I struggled for a while coming up with a subject for the genealogical K, and finally opted for my Mum’s childhood home on King Street.
What I find interesting about this one is that it wasn’t always called King Street – apparently the local ran a competition of some sort amongst local streets, and the winning entries were to be re-named with regal connections. Mum was always very proud that her street won the competition and was duly renamed King Street.
I used to wonder what difference it made to the residents – it was a poor area, small back to back terraces in a generally not very affluent town. Did it really feel better living in King Street than living in Back Preston Street, I wonder? The dwellings, neighbours and shops were exactly the same. The street wasn’t saved from demolition some years later, when residents were rehomed, mostly into small, modern council houses.
Going back to visit when Mum was in her seventies, there was no sign of where her childhood home used to be, aside from a few weed ridden car parking spaces left behind Preston Street, which was (and remains) still standing.
I have no personal memories of the house, and visiting now it is almost impossible to imagine so many families living on what is essentially just a gap between two rows of terraced houses, yet I’m very conscious that to Mum, it was home, and held many precious memories for her.
Sad to say, it has reverted to its original name and is once again Back Preston Street. I’m sure she would have been disappointed, she always felt that King Street had something to be proud of because it was a sign that the community had pulled together and done something worthy of such reward.