Mile Oak

From sheep farming to 'infills'

Originally an area of sheep farming
Mile Oak, the northern part of the parish of Portslade, was originally an area of sheep down, corn and market gardens, with small groups of farm buildings. During the early 20th century, scattered suburban housing started to creep up the valley, along with a racehorse training ground and a firing range!

Demolition of Copperas Gap
Major changes came in the 1960's when the local authority started the demolition of the old Copperas Gap dockside community at Portslade by Sea. People were rehoused in the only open area available, high in the South Downs beyond Portslade old village. This area was already seeing considerable development of private housing , much of it in the form of bungalows.

The by-pass
The construction of the Brighton by-pass in the late 1980's formed a physical barrier which effectively blocked off Mile Oak from access to the Downs. This limit to growth means that later housing has been in the form of denser infill schemes, such as Fox Way and Hamilton Close The area has little in the way of direct employment. It is therefore a commuter suburb of the city, but with a high proportion of self-employed tradespeople.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I bought my first house in the very early 70s, just before the housing boom. It was a small end-of-terrace house in Thornhill Rise close to its junction with Chalky Road (I may have the road names wrong - we were only there 10 months! Note to Ed: a map on the site might help!). The house was leasehold as were most of the properties and they were all owned by one man, sold through one estate agent, and built by one buiding company. I can't complain as I bought the house for 4,550 pounds and sold it 10 months later for 9,950! I felt very guilty as I bought a much better new house in Shoreham, semi-detached, own drive and garage plus central heating and freehold for 7,700. Could such a deal be struck today?
By Vic Stevens (29/02/2004)
I grew up in Mile Oak. I remember the thatched cottage - was it on the corner of Chrisdory Road? A Mrs Painter used to live in it. I often wondered why they pulled it down. I remember the Canadian soldiers during the War; our little red bus, the baker and milkmen with their horse and cart. The rag and bone man. Broomfiels Farm was the other farm called Crosses? Kids I remember: The Wilkins twins, the Salters, Christmas girls, Daughtrys, Moores, Gebbetts, Burtenshaws, Kane brothers Thomases, Jim Smith, Jean May, Wilmshurst. I'm sure I could remember more but, for a Wrinkley, that's not bad for a start.
By Lynne (Abbott) Neidhardt (06/07/2004)
I was born in Mile Oak (in Stanley Avenue) and left the area in 1959. I went to the Girls School in Chalky Road and would love to hear from any girls who went there too in the early 50s. The names I remember are the Christmas girls, the Cothers, Anita Wilkins, Pam Harrison, just to mention a few.
By Pat Peeters (nee Bunting) (15/07/2004)
I lived in Mile Oak during the 60s & 70s. I lived in Mile Oak Close - right behind the pub. We used to walk up onto the Downs through a little alleyway by some stables
By Keith Harris (19/08/2004)
I see another Keith Harris lived at Mile Oak - I was there from 1982 - 1984, and also close to the Mile Oak pub. There was also a large waterspout that came ashore from Portslade and twisted through the maisonettes on Mile Oak Road before dissipating up on the Downs. No damage was caused except to a barn on the hills. Anyone remember that ...?
By Keith Harris (27/10/2004)
I just saw an answer from Pat Bunting. I knew Pat. Sorry I took so long to get back to the page. I did get back to Mile Oak in 2004 - Mum's 90th birthday. It hadn't changed too much except up by the waterworks and all of those new houses. I also remember the Salters, Thomases, Daughtreys, old Mrs Kane and her widow's weeds, Gebbetts at the post office, Mr Figgins the greengrocer, and what about Mr Hart the butcher that used to deliver. If you gave him a cup of tea he would drink it from the saucer. That I always remember. And let's not forget the chalk pit.
By Lynne Abbott Neidhartd (16/01/2005)
I would love to know what has happened to Mile Oak School for Boys where I went from 1949 to 1952 and loved it there.
By Terry Bayse (20/02/2005)
Hi Terry Bayse, I was also there from1941-44, I also loved it, the headmaster's name at that time was Mr Beale. I also remember other teachers' names if you're interested.
