#30daywritingchallenge: Day 6-Five Places I’ve Lived.

This post should have been written yesterday. I’m lagging behind. I should have been writing about the five things which will win my heart. Difficult and too personal to post on here. So instead, I have chosen another theme for Day 6. I was thinking about how long we’d lived in our present house and eeek, it will have been 15 years this year that we have lived here. My two children were five and three then. As to whether we’ll still be in this house in five years, who knows? Let’s see what happens.

Thinking that we have been here for 15 years and six years in our previous house 3 miles down the road, I feel well and truly settled here in the Vale of York. We love our village and our friends in the area. My only bugbear is the fact that I have to drive everywhere. Oh how I would love to walk to the shops or to have a pub in our village. Leading on from thinking about our present house made me think about all the places I’ve lived in the last forty something years.

Darlington, Co. Durham.

Greenbank Maternity Hospital, Darlington where I was born. It closed down ages ago
Greenbank Maternity Hospital in Darlington.  I was born here in 1972.
Darlington’s clock tower and market place.
How I remember Darlingon’s Bank Top railway station in the 1970s.

I was born in Darlington, in the North East. In case you don’t know Darlington, it’s a large market town and was famous for it’s railway connections. Starting with the Stockton and Darlington railway (the first modern railway) and the railway industry that was built in the town. We lived there because my Dad worked for British Rail. So my very earliest memories of Darlington are very hazy but I do remember getting on a train at Bank Top station which was hauled by a Deltic loco. It was very noisy and I was scared of it. I also vaguely remember Binns Department store in the town centre and my mum buying some knitting wool so that she could knit my Tiny Tears doll some clothes.

Radcliffe on Trent, Notts.

St. Mary’s Parish Church, Radcliffe on Trent.  Both my brother and I were christened here.
The former Black Lion pub at the crossroads in Radcliffe on Trent.  It’s now a Tesco Express!


Anyone who lived in and around Radcliffe will remember Lamcote Coaches.  Think there is a housing estate on the site now.

We moved down to Nottinghamshire when I was about 3 and I grew up in Radcliffe, a commuter village about 5 miles east of Nottingham. I went to school here. Radcliffe is a very large village with lots of shops. It has changed a lot over the years and last time I went there I noticed the Black Lion pub had turned into a Tesco Express! The Black Lion was a great pub. We lived on a new estate just off Vicarage Lane. About 2 years after we moved there my brother was born. My earliest memories of Radcliffe was the nursery in a large house at the top of Lorne Grove before the alleyway to the station. My mum sometimes worked there before my brother was born. It must have closed when the Nursery opened up at the Infant school as my brother ended up going there instead. Primary schooling was strange in Radcliffe as there originally wasn’t room for all the children at both infant and junior schools which were new buildings. Some of the classes were taught in the Annexe which was the old original village school. I remember being in the top infants and not liking to go to the toilet as it was outside in a separate building which was dark and smelly. Though one summer I got into trouble with a couple of friends for playing in the toilets at lunchtime. Whatever made us do that I don’t know but the bell went and we realised everyone had gone in. We went into school and got in trouble. We even got told off in assembly in front of the whole school by the headmistress. So embarrassing.

Other great memories of Radcliffe were of the swimming pool which sadly was demolished a couple of years ago when the former Dayncourt Comprehensive School, now South Notts Academy was being rebuilt. I learned to swim in that pool and loved going for swimming lessons on a Saturday afternoon. Other times we used to go swimming on a Sunday morning. My mum and dad were on the committee of the club that ran the swimming pool as it wasn’t council run. My Dad used to do lifeguard duty and my mum used to be in charge of the baskets where you used to put your things instead of in a locker. Occasionally as I got older I used to do “basket duty” too.

Bangor, Gwynedd

Bangor with a view of the Cathedral and the University.
One of my most favourite views in the world- the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia (Eryri) with the Menai Suspension Bridge spanning the Menai Straits.  When I lived in a student house in Menai Bridge village I used to walk over this bridge a lot.  


The Beatles on Top Site of Bangor Normal College as it was in my day there!

