The "Cracket" is thought to have originated in the coalmines of this region.It was made by miners for use as a headrest when on there backs hewing coal in the lower coal seams. From the mines they progressed into colliery houses,every house having its own Cracket.
The name is thought to have been derived from folks sitting around on their stools having a bit of a "Crack"(chat).
What ever the origins they have proved to be a very practical piece of furniture. i.e. for standing on when reaching for the tea caddy from the mantel-shelf and for polishing your boots on. An Ashington (Northumberland) lady uses hers to stand her Aspidistra plant on, which answers to the name of "Geordie". One Silksworth miner says the Cracket was one of the family pets, while another used to turn his upside down and push the kids around in it. A third reckons his mother used to beat his father over the head when he came home drunk.The Cracket is especially useful when changing babies nappies.
Crackets disappeared from general use in the late 1940s although there are still some to be found which are 90-100 years old. The hole in the centre was primarily to pick up the Cracket with one finger, although some had a series of holes enabling the whole hand to be inserted.
Present day Crackets were re-designed by Mr. Jack Coates(alias Cracket Jack)over a period of 30 years, giving them a rounded apperance.They now have a duel role as a piece of contemporary furniture and also a money box.Crackets are now personalised with names and dates of birth carved into the side panels, making it an individual and exclusive present.
Sadly Mr.Coates can no longer produce them due to ill health, but handed the design over to me so as to continue the tradition.
Crackets sizes are 36cm L * 22cm W * 22cm H,and made of pine with a lacquer finish.