Reflections from my Ancestors

More Houses?

Today on the way back from the school run I drove passed the proposed place for more housing.

It got me thinking about how Dad used to say that out of his bedroom window in Coopers Lane he could see all the way down to the jetty.

And there were lanes then. Lanes where people laid straw in the road so the rumble of the carts going passed didn’t disturb the dying. Coopers Lane like so many of the roads here were tree lined. A town built for tourists to arrive by train, walk into town and to the beach. Greeted by boys with barrows “barrars” to carry the luggage to Butlins. Lots of day trippers but we had loads of hotels and guest houses. So many tourists that people used to give up their spare room to raise a bit of cash and take in a holiday maker! There was a housing crisis then too. Old people lived in sheds in peoples gardens.

It got me thinking about housing. My Aunts lived all over the place here. Some in Council housing. My parents lived in a council flat as soon as they could move out of their parents house, until Dad built his own house. Where are the council houses these days? Another Aunt rented out 40 houses, yes there were still moonlight flits but my impression was of people staying their whole lives. Maybe I’ve got that wrong. What changed and why? How could that be different? What difference can each of us make?

She inherited them from her Dad what about those who don’t inherit anything other than history’s of poverty. She saw the damage money could do. She gave her wealth to a charity when she died.

Reminded of someone locally who lived in their car. Brought to that point through redundancy and bereavement. Wasn’t from here but maybe here associated with happy holiday times? Had been in the army, but the legion couldn’t help. Life throwing the worst all at once, easy to get knocked off your feet and lose your way, your sense of self.

Why the shame around poverty? None of us can help what we’re born into? Whether wealth, poor health, disability. Here I’ve seen people borrow off their friends, arguments, helping each other out until endangering or losing their own tenancies. Cards toppling over. It doesn’t take much for life to go to shit.

Marmot Review 2020: “Regressive” cuts hit most deprived areas

My Grandad travelled all over for work with skills he could us elsewhere leaving Grandma with a house full of kids. What was life like for her I wonder.

I remember Mum seeking approval from others to be able to work.

As I swept the floor of hay (we have a house rabbit. I can only imagine what my Grandad would say about that. He kept rabbits to eat.) I wonder how much things have changed in real terms for women here or anywhere…


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