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Tell us about the memories of your home town (then and now) for a chance to win great prizes courtesy of Penguin Random House.

(32 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-May-15 15:24:23

Do you live in the town you grew up in? Or if not, do you still go back and visit? Penguin Random House are celebrating the publication of No.1 bestselling author Lesley Pearse’s latest novel, Without A Trace, and would like you to tell us about your home town past and present. How was it when you were growing up and what is it like now? We’d love to see pictures of how it has changed (if at all) and want to hear your thoughts on the good and the bad of today and the town of your youth.

Join the discussion or upload an image and you’ll be entered into a competition to win one of five SIGNED copies of Without a Trace. The overall winner will also receive a fantastic collection of Penguin goodies – including the new novel, a couple of Lesley’s previous novels, a cookery book and Penguin merchandise (e.g. Penguin notebook, Penguin mug, tote bag). This competition is open until midday, 8 June.

Lesley Pearse’s first novel was published when she was forty-nine and she has since become an internationally bestselling author, with over seven million copies of her books sold worldwide.
Without a Trace is a brilliant new dramatic novel from Lesley, set during 1953 on Coronation Day. It follows a young woman, Molly, as she tries to uncover the mysterious past of her departed friend, taking the reader on a perilous journey through London Soho, the East End and the rural villages of Somerset and Devon.

This competition is now closed. Winners will be announced shortly.

OP’s posts: |
lindarumsey Mon 11-May-15 17:52:56

I go back to my home town fairly regularly as I still have family that live there. Apart from the house where I grew up, the rest of it has changed so much it doesn't feel like home!

ninnytendo Mon 11-May-15 18:17:21

I go back to my hometown twice a year and meet friends from school. It hasn't really changed much but it feels more modern now that I don't live there and definitely more crowded now. It feels homely because my family and friends live there but I'd feel a bit odd moving back to live.

Jonquilly Mon 11-May-15 18:48:17

Where do I come from? My father was in the RAF so we moved house every two years, sometimes coming across families we had met before. We made new friends often, kept up with old ones by letter, or renewed friendships made in other parts of the country. I'm a human "bean" so the world is where I come from, and I can feel at home anywhere if the conditions are right. The constant in my life was where my mother and her mother and various other branches of the family come from. I went to school there, played on the beach and explored the area by walking everywhere. I have learned more about the place by reading historical and local websites and see that it has a long and fascinating history. The town has certainly changed over the years, and the rubble filled areas (I didn't realise they were bomb sites left long after the war) have been rebuilt on. The population has changed, the pubs (those street markers which have stood the test of time) have gone, the shipping, shopping and industry have declined. I still see it as a familiar place though not my hometown as such, and know no-one outside of the family when I visit. This is South Shields, the town at the end of the Great North Run, with a beautiful coastline and on the edge of the countryside. The marketplace was the life of the place, but it is now dwindling away as the town centre gets a new look. I'm sure that the transition period is difficult for people who live there all the time, but for me the changes are a focus of interest and part of a bigger plan which will hopefully be of benefit to all there. I can feel as though I belong because the town and I have grown up together.

DanielMummy Mon 11-May-15 19:48:47

My parents are still in the house I grew up in, so I go back frequently. Most of the shops have changed now. The ones I had Saturday jobs in have long gone, as has the little local cinema. So all change

Pigeonpea Mon 11-May-15 20:59:44

I grew up in a beautiful established Victorian Market town with a fabulous town centre park including bandstand. We had an old cattle market that had been converted into a car park, but still retained it's original features. We had a 'plague' alley where all the bodies of people who had died from the plague were buried. We had a plaque were a Zepplin had landed. We had a town rich with history and famous companies based there.
Today, the council have ignored all the beauty of the past - they have concreted over plague alley, you can no longer see the old cattle market, the Zepplin plaque is no longer visible, the old beauty of the town that made it famous and well regarded has paled into concrete and £1 shops. The council have been too busy getting money to plough up the town centre that they have forgotten to gain investment long term by attracting business there.
I g back infrequently and can't help but think the council fat cats are so short sighted that a once beautiful, thriving market town is now an urban wasteland.