I went to uni in Bangor between 1990 and 1994. I loved living in Bangor and in the surrounding area. Such a beautiful part of the world and North Wales always has a special place in my heart. I chose Bangor as it was easy to get home at weekends if I needed to (just a change at Crewe at first and then at Manchester Piccadilly when I’d moved up to Yorkshire later on) I’d had family holidays in North Wales as a child and I still have family in the Colwyn Bay and Llandudno area. I went back to visit a couple of years back when we had a family get together at a hotel in the Conwy valley and was astounded at how much Bangor itself had changed. Of course it was strange driving round Bangor as when I lived there I couldn’t drive. One claim to fame is that The Beatles stayed in Dyfrdwy Hostel back in 1967 when they came to Bangor. (the hostel I lived in in my first year) My bed was so old in that room that maybe even one of The Beatles actually slept in it! In my second year I lived with friends in a student house in Menai Bridge. My room was on the front and was downstairs facing onto the street. It was a lovely, spacious room from what I remember even though the curtains didn’t draw properly. I had a black and white portable telly which had rubbish reception. Whenever we were watching Corrie the picture would go up and down as a bus went past!

Gravesend, Kent

I only lived in Gravesend for a year, although I knew the town well. My mum grew up in Gravesend and my Dad lived in nearby Meopham as a teenager. So I have lots of childhood memories of Kent. When I think of one of my happy places it is my Nana and Granddad’s back garden in Meopham which overlooked a sheep field and a wood in the distance. It was west facing so you could sit out and see the beautiful sunsets. It was in the days before the Channel Tunnel. When I was applying for teaching posts upon finishing uni I chose Kent as one of the areas to teach in and ended up with a job just outside Gravesend. Unfortunately I couldn’t drive and I found the cost of living far too high there. I spent a fortune on bus fares and taxis and had to rely on the goodwill of work colleagues to give me lifts. Gravesend itself has changed a hell of a lot since I was a child. It’s high street has suffered due to both Lakeside and Bluewater shopping centres nearby and I noticed there were a lot of pound shops. I haven’t seen what it was like down by the river in recent years and whether the pier is still there. I’ll have to go down and visit properly when I have more time.

Gravesend Pier
Gravesend Clock Tower
The statue of Pocahontas in the churchyard of St George’s Church in Gravesend.  My aunt and uncle had some of their wedding photos taken in front of the statue.
Meopham Windmill.  My grandparents had a view of the windmill from the front of their house.  

Castleford, West Yorkshire

My grandparents on my Dad’s side who ended up in Kent due to my grandad’s job at the Isle of Grain Refinery originally came from West Yorkshire. My Nana Margaret was born and bred in Castleford. Her parents had a chemist shop in the town and lived in the Hightown area opposite the old hospital. We used to go up and visit my great grandparents in Castleford a lot. Their house was a 1920’s semi with a huge back garden. It had a monkey puzzle tree and lots of apple trees as well as a vegetable patch. Would be a dream nowadays. When I was growing up Castleford was mining town and you used to hear the pit hooter going as well as seeing the coal trucks going past on the railway line at the bottom of the field behind the house. Sadly, my great grandparents died when I was 10 and 12. Nana inherited the house but did not sell it. Eventually, my Dad moved into it a few years later when he got a job in Leeds. Then he married again so I moved into the house when I started teaching back up North. The house was structurally fantastic but it needed a lot of work doing to it. It didn’t have central heating and had the original tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. To me, it was just somewhere to stay when I worked nearby and then when I met my husband I moved out. Castleford itself now has changed a lot since I taught there in the mid 1990s. For a start there is now XScape and Junction 32 retail park which wasn’t there when I used to drive past the old Glasshoughton Colliery site on my way to work. Lots more houses have been built. But I still visit from time to time as my great grandparents’ ashes are buried in All Saints Church yard in the town centre. At this time I met my husband and when one of my beautiful tabby catswas run over outside my house, I just didn’t want to be there any more.

Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre in Castleford
All Saints Parish Church in Castleford town centre.  My great grandparents were married in this church in 1921 and their ashes are buried in the churchyard.
My great grandfather was a chemist and had a shop on Beancroft Road in Castleford.  I think this is where his shop was and it’s now a hairdressers!

Since January 1997 I have lived in North Yorkshire. We moved to a brand new house on a new estate in a village about 3 miles away from where we live now. At the time we didn’t have children but a month after we put the deposit on the house I found out I was pregnant. Probably as well we were moving into a four bedroomed house. I was thrilled as I’d lived in a house with no central heating, a faulty cooker and a cold bathroom for the last couple of years. It was bliss and we moved in with Max, our other tabby cat. As time moved on our family grew and we chose to move to a bigger house.

All photos have been shared from Wikipedia.

Sam xx

One Comment Add yours

  1. Zill phillips says:

    Sam, that was such amazing insight to your life growing up and with the pictures just made it better.. I enjoyed it all that I had to finish reading it all. You have done so well in your life and hope it goes well for you in future. Wait for next reading

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