These pictures were taken in my oldest friends family home. After his mum died Vince kindly let me photograph the house, a space I'd known for thirty-five years. Read Vince on his home here.
I was born in the front room and dad died in the middle room, forty-nine years later. In fact, dad was waiting in the middle room when I arrived. The circle of life.
The kitchen used to be two rooms, a tiny kitchenette and a breakfast room. They were knocked through some time in the Sixties and the ceiling was chocolate brown, creating a permanent gloom. Later, it was covered in Artex a swirly kind of plaster redolent of the Seventies. I’m reasonably sure this is the asbestos-free version.
The enlarged kitchen smelled of coffee and cigarettes, a cloying yet strangely attractive smell, when mum’s friends visited. I lived in this house for nearly thirty years. Time ground to a halt; as my parents got older they stopped improving it. It finally froze in aspic around 1979 so that’s pretty much what you see now.
We got our first colour TV in 1979 and that was the last nod to modernity. Dad was in the building trade, so he did all the work himself. There’s a saying; “A cobbler’s children are always poorest shod.” He spent so much time working for other people, he gradually stopped improving the house. It was over-taken by the rest of the street. It went from being the most modern to the tiredest.
Eventually it became a kitsch museum of tacky knick-knacks, gew-gaws and trinkets. A Welsh dresser so classy in the Seventies - painted plates and bowls, three china chickens and assorted coloured glassware. I lived among this stuff.
Dispersing the estate was a lucky dip of tat and treasure. What I thought was gawdy costume jewellery fetched a grand at auction. Supposed antique furniture was rejected by charity shops. I still have some of the ‘junk’ because I don’t know if it might be worth something.
24 Hinton Road was That Seventies Shit-Show. I was born there, my dad died there, mum lived there until a month before she died. I had parties, sex, drugs and Arctic Rolls there. But when I sold it, I felt no nostalgia, no sadness, nothing.
The house, though, had other ideas. I was clearing dad’s shed when I trod on some scrap metal. I got gangrene and had half my foot amputated. Like it or not I carry the scars of 24 Hinton Road.