Home is where the heart is for seaside dwellers like Abi

Home is where the heart is
Home is where the heart is

More than half of North West residents have chosen to stay within their natural-born roots. Reporter Natalie Walker investigates the migration habits of Lancashire folk.

The average person from the North West moves five times in their life, but according to a poll by ancestry firm Living DNA over half (59 per cent) end up living within 25 miles of where they were born.

Abi Gayton

Abi Gayton

Almost one in four Brits (24 per cent) have lived 500 miles or more away from their birthplace at some point in their lives.

Yet researchers found that a high number of people stay close to home, with over half of all those surveyed now living in the same county of the UK that one or more of their parents were born in.

In the North West, this figure was higher than the national average at 73 per cent, suggesting people from the region are considerably more attached to areas where their parents came from.

Over half of respondents from the North West said they felt most ‘rooted’ either where they were born or where they grew up, compared to nearly a third who felt most connected where they live now.

House buying

House buying

David Nicholson, managing director of Living DNA, said: “Whilst the average Brit makes a number of moves in their lifetime, our survey found that as a nation we are still really attached to our family roots and birthplaces. However, our knowledge of our roots appears to be quite limited.

“For example, 18 per cent of people from the North West told us they have no idea where their grandparents were born.”

Despite the importance of roots for many, more than one in ten people from the North West said they do not feel rooted anywhere.

Abi Gayton has moved several times in her life - but has never left her street.

She said: “I grew up living with my mum and siblings in 106 George Street, in Blackpool. My gran lived next door and then I moved in with her.

“Then I moved out to the next street my mum moved to 110 then I moved back to 108 with my own family.

“I’m still there now and my mum is next door. My brother lives across the road and my other brother lives at the back of us and all other family members are within five to 10 miles of us.

“My gran had lived at 106 for more than 40 years. Her home was our home and it is filled with so many memories. Sadly my gran passed away last year and we begged the council to let us take over the house and pay rent, but the answer was no.

“It’s hard to think of moving away from here we all are such a close family and will always live next to each other or near each other. It’s how we’ve always been brought up.”

George Lucas, however, could not be more further way, as he moved to Canada 52 years ago from his native Blackpool.

He said: “I moved either provinces, towns or houses over 15 times. One of the differences between living in Canada compared to the UK is that a lot of the times when you change jobs it means relocating, especially when the commute gets to be over 100km each way.”

Online readers have informed The Gazette of their migration habits.

Elizabeth Humphrys said: “I’m from Nottingham but have been living in Blackpool for just over three years. I’ve moved about 15 to 20 times in my life and I’m 26.”

Elaine Edwards has been back and forth several times.

She posted: “I was born in Coventry and moved to Blackpool when I was 16. I then moved to Scotland and Preston, then to Ripon, back to Preston then back to Blackpool and back to Preston again.”

Lee Schofield wrote: “I was born in Glenroyd, Blackpool and I lived in three different countries, three different places in the UK.”

Ian Simon Jackson said: “I can see the house where I was born in the bedroom from my garden. We have moved seven times.”

Chloe Hamilton commented: “I was born in Scotland, but moved to Blackpool on my 13th birthday.”

Kelly-Emma Yare said: “I moved to Blackpool from Wakefield in July.”

Helen Barnsley posted: “I was born in Croydon and lived in Suffolk from age five to 18, then North Wales for five years, followed by two years in St Annes.”