Preston-born poet Darren Hobson has published new work that shares his memories of growing up in and around the town during the 1970s and beyond.Advertisement
Locations in Avenham, Penwortham and Leyland all feature in Darren’s gritty and evocative poetry.
In Hill Road South, Darren reflects on his journey from living in Penwortham as a youngster to returning there as an adult and living in The Maltings, via a derelict house in Avenham.
Another poem, Bent Lane Rec, describes getting wrecked and causing mayhem at the Leyland rec now known as Strawberry Valley Park. Tales of being barred from the Eagle and Child and getting into trouble with a bouncer at Warehouse also feature.
Darren, who has lived in Italy since 1998, still returns to Preston to visit family. Working for a large multinational company, Darren says poetry ‘gives him therapy’.
Here Darren shares how he got into poetry, his memories of Preston, and how life has come full circle for him.
“I was born in Preston in 1972. We moved around many times before settling in Penwortham around 1978. This is where it all started. I wrote a Bananas in Pyjamas poem and my teachers actually were amused.
“We moved to Avenham for a few years, living on the edge of Avenham and Miller Parks. I was always exploring, along the Old Tram Road, the disused railways, and down the Miley Tunnel.
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“We then ended up in Leyland. My poetry started to develop after school while I was working at Leyland Bus. After accepting redundancy in 1993, I spent the next few years working in and around Preston.
“My poetry first got published around 1992 when I saw an advert in a free newspaper I think, maybe the Preston Citizen. The publisher that became Forward Poetry selected single poems and published them in various anthologies – over the years I had nearly 100 poems published there.
“Living in The Maltings housing complex in 1995 and on low pay was the lowest point of my life. I was closed in a box, so I developed further my poetry.
“In the last seven years I finally descended into self publishing my work. I have around 30 free ebooks available and I also run a blog.
“I have written many poems about my life in Preston and the surrounding area, from Chingle Hall in my poem Lavender Girl, to locations like Preston Bus Station, Penwortham Old Bridge and now Hill Road South as written a few days ago.
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“The Preston I loved was back in 1993. I was always around the Dog and Partridge in Friargate and the New Brit round the corner. The Gatsby was a stone’s throw away and it was rock night on a Friday night.
“Now when I visit, I feel like a ghost and I mention this in some way in my poems. All the places I went to have changed or closed. I worked for Leyland Bus and Benson’s Crisps, both of which have now closed. The cinemas on Fishergate, numerous pubs, Fishwick Buses, the old indoor market – all gone.
“I’ve been working at home since March 2020 due to Covid-19, which again links me back to Penwortham when I was closed in at The Maltings, searching for an escape. Life goes around in circles.”
To read Darren’s poetry, visit the Darren Hobson Poet website.
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What do you think of Darren’s poetry and memories of Preston? Let us know in the comments.