24. Homes

54 Welbeck Street

At the start of this period, grandad gives his address as 54 Welbeck Street and, it seems, he was living here with some of his family while still working at the shop in Station Street, where the family had lived until 1915 and where his eldest brother James was still living with his family. According to electoral registers, grandad lived at number 54 with his mother and father from 1921 to 1924. Arthur Evans was recorded as living with them too but grandad’s sister Eva was not recorded on the electoral register. This was because she was not eligible to vote. Between 1918 and 1928, women were only eligible to vote if they were over 30 and met certain property requirements. As Eva was born in 1895, she would not have been 30 until 1925 whereas grandad’s other sister Olive turned 30 in 1914. John and Olive were living next door at 56. Between 1922 and 1924, Ray, grandma’s brother was living at number 56 too. I wonder if his wife Winnie was also living there but did not appear on the electoral register as she was born in 1898 so would have only turned 30 in 1928. From 1922 to 1924, there was also a William Smith there and I believe this was John’s father. 

Station Street

This information about where grandad was living is confirmed by the 1921 census which shows that grandad was living at 54 Welbeck Street with his parents, Eva, her husband Arthur and her daughter Olive. Eva and Arthur’s son Roy is not recorded as the census took place in June and Roy was only born in August 1921. According to the census, grandad’s oldest brother James was living at 76 Station Street with his wife Annie and their two children, Gordon and Ethel. James was recorded as a motor lorry driver at Kirkby Colliery.

52 Welbeck Street

It appears that grandad’s father had also owned 52 Welbeck Street and that he sold it in 1919 for £350. Initially. I thought 54 was a detached house as Google Streetview only shows one door. However, it seems that 54 is only the half on the left. The right hand half is 52 and the door is round the side. The number for 52 is just visible behind the drainpipe! According to Zoopla, this house is currently valued at £137,000. It was sold in 2004 for £85,000. It is listed as a freehold, semi-detached house.  

House Moves

In 1924, grandad’s brother Len moved to Ollerton. The electoral register for Boughton Road in Ollerton shows him and his wife Ethel there from 1925. They were still there in the 1939 Register. In 1925, grandad noted that “we” moved. However, he did not explain who moved, where they moved or why. As he was still unmarried, I assumed that this move was with his parents. In his diary for 1929, he gave his address as Hilly Mount, Forest Hill, Kirkby in Ashfield. Initially, I struggled to find any such address and wondered if it was some kind of joke about how hilly Kirkby was! However, it turns out that Forest Hill is a local nickname for the eastern part of Diamond Avenue. According to Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield Yesterday Remembered”, Forest Hill is “the name that sticks with many of the locals” for the eastern part of Diamond Avenue (see Chapter 21, p108). My understanding of this was perhaps confirmed by newspaper cuttings related to grandad’s mother’s death in 1930 which gave her address variously as “Hillymount”, Forest Hill, East Kirkby and Hill Mount, Diamond Avenue, East Kirkby. Based on electoral registers for 1925, he and his parents were living at 158 Diamond Avenue with Arthur and Eva living at 160 and John and Olive at 162. John and Olive were still living with John’s father William.

The numbering of the houses in Diamond Avenue threw me a bit as grandad later owned 158, 160 and 162 Victoria Road so I wondered if these were those houses given that Victoria Road and Diamond Avenue are essentially a continuation of each other. But, the material about Forest Hill is contradictory to this as that indicates the eastern part of Diamond Avenue and Victoria Road is to the west. One thing I noted from the 1925 electoral register was the house numbers ended at 162 and the house between 150 and 154 was called “The Gables”. I had a look at the possible houses on Streetview and noted that one of the houses, which is now 154, has a plaque which says “The Gable 1908”. This could mean that the houses where they lived would now be 160-164.  

Victoria Road

According to the electoral register in 1930 (see box), grandma moved in with grandad and his father at 158 Victoria Road. From the diaries, I had worked out they were living in a two-storey house somewhere as, when they had a wardrobe delivered in March 1930, grandad had to saw it (in half?) to get it upstairs! However, I had not worked out exactly where they were living then. At that time, grandma’s parents were living at  61 Milton Street and this is where grandma and grandad went to stay, in 1931, when grandma was very unwell (see Chapter 23) and this was also the address to which some of their wedding cards were sent in 1930 (see Chapter 16).

1930 was the year that grandma and grandad married (see Chapter 16) and it was also the year that grandma’s mother died (see Chapter 15). John , Olive and Len were living at 162. By 1931, grandad’s father had moved out. From the electoral register for 1931, I found a Henry Parkin living in Blidworth Road.  For more details see Chapter 47.  

Effects of Ill-health

When grandma was ill in 1931 (see Chapter 23), they let grandad’s sister, Olive have the house where they had been living which I think was 158 Victoria Road. I am not clear if grandma and grandad owned this themselves or it was something his father had provided. Given that Henry Parkin owned a number of properties, the latter is perhaps more likely.

96 and 98 Welbeck Street

The family were also constructing at least two houses further along Welbeck Street – numbers 96 and 98. I am not sure precisely who owned the houses but they were clearly intended for grandma’s parents and, a couple called Tom and Annie about whom more details are provided in Chapter 29. In November 1932, Tom and Annie and grandma’s parents moved into these houses and grandma and grandad moved back to the shop in Station Street. Grandma’s parents called their house “Elstow” after the Bedfordshire village from which the Cirket family originated (see Chapter 16). The Holmes did something similar naming their house Delapre which is a place in the south of Northampton. Mum recalled moving into this house when she was 17, in 1951. This perhaps explains where mum got the practice of calling every house in which she lived “Elstow” (see box).

As far as I recall, she started the practice of calling her houses “Elstow” when she moved to Grove Avenue and then kept up the practice in New Road and Rowan Gardens. I do not recall this name being used at our family homes in Middletons Lane, Waverley Road or College Road.
Mum’s Elstow sign from Rowan Gardens hence the 10. This came to me when she died and is displayed on the wall in my study

Temporary Move to Welbeck Street

In April 1937, after the death of grandma’s mother (see Chapter 47), the family (grandad, grandma and mum), moved to Elstow, presumably to support grandma’s father. However, when he died, in July 1937 (also see Chapter 47), they moved out back to the shop in Station Street, which is where mum remembered growing up. It is not clear what happened to the house they were living in after they were married, which went to Olive, or what happened to Elstow between August 1937 and when grandad, grandma and mum moved there in the 1950s. According to the 1939 Register, Samuel Smith, a colliery undermanager was living there with his family then. It does appear that the Milton Street property was rented out from September 1938 for 14 shillings per week.

96  and 98 Welbeck Street
Grandma’s mum and dad at “Elstow”, 96 Welbeck Street