katiewalters Mon 11-May-15 22:17:00

I was born and few up in Wolverhampton. I moved from there in 2009, to Birmingham as I moved in with my partner and we both worked in Birmingham. My mom still lives in Wolverhampton, so I go back to visit. It feels like I've never left when I go back, familiar faces and familiar places. It hasn't changed much, new shops and more houses. When I was growing up, it was fun, everyone knew everyone and it felt safe

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 11-May-15 22:26:53

I grew up in a coastal city in wales. I still visit to see family and catch up with friends. It's a lovely place but I wouldn't want to live there now I've moved away.

It has really changed over the years but in some ways is still exactly the same, with lots of people I went to school with still going to the same pubs, moving in the same circles etc.

mehadi Mon 11-May-15 22:43:52

My home town a small village on fresh of dartmoor I left home when I was seventeen and haven't lived there since but visit frequently.It has changed very little and I am still rememberd. I had a Iovely chidhood growing up there and look forward to returning.

eldragos Tue 12-May-15 09:25:47

My husband was a child on the Lizard in Cornwall, our most southerly point, it is the most beautiful place in the world. His family moved but often returned for months/years but eventually settled in Surrey due to work and school commitments. He always considered Lizard to be home and dreamed of returning. Sadly when my husband left the RAF he couldn't find suitable employment there so we settled in Cambridgeshire. We return as often as possible and all love our time there. Recently our eldest daughter moved her father by announcing she feels Lizard is her real home and considers herself to be Cornish by heritage.
I guess home really is where your heart is and as the children finish school we are looking again, the dream never dies.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 12-May-15 09:29:31

I grew up in a small market town in Essex. During the time I was growing up there it got more and more crowded, bypasses built on the paths we used to pick blackberries on, new housing estates built on the meadows.
I couldn't afford to live there now but judging by my old schoolfriends' postings on Facebook, I'm not sure I'd want to - they seem to spend an awful lot of time stuck in traffic just getting to and from work.

Sharpkat Tue 12-May-15 10:39:59

I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Nearest house was a mile away. Occasionally go back or to the market town where I went to school. Very rural. Not a lot has changed. Was an idyllic place to grow up and not really changed, but very quiet and absolutely nothing to do.

cookiemonster66 Tue 12-May-15 14:42:17

I grew up in a village just outside of Slough - made famous due to the TV series 'the office' or famous quote "come all ye bombs fall on Slough!" When I was a girl the village I grew up in was lovely, friendly village atmosphere where we felt safe, summer fairs in the park. I go back now to visit family and it is so busy and dirty and unfriendly, I would not be able to live there now! I moved my young family away from there 20 years ago to Hampshire and have never looked back, such a shame as it has tainted my childhood memories of the place.

emmelinelucas Tue 12-May-15 16:49:44

I grew up in a town that became a tourist spot because of a tv series.It went from being a shabby, run down place to actually being very nice.
The people are different - you never hear the local accent anymore and it is extremely expensive for locals to buy. Bargainous for some, though who sold up down South and have retired there.
I wouldn't want to live there now, even though I visit.
It's just not the same, not as friendly and over-gentrified. There is very little social housing, for instance - they have almost all been bought and few rentals. Mainly holiday lets.

thewomaninwhitefluffybunnyears Tue 12-May-15 17:33:17

I live just outside of the town I grew up in. Some good changes and some bad. I used to live one street away from where Lesley Pearce used to live!

pennwood Tue 12-May-15 17:57:10

If you would like to be sent, on a tour of Burton On Trent,
you could simply follow your nose,
or if you prefer, read my prose.
The smell of hops pervades the air.
Colsons, & Marstons are brewing without a care.
The Museum Of Brewing is a day out,
or visit the Washlands where kids play & shout.
Marmite's here, & Branston Pickle too.
Pirelli Tyres - I get through a few!
Constantine actor & director we can boast,
Repton School, the old boys toast.
Lots of shops in the central precinct,
gift shops, multiples, all quite distinct.
Best of all I'm happy to report,
friendly Burtonians are a jolly good sort!

kristinage Tue 12-May-15 19:17:50

I am going to my hometown once a year, because it's abroad. My parents and my brother still lives there. I am enjoying meeting my relatives and friends and I am getting so emotional passing my school, which I really loved.