By Derek Marks (13/04/2005)
Hi Derek Marks. Of course I remember you, I remember typing the script for the panto Snow White on a typewriter at your place. Are you still living in the Portslade area?
By Pat Peeters (nee Bunting) (24/04/2005)
Hello Lynne (Abbott). Talking about the Chalk Pit - do you remember the boys fitting a cable across and we used to slide over the pit? I had to be very careful as my father used to keep his eye on me through his telescope. He caught me at it once and I was grounded for a week. And what about the street parties for VE/VJ Day and the Queen's coronation in June 1953? I still have photographs of these wonderful memories.
By Pat Peeters (nee Bunting) (25/04/2005)
I left Mile Oak Road in 1971, but I had lived in the Old Village opposite the George Pub, and I would love to know if the pub is still there and what No. 36 High Street looks like now, because that is where I lived with my mum and dad from being a 3 year old child until I married in 1959.
By Pat Burnham (nee Bentley) (26/04/2005)
I have lived in Mile Oak more or less all my life. As I grew up, a lot of the time my mates and me would mess around in the old chalk pits. They were located where the A27 bends towards Southwick tunnel just beside those clumps of trees. I noticed that in the trees are some outlines of a house or cottage. Even though the skeleton of the place remains, I am just curious what used to be there. I went up there for the first time in about six years just to relive some memories of what went on as kids. I noticed that someone took the pleasure of digging half the place up. There were also some rusty items all over the place. Anyone got any idea what used to be there? Does anyone know about the history of the site? I noticed also that the old burnt out barn has been demolished. Does anyone know when that come down?
By Greg (06/05/2005)

Do you know anything about Mile Oak Stables? My greatgrandfather, Rowland Stapley aka Farmer Rowland, worked there in the early 1900's. He appears in the census of 1901. He died after being kicked by a horse, I don't know his date of death but it is prior to 1925. Any suggestions of where I might find this information? Thanks.

By Mike Stapley (07/05/2005)
Hello Pat Bunting, I do not remember that but I do remember us all getting into large round-like drums open on both ends and rolling down the hill in the chalk pit. Also my mum (she's 92) told me the other day when we were talking about Mile Oak that she went looking for me at the chalk pit and she could hear some one calling 'Mum - Mum'. T'was I caught by my navy knickers on the barbed wire - and I was stuck there. Those were the days, I'm surprised that there were no serious accidents. Cheers from Idaho, USA.
By Lynne Abbott Neidhardt (22/05/2005)
I lived in Portslade for 20 years and a great 20 years it was. I am now 33 and Portslade / Mile Oak history interests me a great deal. Can anyone point me in the right direction on information on the firing range that was used in WWII? I have already found quite a bit of info about the ROC outposts dotted over the Downs and the firing range is my last quest. Thank you for a really excellent site.
By Andy Burtenshaw (22/08/2005)
Hello again Pat Bunting, you are welcome to contact me
By Derek Marks (23/08/2005)
In response to the query about the boys' school, I'm not sure but I know that the Sixth Form Centre used to be a boys' school...
By Dawn (09/09/2005)
Reference the firing range: it used to be our play ground for many years. I left the area in 1958 to join the army and last time I saw the range it was totally overgrown and fenced off. One forgets that trees grow, fences move and scenerey changes but old Mile Oak can still be seen in the centre of all the housing growth.
By John E D Cother (28/10/2005)
I was born and stayed until age 18 at 1 Beechers Road, one of the three Cother kids. My dad was Capt. Pat, he died this year age 92 in Central Florida. I have returned to Mile Oak several times, and hate the growth I know needs to happen. I attended St. Nicholas' Infant and Junior and then Portslade Girls School, in Chalky Lane, Mile Oak. Was a terror at school. I remember Pat Bunting, she was friends with my sister Pat. I remember the Elliots, Denmans, Fisher, Heinz, Patchings, Abbots, Fishers, Bakers, Mr. and Mrs Coombs, Earls, David Scott was a close friend of my brother John. Attended Sunday school at the old tin hut; Father John, then Father Gill. Sister Holland taught classes also. The jumble sales, the wonderful Ms. Stamford, living on Mile Oak Road, was always a help to all. The street parties, so many memories and more.
