One of the stories my mother told me concerned my walking from our home in Lee Street, Hull to  Cavendish Road school through East Park. Though I was five, going on six, I don’t remember the event. Our family moved from Hull when I was six and I’ve never been back to the house which was my first home. On 24th June, I was able to do what I’d wanted to do- discover what the house looked like, and if the park was as I remember it.

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The bus stop on Summergangs Road may not be the same one, but it’s in the place I remembered it. 

The bus stop was a short walk from our house and the bus would take me directly to school. Initially my mother would have taken me to the bus stop, but after a few weeks or months, I went on my own. For several days, I decided not to catch the bus, but instead to walk through the park, cross James Reckitt Avenue where my grandparents lived and, what I discovered on Saturday, walk the mile to school. My mother found out because I bought stamps with the bus fare. I  remember the machine, the pleasure of watching the transaction of penny coins becoming stamps bearing the king’s head, and the soft ‘pad’ of the lid after I’d removed my bounty.

I wrote two poems to explore that experience following a workshop by Ian Duhuig at a Bridlington Poetry festival.

I have only a hazy memory of the outside of the house and I assumed I was returning to  a run-down area. Not at all.  The street is quiet, well-cared for and what had been our home very pretty.

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Our home in Lee Street, Hull

My grandparents continued to live in East Hull after we moved and we visited them regularly so I wasn’t surprised by its layout: -the boating lake, the bridge across it, and the water chute. What I didn’t know, was that prior to the Second World War there had been a conservatory and terraced gardens which were ruined during the 1940s bombing. The park that I walked across, where we played, would have scarred by war as much of the nearby Holderness Road and the city centre.

I knew the path I must have taken to school. The stamp machine and shop on the corner of James Reckitt Avenue had gone. I was surprised that my recollection of the route was accurate.

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Stamp vending machine on display at Inkpen Post Box Museum, Taunton, Somerset

The park was refurbished in 2012 with contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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The rare Wicksteed water chute is Grade II listed along with the original in Kettering. Compared to modern theme parks, it is a simple pleasure. Climbing steps to a covered station (not particularly high) shooting in a flat bottomed boat down a shallow ramp to enter a pool with a loud splash and excited screams.

I was pleased to see that the park is well used by individuals, couples, families and small activity groups led by adults- games with a rugby ball, scouts’ activities and each Saturday morning a fun run.

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Rugby posts around which adults teach the game to a group of girls and boys.

 I was delighted that the area where I was born has transformed itself and is able to enjoy a time of peace.

Going back  isn’t the same for everyone. I’d be interested to learn your story if you would like to comment.

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