Itchylegs Tue 12-May-15 21:50:05

Still live in my home town, and it is so different to 40 years ago. There is a panoply of different ethnicities and cultures here and people are always surprised when I say that I was actually born here...seems like I am in the minority! What is different is the nightlife, I remember the 4 night buses through the night, now there is one every few minutes. I remember when pubs shut during the day and drinking up time was universal. I remember cinemas that are shut and pubs that are now 'luxury' flats. I remember quiet Sundays when only markets were places for shopping. I remember parts of this city that were the absolute pits and are now called 'Silicon Roundabout' and represent future industries. I remember libraries as proud buildings of learning and refuge. I rememebr council run swimming pools, not privatised ones. I remember council estates, in the centre of this city too. Now it is nondoms and the superich who buy up most of the stuff. It has changed a lot. Some things are great but a lot is hard to live with.

minesapintofwine Tue 12-May-15 22:27:37

I grew up in a Welsh Valleys mining town. At that time, everywhere was black from the coal dust and there were several slag heaps. The shops were niche-the greengrocers, the butchers, the cobblers. I even remember the moving models in the windows (I loved them as a child). There was a huge community spirit and people would always be chatting outside houses, shops etc.

From then to now was just 30+ years. I still live in the same town. I have never lived anywhere else. The mines are long gone, and so (thankfully) the ugly slagheaps. Though some remain. There are many many country parks here now, replacing the huge mining areas. I am thankful they have been turned into this. I walk my dog and take my dc there. You can never forget though, the occasional winding wheel reminds us.

The town shops are gradually being replaced by chainstores and supermarkets. Convenient but fatal for the smaller businesses that I mourn.

The rows and rows of terraced houses on the hillside are steadfast, I live in one of them. The community spirit is still there, but it is faltering and economically depressed. What is our future? I don't know. I don't know if to be optimistic of commercial changes or mourn a community depleting. My whole family remembers the explosions of the mine right underneath us. It is just a memory fading though.

CMOTDibbler Tue 12-May-15 22:39:20

My parents still live in the town I was born in, and that my dad was born in. I go back a few times a year, though I know no one of my generation still living there.
Some things are very different - the upper school I went to is now luxury flats for instance, but some things are still just the same. I think if you are a teen there now it will be just as boring as it was when I was a teen!

I feel a lot of affection for the place, but once my parents die I doubt I'll ever go there again, which feels a bit odd. So much history for me and my family (they've been there for hundreds of years), and it will end right there

nocoolnamesleft Tue 12-May-15 22:42:48

They grew up in an ordinary little house, on an undistinguished road, leading into a rather mundane northern town. The house was one of three, built on the site of what had once been a farmhouse, with the last traces still visible in the back garden: a sandpit formed from recycled stone lintels. On one side of the houses was a cluster of semi communal areas: the church, the church hall, a playing field (memorably surrounded by barbed wire...blood goes such a long way...) used for fairs and fetes, scouting activities and general mayhem, and a set of old battered tennis courts, which only saw activity during the brief flurry of interest after Wimbledon season. The field and the tennis courts have been long built open, as the density of housing sprawled ever outwards, creeping steady across the countryside which once lay within an easy Sunday stroll.

