Echoes of the past: Moving chance to learn about the area you live in

editorial image

Moving to a new house is always a very busy and stressful time.

With so much to do it will be quite a while before you can take stock of your surroundings beyond your own boundary walls and fences.

Yes, you had a cursory look when you initially viewed the property. Everything you saw met with the kind of house and immediate community you wanted to live in. Once you have settled in you might then begin to think about your immediate surroundings and street a little more particularly if you have an older property. Let me take you down Delf Hill in Rastrick.

Your street name just where did that come from? These can be named after royalty, the church, local VIP personages and members of their family. It could relate to a view of water even though the water it referred to has long since gone, well for now.

It could be named after one of the old field names that dates back centuries. There was even a street in the late 1950s that was almost named after the famous American pop star of the time, yes Elvis Presley was considered but thankfully it never happened.

Let us look at Delf Hill at Rastrick, the name Delf means a hole in the ground made by excavating. But has it changed much since this 2012 photograph was taken compared to this older one c1920s.

The trees now enhance the street, even more so in mid-summer when everything is in full leaf they certainly remove the blankness of the 1920s image. During the first quarter of the twentieth century there were four business in Delf Hill: number 1 was JT Shaw who was a builder, joiner and undertaker, number 15 was Hiram Hill & Sons who made shuttles. On the opposite side of the road was shopkeeper Tom Garlick at number 4 and finally Harry Firth who was a tobacconist at number 40.

The road surface is now a smooth tarmac road which is certainly an improvement on the crushed stone road surface. Interestingly the stone flagged footpath has been changed to tarmac as well. The drain cover is in the same place - no doubt some people may remember when the gully men used to come round and lift the cover and drop the tube in the drain to draw out all the leaves and silt. Some times and it was just occasionally the tube would draw up a few coins which the drain men would hand out to the watching kids.

Having looked out at the street and trying to imagine what it looked like a century ago the next thing of interest is to ask yourself ‘Who has been sleeping in our house.’ Researching the history of a house can be as fascinating as tracing your family history.