In the evening, when the lamps were lit, mothers would be darning socks and mending clothes. It was surprising how many holes could appear in socks and tockings especially when the children fell down. Women who liked knitting would be making new stockings and socks and those who preferred to crochet would be making borders for covers using fine crochet cotton. Tatting macrame work and hairpin work was done by a few people.
The children would knit their garters. They would cast 10 or 12 stitches on fine needles and doing plain knitting they would do a long strip which, when finished, was used to tie round their stocking tops to keep them up. This was the reason why plain knitting is called garter stitch.
Another craft was cork or French knitting. This was by means of an empty wooden cotton reel which had four tacks or small nails hammered into the top. Wool was wrapped round them and with the aid of a hairpin , the wool was lifted over the nails. This process produced a strong cord which dropped through the hole in the reel. The cord could then be used for all sorts of things and if stitched into rounds could be used to make small table mats.
Making proggy and hooky mats as well as quilts were other hobbies, the children cutting the clippings and threading the needles.
Boys loved to do a bit of fret work or nailing bits of wood to try to make things.
Games such as Snakes and Ladders, Snap and Ludo were popular. Some folk would of have playing cards in their homes because of the association with gambling and these cards became known as devil cards. Later, however, whist drives became popular. The children amused themselves when they got their "Comic Cuts" and "Rainbow" with Jacko, Tiger Tim etc. On a Friday they had their own newspaper "The Children's Newspaper" edited by Arthur Mee, which was both entertaining and instructive.
Friday night was the usual time for hair washing and bathing the children. This was in the tin bath in front of the fire. Hair was washed in the soft rain water with soft soap and Corax. If curls were needed, then strands of the girls' hair would be rolled up in rags or newspaper and kept there till morning.
This was something different. It was a day when there was not so much work to be done in the home. The Saturday trains ran excursion rides to West Hartlepool for 1 shilling return and so many folk took this opportunity to enjoy themselves and shop. Before they went, the older women made sure they took a dish of hot water and washed their feet - just in case they had an accident. Down Lynn Street they would go, up Musgrave Street, across Stockton Street and back into Church Street. "Blacketts" and "Gray and Peverill", "Robinsons" and the "Co-op" were the main stores. The Co-op opened about 1912 and was used to billet soldiers during the first world war.
There was The Penny Bazaar where nothing cost more than a penny and what a lot of things there were! The Woolworth store, painted brightly red, was a little more expensive everything being either 3d or 6d. There was Birk's china shop and SSEades music and piano shop. Plenty of boots and shoes were available at Freeman, Hardy and Willis as well as Public Benefit. Baldesera had the ice cream shop and Fox's sold lovely pork pies. There were some lovely grocery shops and when the goods were bought they were beautifully wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string.
Old friends could be met and gossiped with on the journey round the streets and of course, a visit to the market was always included. The 'shows' were situated behind Lynn Street, the kiddies enjoying the roundabouts and the shuggy boats. The Grand and The Empire were theatres of variety and plays and The Picture House, the largest of many cinemas charged 6d in the afternoons and also held tea dances upstairs. The Co-op had a lovely cafe on the top floor and Birk's cafe by the station was where a lovely cup of coffee could be had along with a tiny jug of cream whilst a small orchestras was playing. This outing was a lovely time for husbands and wives and younger children. If anyone wanted to cross to Old Hartlepool they could get the autocar from the station or go down to the docks and go by rowing boat for 1d or 2d.