By Veronica Bentley (was Bonny Cother) (08/11/2005)
The old Canadian log house at the end of Christory Road, and the then Mile Oak terminal for the 15B bus, was the interesting home of Mrs & Mr. Painter. An apple orchard was on the opposite corner, with a huge silver birch tree on the corner of the orchard. The bus stopped by the tree then reversed back up Christory Road to wait for those wishing to ride out of Mile Oak for Portslade, Hove and/or Brighton. Chris and Dorothy were the names apparently of the Painter's two daughters, so presumably, they owned the road which took a part of their names. I know the Elliots used to live on this road; Mary, Ann and David (I think). Fred Elliot was a family friend of my parents and a community figure. The small estate of Mile Oak, with streets named after the horse connection, of the stables at the bottom end of Beechers Road and Mile Oak Road, at the bus stop called Hole in the Wall. The small row of shops, enough for the neighborhood during the 40s-50s. Then behind Joan and Ray Stamford's little black wooden house on Mile Oak Road opposite the end of Sefton Road, was a flower nursery. Mum used to send me there on Saturday mornings with 5 shillings to purchase flowers for the church. The Thomas family lived in the two storey houses opposite our home; Paul, Peter, Joy, Marion and baby Gretta. They immigrated to Australia I believe while I was still young. I remember also a family with the surname Lyons, apparently during the last year of the War, our family used to go to their house. I vaguely remember the staircase and playing in the cupboard under the stairs. I know there were many families in Mile Oak; the children were a vibrant part of my childhood summer vacations. Those from around the bottom of our 'block' would gather with bikes, scooters, whatever and races around the block were a fun event. The chalk pit behind the houses facing Mile Oak Road, and Chalky Lane, was off limits to me and my age group. Although I heard tales of fun there, it did look a dangerous place to play. During the snow times, it was fun to go up on the Downs opposite the row of shops, with our sledge and join the other families, risking all to glide down the steep slope towards the barbed wire fence. Dad built a large sledge and painted in bright yellow, it had brass runners on it. Once the pub was built life changed in our quiet neighborhood. People used to stay out later in the evening, and I recall a Welsh man who boarded with our neighbour coming home really late at night, it seemed, singing to himself, obviously very drunk. Walking to school during the times the buses could not run because of the snow on the hill out of Portslade and the steep hill down into Mile Oak, was fun. David Scott and my brother John, used to toss me into the deep snow drifts on the sides of the roads. Valley Road was still a dream away. We would trudge to school to find a large chalk board notifying us that the school was closed due to the toilets being frozen..and we then trudged back home. I have a photo of the class of Ms. Thomas at St. Nicholas Jr. around 1954/55. I met up with some of my old class mates a few years back. Julie Christmas life-time friend, from Mile Oak, and I have stayed in contact throughout the years. She told me of our girls' school reunion. It was fun to look at our junior school photo and realize as one said, the boys are all old men now! Colin, Robin, Alan, Derek, Roger, and so many more. I regret leaving Mile Oak, but life changes and rearranges us as we grow. I love returning, and yet it seems to have grown smaller, the streets once so huge, the homes so big. Now it really is like toy town, the old center. When once coming down the hill into Mile Oak on the bus, my dad said, "look Bonny, the lights look like fairy town"... I always believed my dad. I have lived in Australia, and now in Central Florida, USA...but there really is truth to the old saying: There is no place like home. No matter how it is disguised with new buildings and the heart of the past buried in growth and newness, Mile Oak is still my 'home roots'. Memories abound, singing carols, joining in the fun of bonfire nights, and dancing round the huge community bonfire. How many remember their mums working the land? My mum was one, we kids used to play around the old black sheds, with sticky sandwiches for lunch and warm fizzy drinks. I could go on for ages, as my mind replays the hazy, lazy, crazy days of youth and innocence in Mile Oak after WWII. I remember at the bottom of our street the first council houses were built on the bombed (I think) site of the stables. The Evans family, Patchings, and others moved in, new to the area but soon becoming a part of the life there. Bobby Patching became owner/operator of a butcher's shop. I believe his son now owns a hotel in a country town not so far away. Oh, the film slide in my mind of memories, rolls on. I best quit. For anyone who does remember me, the youngest Cother kid, email me at, would love to hear from you.
