In the winter of 1890 and 1891 the mining community of Silksworth was the setting of a unique and remarkable series of events: The Silksworth Evictions.
Miners who had been on strike since November 1890 were evicted from their colliery owned houses in February 1891. Lord Londonderry, who owned the mine, colliery houses and who had built much of the village, recruited men from Hartlepool to carry out the evictions. Nicknamed the “Candymen”, these men thought they had been employed to move timber for Londonderry, not families from their houses!
The strikers had agreed that this should be a peaceful protest. Although families did try and deter the Candymen from entering their houses, there were no reports of riots.
The only reports of violence were of a Police baton charge, but this had been started by people who had come to Silksworth from Sunderland, no doubt seeking ‘some weekend entertainment’.