Home to a lasting legacy

A modest terraced house that sits on a quiet one-way street amid a busy Sheffield suburb may look just like any other home from the outside.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 7:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd October 2019, 12:35 pm
Jean and her late husband, Ralph.

But inside, the three-bedroom house in Hillsborough is home to family history that has existed over the past century.

And 92-year-old Jean Longden has been lucky enough to spend almost all her life in the house as she happily continues the lasting legacy, generation after generation.

Born in 1927 in Sheffield, the former special needs teacher first moved to the house on Lennox Road when she was eight-years-old and has never lived anywhere else.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jill Demetriou

“It was my parents’ house and when they died, to live in the same house was the only thing I could do,” she said.

Now suffering from Alzheimer’s, Jean enjoys spending most of her time in the living room listening to classical music with her rescue cat, 14-year-old Archie.

“The living room is my favourite part of the house. I used to have a piano but I didn’t play it because I didn’t know how to play.

“I used to sing and my husband used to play,” said the mother-of-two and grandmother-of-four.

The house where Jean has been living for the past 84 years.

Her 63-year-old daughter Jill Demetriou said although some parts of the house were still in the original condition, it has gone through several changes over the years.

Built in 1900, the family first moved into the house in 1935.

It originally had two bedrooms with one attic room, which used to be the servant’s room.

“We never had servants, maybe the person who had it in 1900s had servants and it is now my room,” laughed Jill.

Jean and her dad, Fred Hunt on her wedding day on June 11, 1949.

She also recalled the time when the family first installed a toilet inside her house, after almost 30 years having to live without it.

“They didn’t have an indoor toilet until 1960 but they have an outdoor toilet. I still remember the toilet being put in,” she said.

The outdoor privy, which they call a ‘rose cottage’ that sits in the garden, is still well-kept and fully functioning. It is still used because it is easy for mum whenever she is out in the garden,” Jill said.

And it was not until the late 1970s when they had the central heating installed in the house.

Jean Longden, 92, has lived in the same house since she was 8 years old.

Jill said: “We first had the coal fire, and then we had the gas fire put in and now we have central heating.

“Before all this, I suffered the most because the attic room was absolutely freezing.”

Although the house and its facilities are slowly progressing towards modernisation, Jill doubted its interior would be getting a modern facelift.

She said: “I don’t think mum would be very happy with the change. Despite everything, if anything moves, she can tell straight away.

“Anything disappears, she knows. She can’t find a handbag or shoes but she will know if something gets moved around.”

Jill said her mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015, three years after the passing of her father, Ralph Longden.

Jean Longden, 92, with her rescue cat, Archie

“They had 64 years together. They did all the singing and performing together. She was fine until he died and the Alzheimer must have been triggered by the bereavement.

“She didn’t cope very well with the death. It’s a very evil disease. It robs you off memories, so thank goodness for photographs,” she said.

Jean and her rescue cat, Archie
Jill at their garden
The outdoor privy that is still fully functioning