By Bonny Cother -Veronica Bentley (10/11/2005)
My famly have lived in Mile Oak since 1948 - opposite the pub the Birdcalls. Does any one remember Bert Brundle's pig farm or Henry Earl the greengrocer or the secret cave at the chalk pit?
By Gerald Birchall (10/11/2005)
To the person who inquired of Mr. Earle the greengrocer: His daughter Pauline is married to David Scott and lives in a bungalow that belonged to the Rowlands, just two along from the row of shops. We went to school together when the Earles took over the vegetable store. Thanks for bringing a great web page to life, I am going to submit photos this weekend.
By Bonny Cother -Veronica Bentley (11/11/2005)
Is there anyone out there who has any photos at all of the Mile Oak Approved School for Boys, i wonder? I was there on and off between 1971-73.
By Steve Howat (14/11/2005)
How lovely to see the Mile Oak page I have so enjoyed reading it. I'm Julie, the youngest of the Christmas girls. I was born and bred in Stanley Avenue in 1944, as my sisters before me, though Di was born in Southlands Hospital. Mum and Dad (so the story goes) chose the site where number 45 was built because there were donkeys under the pine trees. Two of the trees still remain, one was felled as it was said to be dangerous. Mum was a trained Nanny and was working for the Preston Family who owned the stables (paddocks) of racing horses which was near the farm I believe. I remember the MORA do's we used to have in the field at the bottom of Stanley, and the wonderful exciting socials held in the hall of the Good Shepherd 'in hut' always waiting to be asked to dance but usually ending up dancing with my sister or Veronica (Bonny). Both my sisters remain well: Benny in Mile Oak and Diane in Hove. Our darling Mum lived there till she died in 1990. I look forward to reading more news. Best wishes to all our friends of Mile Oak.
By Julie Lay (nee Christmas) (16/11/2005)
Now all three of us have made contact. What memories flood back. Lynne and I were in Miss Taylor's class when first attending Portslade Girls School.
By Patricia Bragg (alias Paddy Cother) (24/11/2005)
What happy days they were; social events in the church hall and the beautiful countryside. I could go on all day.
By Diana Christmas (07/12/2005)
Steve Howat: I have a postcard of the entrance to The Approved school.
By Tony Clevett (20/12/2005)
Have got in touch with the mile Oak girls. How wonderful to stir up memories. Any of you remember that American plane coming down in the field across from the girls school???
By Lynne Abbott Neidhardt (08/01/2006)
Just to let you know that the old Boys' School in Mile Oak is still there and is still part of Portslade Community College (the old Girls' School). It is currently being used as the Sixth Form Centre. I attended the school and the Sixth form from 1995-2003. The old buildings out in the play ground have subsequently been knocked down and the land has been sold off to housing developers. I lived in Winfield Close from 1991-1998 and my grandparents still live in Portslade. They first lived in no.83 Valley Road, Ruby and James (Jim) Martin. My father is Paul. They now live in one of the bungalows along North Lane behind Valley Road.
