SEVENTY-FIVE years ago, you can practically guarantee that there was a party in your street, celebrating the victory in Europe.

The Northern Echo had a cameraman who toured round taking pictures, which were used in the paper over the next few weeks when there was room. Unfortunately, with parties two-a-penny, those photos weren’t saved – but, fortunately, someone in Shildon Street, Darlington, purchased a copy of the photo of their street party.

“It was just in a case and it has been with us all our lives,” says Keith Race, who was just 18-months-old and can be seen standing with his twin brother Barry at the end of the table (Keith’s the kid with the curious hat on).

The Northern Echo: Is this street party at Slaters Buildings which used to stand behind Bondgate in Darlington?Is this street party at Slaters Buildings which used to stand behind Bondgate in Darlington?

Shildon Street is opposite Morrisons’ North Road supermarket which was built on top of the North Road railway workshops. Most of the residents in the terraced streets worked at the shops.

Keith’s family – surname originally Spence – had lived at No 6 almost since it was built in the 1860s. Over the course of the generations, the Spences brought up 11 children in that two-up two-down outside-toilet house. One of them, Lucy, emigrated to Chicago around the First World War, and Keith is still in touch with her grand-daughter.

These families were much closer than we are today. Indeed, these streets were much closer, but that may be because many of the families in the streets were inter-related.

The Northern Echo: A street party in Hundens Lane, DarlingtonA street party in Hundens Lane, Darlington

Keith’s father, Ronald, was away with the 8th Army fighting in the Middle East and Italy from 1939 to 1946, and so Keith and his brother were brought up in No 6 by his mother, two aunts and his grandmother.

“We were three years old when he came back – I can remember him living with us because in that house they were all women, and it took a long time to get used to having my father there,” says Keith.

However, in 1948, twin sisters came along, and the family moved to a new council house in Witton Crescent.

People Keith can identify

Far left: Elsie Dunn “she lived at the top end of the back lane across the road at the top of the street”, he says.

Lady with jug: his aunt, Jessie Dunn.

Girl to the right of the moustachioed girl: Maureen Raper - her father, Keith’s uncle Bob Charlton, is behind her in his army uniform. They lived in the house behind. Uncle Bob is just about the only adult male on the picture, showing how many from this street were serving in the forces.

Woman in wedding veil: Keith’s aunt Jean Hutchinson – she had grown up in No 6, and the veil may be a reference to her forthcoming wedding to a Cheshire soldier, whom she’d met when he was stationed locally.

Tall woman to the right of the woman in the tuxedo: Betty Race, Keith’s mother.

His aunt Ellen Hutchinson is holding Barry at the end of the table and Keith is wearing a hat.

Mother holding a child: Mrs Edwards of No 10. Lady in glasses on the far right: Mrs Tallentire of No 12.