Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog. The topic for today is Your Hometown.
When people say Where is your Hometown? or Where are you from? I am never quite sure what they want to know. It is a different question from Where do you live?
I am going to write about the town I grew up in, partly because I live in a village now. The place where I grew up really was a town, although it had been a village. My facts may be a little out of date as I have not been back for nearly ten years.
Because of its history as a village the town has two greens, which is very unusual. It also has a large common with more than two ponds. It used to have two railway stations, but one is on a line which is now used by trams.
Its Town Hall is no longer used as such because the town has been absorbed into a larger borough.
There are several areas where there are rows of shops serving local residents. In a built-up area this is still possible even with out-of-town hypermarkets. The largest group of shops is near one of the greens.
There are lots of public houses, although this is changing. One was turned into a medical centre.
The local football team shares its name with a neighbouring town. I only ever went to the football stadium as part of the Remembrance Day procession with the Brownies and the Girl Guides. We had to wrap up warm and walk a long way. As part of the service we used to sing “For all the saints”.
There used to be a cinema. I’m not sure whether it was closed or converted into a multi-screen one or a Bingo hall. My Dad took me there to see my first film. It was Walt Disney’s Snow White. I was terrified. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I prefer books to films. It has to be a really good film for me to bother going to the cinema, especially in this age of DVDs. I think the last film I saw at a cinema was The King’s Speech which I went to with my Mum.
The history of the town was that it was built on lavender fields. The housing development where we lived had been built on a golf course in the 1930s. There was still a golf course on the common.
One of the things I remember from my childhood was that part of the common was used for landfill. Afterwards it was landscaped and football pitches marked out on the flat surface created at the top of the man-made hill.
A newcomer to the town was surprised that we had once travelled to the common in the next town to use our sledge on a downhill slope. He remarked that there was a slope on the nearest common. Our sledging was before the hill existed!
I have mentioned two of the schools I attended in earlier posts. The first one is here. The second one was in my poem, Dear School. The third school I attended was technically over the border of the town where the common was a hill. It was administered by the education department of the borough we lived in.
From my parents’ bedroom window it was possible to see a hill which gave its name to the neighbourhood (not the town) and the top of a well-known communications mast. The parish had three churches of different denominations close together near one of the shopping parades. There was a roundabout with an air-raid shelter below it (or so we were told!) The nearby public toilets were underground too. There were several recreation grounds in the town, some with play equipment. There was also a swimming pool.
I borrowed books from two public libraries. By my mid-teens I considered it worth walking about a mile to the main library for the greater selection of books.
Can you guess where I grew up?