By James Martin (15/01/2006)
I lived in Mile Oak during the 50s and 60s and have many happy memories of it and sometimes go back to visit. We only left because my mother was ill and my dad wanted her near him above the garage he ran in Brunswick Street East. I went to all the schools there the last one being Portslade Secondary School. I lived at 279 Mile Oak Road at the top of Chalky Road (it was chalky then!) and my friends were Ian Ferguson, Peter White, Phil Burton to name but a few. I remember our headmaster 'Buff' Beale - he scared the hell out of me! And our PE teacher was Mr Slack (with his slipper), Mr Faulkner was our excellent Art teacher and I can still see the faces of some whose name I have forgotten! I remember the chalkpit behanind my house and the cave and cooking fried eggs up there (how did we do it?). And other happy memories are the fail up near the park opposite the Girls' School on the big flat area (now full of houses and flats) and the big bonfire they had every 5th November. The park looks much smaller to me these days....? I remember playing in the new community hall or health centre as it was just foundations to start with and myself and Ian Ferguson 'explored' it, and Phil Burton too. We often went 'up the trees' onto the Downs and up to the horses and even rode the ponies up above the chalkpit; Mock Begga, Ajax and Welshy, there was a fast little grey up there too - forgotten her name. The girls who ran it were Lynder and Diane Dumblton. I later joined the Household Cavalry and rode horses on cerimonial duties for a living!
By Paul Edwards (28/02/2006)
I would be really interested in meeting or talking to anyone who knew me. I saw Gerald Birtchel's name and would love to talk to him if he rememebers. We used to play together back in the 60s.
By Paul Edwards (279 Mile Oak Road) (02/03/2006)
Yes I agree - Mile Oak is not as nice as it was back in 50s and 60s. I know folk have to have somewhere to live but over building has spoiled it, I feel. The mish-mash of different styles up Chalky Road and the bottom of Graham Avenue for instance. It is where we used to play - I can still rememebr the sensation of being pushed down Valley Road shops by my mum in my pushchair - it's changed little and I'm now 52!
By Paul Edwards (06/03/2006)
Clare Green's excellent book 'Portslade' is well worth a look (and a buy). It has some excellent pictures of the Boys' Secondary School (now Brighton Community College) which I and my friend went to up till about 1969. There are pictures of it as a manor house with gardens and lawns. I went into the school a few years ago and the pictures of us 'old boys' are still hanging on the wall in the top corridor!
By Paul Edwards (07/03/2006)
Both Fred and Cissy Elliot of Chrisdory Road, have now passed on, Mrs Elliot in March. There are pictures existing of the Mile Oak Pub, showing Butcher's garage in the distance, the row of shops opposite, looking up Oakdene Ave before the pavements were laid. And one of what is now the Community College, standing in isloation from any surrounding housing, when Chalky Road was still just a farm track.
By Robin Hurst (17/03/2006)
This site makes super reading, many names come up that I can relate to! Please keep it going as It brings back so many good memories of my years, from the age of ten, that I spent in Mile Oak.
By Dave Barcock (20/03/2006)
I am sorry to hear of Fred and Cissy Elliot's death, my parents were good friends with them, not only in Mile Oak, but before their wedding days...way back when. I remember Mary, Ann and David Elliot also.
By Bonny Cother -Veronica Bentley (06/04/2006)
Hi to Paul Edwards, I too joined the Household Cavalry from Mile Oak at 18 (1958), but I was on the armoured side of things. Having lived in Coventry then Southampton since then I still feel the pull to visit Mile Oak, particularly from the hill above to view the original part of the hamlet we called home.
By John E D Cother (12/04/2006)
Beautiful in the Sixties - shame to hear its been built up. I used to work around there. My mate courted a girl called Hazel Ward - does anyone remember her about 1962?
By Bud (21/04/2006)
Since finding this web page and reading comments and adding a few, I have recalled more memories of a wonderful childhood. My mother was one of many who worked the land, for Broomfields farm. I remember the huge field sloping down from Mile Oak Road to the then Chalky Valley Road at that time. There was an old black caravan type shed used to store workers' raincoats, lunch packs etc. We kids would play around the caravan, making up our own games, or sleeping. No electronic games in those days. I have met up via the internet with a friend from those days, 60 years ago now. Seems an age. It is so much fun to recount memories of our childhood and teen years before life moved us on our way and out of Mile Oak and surrounding district.
By Bonny Cother -Veronica Bentley (30/04/2006)
Greg: reference to your note about the burnt out barn (5/05). The remains are of an old milking parlour which were derilict when the barn burnt down. Although several of us went to see the fire, we were not responsable. It must be about 45 years ago.
