No electric or hot water
I was born in 1951 and lived at number 5 Boston Street until the area was cleared for redevelopment. Our house comprised a basement, ground floor, and first floor. Our living quarters were in the basement which had an outside loo; we had a steel bath hung on the yard wall. We only had cold running water; I remember mum boiling large pots of water for bath nights. The house had no electric, our lighting was gas, and we had two gas lights over the fire place in the living room in the basement. When we went to bed we had to use candles. The basement had two rooms; a living room and the scullery, with a door leading out into a small yard. We had a chicken pen and rabbit hutch; the animals were kept as a food source.
A close knit community
The family were my mum, her second husband, me and my two sisters, my step brother, my grandmother, and mum’s brother my uncle Bob. I find it hard now to imagine how we all fitted in, but we did. Just a few doors down in Boston Street, were my Aunt Liz and Uncle John Smith. My mother’s brothers, Jimmy, Bobby, Billy and their family, lived in and around New England Street. Our next door neighbours were a family call Boxall. We were a close knit community in those days; we looked out for each other. Those were the days that you went out leaving the front door unlocked, and everything would be alright.
Pips for ice-cream
When I was a young boy, my mates and I would go over to The Level to play on the swings. In those days they had a big pond with a bridge and we would sail our boats. Those were the days when parents could let children go out on their own. On the way back home we would go into ‘Pips’ in Oxford Road for ice-cream. More often we would play in our street; I would play with my cousin Robin who lived next door to us. His mum was my Aunt Nell; they were moved to Carden Avenue.
Watching the steam trains
Boston Street had a high wall opposite the houses and above that was the railway. I have fond memories of seeing the steam trains go by. I think at that time it was the location of the shunting sheds. In New England Road you can still see the small brick building with steps leading up to the railway; I think then it was for the night watchman where rail staff would clock in. As a child I went to St Bartholomew’s School before it was rebuilt in Ann Street; the site today is now a car park at the back of London Road
Do you remember?
Did you live in Boston Street? Can you remember your neighbours? How many people lived in your house? If you can share these or other memories with us, please leave a comment below.