3. Living in Kirkby

Victoria Road

Grandad’s diaries do not systematically catalogue who lived where and when. However, it is possible to piece together some of this information from his notes. This can be supplemented from other records, such as censuses and electoral registers. At the time of the 1901 census, grandad was living with his parents and siblings at 20 Victoria Road. This ties in with the article below from the 1960s. The writer says he knows the Parkins from when they lived in Victoria Road. He also notes that this was more than 60 years ago. This would have been around the start of the 20th century.

Article from early 1960s with interesting information about the Parkins including that they lived in Victoria Road and that Henry built houses in Blidworth Road. A very similar walk is described by Gerald Lee in his book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield: Yesterday Remembered” (from p108).

Station Street

By 1911, grandad was living at 70, 72, 74 and 76 Station Street with his parents and his siblings, Leonard, Cyril and Eva. So, at the start of 1914, when the diary starts, the family were living above their shoe shop in Station Street. This served as both a shoe shop and a place for the family to live. In addition, I am not sure if the workshop was there too. Initially, it seemed inconceivable to me that such a property could have housed the shop, the workshop and living accommodation for at least five adults (Henry, Sarah, Cyril, Eva and grandad). But, I am not aware of any other location for the workshop. Perhaps it was possible given that the family were occupying from 70 to 76.

This photo was in one of mum’s albums so I presume she took it but I am not sure when, perhaps in the 2000s. It shows 70-76 Station Street where grandad had his shoe shop for many years and where various members of the family lived at different times. At the time of the photo, The Booking Centre occupied 74-76 where the bridal shop Create Your Day are currently. The hairdressers Surreal were occupying 70-72 where the café Coffee n Cream are located now.

Welbeck Street

On 17 December 1915, the diary entry simply reads “we flitted”. Initially, I had no idea what this meant! But, I am told by both Jo, my wife, and Google that this is a northern expression for moving house! It Is used in this way in various other places in the diaries. In this context, it means the family moved from Station Street to 54 Welbeck Street. According to the 1921 electoral register, Henry, Sarah and grandad were living at 54 Welbeck Street while John and Olive lived next door in 56. James and Annie were said to be living at 76 Station Street, Len and Ethel were at 64 Forest Street and Cyril was listed as living at 3 Welbeck Street.

Above and below – pictures of 54 Welbeck Street taken in August 2023

Although the two properties, in Station Street and Welbeck Street, are close geographically, less than half a mile apart, they differ markedly in character. The family had moved from a town-centre, commercial, retail property to a semi-detached, suburban house. This move could perhaps show that business was going well for the family and they were now relatively well-off in the context of a fairly poor mining community.

Other Properties

Also, the family purchased some additional land in 1915 to build a further three houses, at a cost of £969 16s. Construction of the houses started in August 1915.

I am not sure of the location of these. It may have been the properties further along Welbeck Street but I think there were only two houses there. More likely is the houses they lived in from 1925, 158-162 Diamond Avenue – see Chapter 24. In the newspaper article above, reference was made to a Parkin’s Row of several houses on the Blidworth Road. These were said to have been built by Henry Parkin. Could it have been these? It may have been the three properties that grandad later owned 158-162 Victoria Road but this seems unlikely. Diamond Avenue and Victoria Road are continuous. However, they are quite clearly delineated and separated by other roads, e.g. Station Street, Urban Road and Lane End.