It wasn't the best end of town. The larger houses, the posher schools, the people with money, they all lived on the other side of the railway tracks, or out in the surrounding villages. Nor yet was it the area of greatest poverty, situated on the outskirts it avoided the violence and riots of that unfortunate summer so long ago. More than anything, it was ordinary. A place to learn to cycle on half built new roads, to build campfires on the field, to feel so independent walking to school alone. All the essentials of life were to hand, with a school, a supermarket, a handy bus stop, and most vitally a public library. Heading further into the town centre, remnants of a historic past were hidden away in back squares and alleys, largely hidden by the concrete monstrosities that had materialised over the previous few decades.

The people were friendly in general, inclined to stop and chat. There was some traditional rivalry between schools, but no true divisions. Indeed, at major town celebrations, the various churches and groups would happily march side by side, and even celebrate the most major feasts together. It was not so much tolerance as obliviousness, simply not seeing the point in clashing. And remember, this was during the Irish troubles. Indeed, it was a point of some pride, amid the disgust, that both sides in the Irish troubles had allegedly threatened violence to a major celebration, which was thus scaled back, as Catholics and Protestants were happily walking in the same parade.

There were 2 children in that ordinary house, attending their mundane schools. They were raised to one major belief, that education was the key that could open doors. The boy learned it well. He headed south for university, and never truly returned north, living the life of a commuter belt professional. And the girl? She learned it too, but a few times she returned. For a year, to work in the hospital she remembered so well from childhood, spending the first day in a room named for the consultant without whom she might never have lived long enough to become a doctor. For a major celebration, when the fireworks turned night to brilliant day, and the town became a city. And one last time of late, without even stepping into the city, as one of the tiny cogs in the great wheel that will help what was once a grim polytechnic, and is now a reputable university, gain the advantages and prestige of opening a medical school.

It is good to have a chance to repay a debt.

HelenMEvans Wed 13-May-15 00:16:39

I am a Cestrian which means I was born in Chester. I have lived here all my life and love it. It's just the right size ! When I go away on holiday it's a pleasure and a thrill to come back. I love the tudor buildings, the River Dee, the Cathedral , the park and all things ancient and modern. I feel proud when I show visitors around but at the same time angry when I think of all the beautiful buildings, like the old market that were pulled down in the 60's. I could go on extolling it's virtues but will close with an invitation for visitors to walk the ' Great Wall of Chester'

helenahandbag Wed 13-May-15 16:27:57

I grew up in a tiny fishing village along the Firth of Forth, about 15 miles east of Edinburgh. Absolutely nothing changes there and going back is depressing. Most of the people I went to school with married and have children with people that were at our school and have now bought houses in the village. The community centre is managed by my old neighbour, the neighbour on the other side owns the pharmacy, the window cleaner lives at the end of my mum's street and his wife runs the newsagent, the Co-op is managed by my friend's mum (my friend still works there, has since she was 16), another friend's parents own the chippy and the baker lives three doors up from my parents. It's suffocating. I never fitted in there and going back each Christmas, seeing the same faces working in the Co-op and pulling pints in the local makes me desperate to turn and run.

Pearlee Wed 13-May-15 23:16:54

I grew in a very famous University town. That instiution has always dominated the place, making it to my mind the best little city in the world.
Due to its size and relative importance it was not unusual to meet famous people walking in the street or imbibing the atmosphere at one of the many pubs.
I had a very enjoyable childhood playing in the street with my friends and jumping garden gates and walls to 'scrump' apples from neighbouring gardens.
I still have ffriends and relatives there and so go back fairly often.
The city has changed and is changing. We have lived in other places since leaving, but feel that the changes are for the best.

hlc123 Thu 14-May-15 09:47:50

I still live in my hometown. Feeling especially proud of our local community today as it was also Stephen Sutton's hometown so there are lots of events on to celebrate his life and commemorate the first anniversary of his passing, including 'Turn Burntwood Yellow for Stephen,' there are yellow bows on front doors, trees, fences, yellow flowers, yellow shop window displays, yellow non-uniform days at the local schools.

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