MEMORY LANE: Tut’s herbal power kept him working into his eighties

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STICKING to the same career for decades on end is quite an achievement.

But Hartlepool man Israel Smith, who was better known as Tut, took the whole thing a stage further.

At 85 years old, he could already boast 72 years of working life - and he did all of it with the same firm

The Northern Daily Mail caught up with him in January 1958 when we asked him why he didn’t retire gracefully.

He said his activity at his age ran in the family. His father was 92 before he died and his grandfather died at 104 years old.

Tut even had his own reason why longevity ran in the family. “I am a great believer in the effects of herbs,” he said, “God made a cure for every ill and left it on the hills for everyone to use.”

It certainly worked for Tut.

At 85 years old, he was still healthy enough to work as a general labourer employed by Head Wrightson and Co at the Seaton Snook junction.

Our report in 1958 said: “He is a fine example to any youngster starting out in the world.

“Friends consistently ask why, after all these years, he does not leave the noise and grime of industry and enjoy retirement in his cosy home where he lives with his eldest daughter.

“Then, he wrinkles his brow, gives it some thought and eventually reaches the conclusion that what use is retirement when he still feels able to carry out his job to the satisfaction of his superiors.”

Tut was the son of a foundryman and was one of five children born in a family who lived near York.

At 12 years old, he started work at the company he was still with in 1958.

In his first job, he earned five shillings a week for skimming the molten metal. He loved it and he wasn’t going anywhere else.

He even had his own methods of getting himself ready on a morning for the day ahead.

Our report added: “His proud claim is that he has never been late for work. He finds breakfast unnecessary and he has only a pipe of baccy before leaving home in the morning.”

He married when he was 18 and had 13 children. Ten of them girls. He outlived seven of his children by 1958

He lived through the First World War when, working at the Teesdale factory, he helped to make the biggest metal casting ever made.

Our report added: “Many years ago, Mr Smith used to gather his own herbs and mix them into a tonic. Now he relies on a herbalist to provide them for him.”

The former racing pigeon enthusiast then passed the hobby on to his grandchildren when it became too much for him to handle.

We would love to know more about Tut.

Did he work for much longer after 1958. Are you part of his family or can you tell us more about Tut.

Get in touch by contacting Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email