeting the advent of Christmas in Hartlepool over the decades?

1: Santa on top of the bus. Despite the fact that he looked a bit “handmade”, he helped spread a little festive cheer around town.

The Rotary Christmas Treei in Victoria Road during the 1950s.

The Rotary Christmas Treei in Victoria Road during the 1950s.

2: Queuing to see Father Christmas in his grotto at Binns (or the Central Stores?) It was always a magical moment when you visited Santa Claus in his sparkling grotto. We’re sure the Binns grotto used to be in the basement, before being moved to the top floor.

3: The Christmas church bazaar, with a visit and present from Santa. Remember with fondness buying talc and smellies for mam at these bustling annual events.

4: School Christmas party and bran tub gift. Always generated great excitement among little ones.

5: Carol-singers going door-to-door. You don’t seem to get carol singers these days. They seem to have gone the way of the penny for the guy kids.

A children's Christmas Party in Hartlepool in the 1950s.

A children's Christmas Party in Hartlepool in the 1950s.

6: The Christmas tree at Wesley chapel. This was when Christmas seemed to be just a whisker away. The tree, which, we’re sure we’re right in thinking came from Norway as a “thank you” for helping that country during the Second World War, was placed in the front of the chapel, and was a wonderful way to announce the coming of the festive season.

7: The school nativity play – with striped tea towels, white dresses and wire and tinsel halos, plus a “‘baby” (doll) in a manger, of course.

8: Roast chestnuts being cooked at the edge of the road (oil-drum style) and sold in paper bags in Lynn Street or Whitby Street; plus holly and mistletoe sellers.

9: Making paper chains from strips of coloured paper at home and at school. No shop-bought decorations in days gone by.

Staff at the Miers Avenue fish shop were doing their best to get into the Christmas spirit 25 years ago. For the record chips were 28p and a cod was 58p.

Staff at the Miers Avenue fish shop were doing their best to get into the Christmas spirit 25 years ago. For the record chips were 28p and a cod was 58p.

10: Advent calendars (without chocolate). We used them year after year.

11: Decorating an orange for the Christingle service.

12: Midnight mass (before the services were disrupted by rowdy drinkers).

13: Socks (not stockings) with hazelnuts, an orange and half a crown. Did anybody ever eat the nuts?

A mayor of Hartlepool at a Christmas party in the 1950s.

A mayor of Hartlepool at a Christmas party in the 1950s.