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Peggy was born at 48 Railway Terrace, Houghton Le Spring, Co. Durham to parents Violet Parker Boll and George Alfred Hinchliffe.

48 Railway Terrace Houghton Le Spring

The North Country Geordie Miners were a very tight knit community, it was quite often the case that children would stay with an Aunty or Uncle a few doors up if their house was full to the brim. In those days, large families and small houses were the 'norm', it was not uncommon for 8 - 10 children to share one bedroom. The Miners Houses were supplied by the Mine Owners for a small weekly rental whilst at least one member of the household worked 'Down the Pit', in the event of the Miners death, if no other member of the household was working 'Down the Pit, the wife and all of her children were 'turfed out' and therefore became homeless. The Miners houses were known as 2 up 2 down as the bottom floor consisted of a Scullery and Kitchen. Upstairs were 2 bedrooms, one for the Mother and Father and the other for all of the children. There was no bathroom, laundry or toilet inside the house, the toilet was outside. If you were lucky you had a 'copper' to boil your clothes in, the washing was hung out to dry on the 'common' clothes line on the 'Green' which separated the rows of homes.

Common Area for Washing and Drying Clothes

- In fact the 1911 census records Peggy's Mum Violet at the age of 6 living with her Grandparents Thomas and Margaret Parker at the same No 48, in those days this was the norm. Peggy's father was a break from the mold of coal miners, he was a brick layer. He died from pneumonia when Peggy was 5. The 'Pits' are now closed, the houses remain, from the outside very much as they were, the 'Green' and 'Common' clothes lines are still there today (2017)

Her Mum Violet remarried a few years later to Joseph Rutter Jackson, (Jack) they had 3 children, Derek, Brian and Jill. Peggy was very close to her second family and never thought of them other than her very own brothers and sisters, and she always referred to Jack as “'m' Dad'”. I guess that is why she never thought of trying to find her biological father's family the Hinchliffes.

Peggy, like a lot of North Country folk, was a very superstitious person. For example she would never spill salt without then throwing it over her left shoulder. On the 1st of the Month she had to say Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits, White Hares White Hares White Hares, and she adhered to many other superstitions. When you asked why, she did not really know, but it was bad luck not to do the bidding of the superstition. I can remember her telling me if I did not eat my bread crusts, for every crust I left, a Sailor would die, and if I pulled a face and the wind blew, my face would stay that way forever, and plenty more of these 'old wives tales'.

Peggy also loved stories, she would make up many, one of her favourites was that she was related to a Gypsy Romani Prince, however despite all searches on Ancestry by many, we have not found him!! I bet pound to peanuts she believed in the Lambton Worm !!
Lambton Worm

Peggy was very theatrical, in another life she may well have been a dancer in a chorus line. She loved dressing up and in later life she was in amateur musicals and shows. She loved dressing up our children, Sonya and Chris and have them 'perform' in shows with her when they were at her place.

One of Pegs Shows with Sonya and Chris Burchell

That I know of, Peggy worked in England as a Tram Conductor, in a Lamp Shade Factory, Addison's Bakers, Bata Shoe Shop, and a Domestic in a Private School in Caterham.

Peggy's Mum and Dad, Violet and Jack, had moved South and opened a Green Grocers Shop in Caterham on the Hill in the later 1940's.

Jack and Violet in their shop at 104 Chaldon Road Caterham on the Hill

At first Pop and Derek would do the deliveries using a horse and cart. The Horse was called Dolly. Then, Pop upgraded to a motorised Van, he bought a second hand Van that had been used by a Shop begun in London called Harrods!! Peggy helped out in the Shop often and the Shop was our second home, I spent most days from School having lunch there, and after School. My Grandmother had a collection of brass and once a week I would help her clean and polish it until it all shone. New Years was always celebrated at the Shop and I can remember the North Country Geordie tradition of the First Foot bringing in the New Year, along with the singing of Geordie Songs 'Cushy Butterfield, The Blaydon Races and others. There was always a North Country dish called Pease Pudding and Ham, I hated the Pease Pudding.

Pease Pudding and Ham

The Shop was a happy home to Peggy and us all.

Peggy left England and migrated to Australia with her husband Fred and their two children in the 1950's. None of her family believed when it came to the crunch,she would ever really go, but sometimes choices are really hard, and I don't think Peggy had much say in that decision. Fred, her husband had a sullen moody personality, a loner with an explosive temper, it was 'my way or the highway'. I can remember vividly the day we left, my Grandmother (Violet) and Pop(Jack) standing at the fence of our house, crying as we left. Their hearts breaking and their lives changed forever, losing their beloved daughter Peggy and their only two grandchildren, Marion and Robin. Peggy and her beloved Mother never saw each other again and I never saw my lovely Nanna again.

Strathnaver Sydney Harbour

In Australia Peggy worked at a Record Factory, a Plastics Factory, a Make Up Factory and jobs in several shops over the years. She enjoyed craft and amongst others learned leather making, Painting. She enjoyed baking, knitting and crocheting. She played Lawn Bowls. In her later years she enjoyed going to Chapel with her friends.

Peggy never really settled in Australia, she always longed to go back to England and would have done so in a flash if her husband had agreed. She was like ET pointing her finger home and wishing on a star to go there. Her first trip 'home' was not until the 1990's, almost 40 long years in the waiting.

In her last years Peggy lived in a relocatable village at Green Point New South Wales. With the help of her brother Derek and her sister in law Margaret who live in South Godstone England, she was able to be given some information about her biological father, George Alfred Hinchliffe.

I have been able to follow that up and now have a very good history of the Hinchliffe family, mainly thanks to my special Cousin Sue Bristow who by absolute chance I found. Sue's Grandfather and My Grandfather were the Hinchliffe Twins, Robert John and George Alfred, Peggy's father.

The Twins, Robert and George Hinchliffe
Sue has researched the Hinchliffe family going generations back. Peggy would so have loved to know all about her Hinchliffe family, sadly Peggy passed away before we had this information.

We hope that Karma prevailed and that Peggy's ashes found their way across the oceans and took her back to the shores of her longed for Home - England.

Marion provided Peg's Fare


Written by Marion Burchell, Peggy's daughter.