The Four Hovels

No. 26 Nursery Street was the house my Grandparents moved to; the end house in the street overlooking an area of the Londes which had been turned into waste ground at the start of the demolition of North Street in the late 1950’s. But for at least 100 years prior to the end of the first World war it was the site of four small one roomed houses and the Colonel Vernon Pub fronting North Street.

Anti-clockwise from back right we have my aunts - Francis, Betty, Josie, my cousin Mary-Lou and my aunt Doreen
Anti-clockwise from back right we have my aunts – Francis, Betty, Josie, my cousin Mary-Lou and my aunt Doreen

Here is a picture of my four Aunts and my cousin, photographed in 1931 above the four Hovels in the Londes.

Map showing the Four Hovels in the Londes 1875
Map showing the Four Hovels in the Londes 1875

To gain access to these back-to-back houses below my Grandads abode, you had to descend a flight of steps which led directly from the Londes into a courtyard.

My father recalling an Irish family that lived in the court told me of a visit to the Mulraney’s; he told me that you had to enter through the single door into the one and only downstairs room, there was no other entrance.

Inside there was a large open fireplace, no cooker only the open fire, and in the corner a sink and tap. There was a sparsely filled cupboard in the recess of the fireplace, a scrub topped table, one old armchair and a couple of wooden ones tucked in under the table. From this one room, stairs led to a single room above to the familys only sleeping are with the only form of lighting in the home, candles or paraffin lamps.

A little way from the houses were the communal toilet facilities and the shared cold water tap. These were the entire facilities for a families who lived in the Londes.

These few hovels were left as waste ground in the mid 1920’s and remained so.

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  1. Do you know where Philip & Yvonne Howe live now in Australia, I have an address in Greenwith Adalaide and have written several times to them but haven’t heard from them for a long time. I just wonder have they moved. I worked with Yvonne at the Eye infirmary .Wolverhampton in the 1950s. Philip and Yvonne came to my wedding in 1961 we were best friends, I would love to hear from them again. and wonder how their two sons are, Mark and Stuart. If you are in touch please ask them to write to me. Regards, Heather Graham PS. I worked at the Eye Infirmary with Roy Stallard, and have recently been in touch with him by correspondence and phone. good to hear from him. Heather

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