By Dave Spicer (30/04/2006)
Fantastic site. Would the Dave Spicer (04/06) be from Beechers Road next to my great uncle and aunt, Alf and Pearl Penfold? Further to his info on the farm buildings to the east of the tunnel: As I remember it they consisted of a two or three terraced, single storey dwelling; a well enclosed by a stone hut type building; a pig stye like area; a Dutch Barn and another building which could well have been a milking shed but when we played there I think it was used for storing hay. We certainly got into some scrapes there, looking back some were incredibly stupid. No fear at that age. I am suprised that Mr Bennet and Mr Hunt from Portslade Secondary School haven't had a mention yet. They were prolific users of the 'slipper'. My first introduction to this school was, I think, a French lesson in which the teacher had to leave us unattended. His warning was that anybody who talked whilst he was absent would be punished. He returned and asked who had talked while he was away. I think a couple of hands went up and one was selected to go to the Annexe to get the head teacher and his 'slipper'. They then split the class in two for a mass 'slippering' session on the understanding that those who owned up were 'slippered' for talking and the rest of us for not owning up.Those were the days and it certainly got our attention for future classes. If my memory serves me correctly they were pretty good teachers as well.
By Dave Phillips (10/05/2006)
I remember very well some of the incredibly stupid things mentioned by Dave Phillips (catapult fights, firing flaming roman candles at each other, etc. etc.) I'm amazed that no one ever seemed to get seriously hurt. I still see Mr Hunt, one of my ex teachers from Portslade Secondary School, from time-to-time. The last time, about four weeks ago, he was with his wife in Station Road and he still looked pretty much the same to me as he did when he taught us. Bearing in mind that I left the school in 1964, it must just be we've all grown older at exactly the same rate! I also remember Mr Bennett, the deputy head master and keeper of FIDO (the dreaded size 12, or so it seemed, slipper that was unbelievably flexible and painful). Catching the whole class talking after leaving them alone for a while was one of his favourite tricks. He did it to us once, also during a French lesson, and when no one would either own up to talking nor squeal on the others. He had the whole class out one by one and gave us three strokes each. He tired a bit towards the end and the whole episode became a good laugh all round. But he let us know who was the boss and it didn't happen again ( i.e. we didn't get caught again!). I also have to say that I agree with David about the quality of those teachers and all the other teachers at the school. (The only exception being a young Welshman by the name of Mr Jones - an English teacher, and I use the term teacher loosely when it comes to him. I seem to recall that even the other teaching staff wanted little to do with him and left after his first year.) Very often at the time the teachers seemed a real pain in the backside but, looking back on it now, they taught us to the best of our limits and instilled in most of us a degree of pride and a sense of respect for others. They tried their hardest to give us all the best possible start in life that they could. It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination and for that I can't thank them enough.
By Alan Phillips (18/05/2006)
Having just found this site and reading Dave Phillps memories of 'Basher Bennet's' famous slippering sessions, I could not help but smile. I well remember the account Dave gives of when we were left alone in class and eventually all got the slipper from Messers Bennet and Hunt. I couldn't sit down properly for the rest of the day, but hey, we pushed our luck, and it ran out. Just think of that happening today!! Anyone out there remember the fantastic cricket and football matches we had in Easthill Park and the old park keeper, Bill Woyin? What about the 6th Hove Scout Group, had some good times there as well. All I know is, it was great to be a kid in those times.
By Paul Laskey (21/06/2006)
I’m so pleased to come across the Mile Oak site with so many memories of my childhood. I was born, and lived all my life, at 26 Beechers Road from 1948 until leaving to start work away from home in 1966. Mile Oak was still very small at that time bounded by the Mile Oak Road and Stanley Avenue and stretching between Foxhunters Road and Chrisdory Road. It was still isolated and was surrounded by countryside and fields. The only solid link to Portslade in those days was the Mile Oak Road and the houses on the east side for some of the way. The road dropping down the hill into Mile Oak was much narrower then and I remember the twinkling lights of the village as seen from the bus, as mentioned by (Bonny Cother - Veronica Bentley, 10-11-2005). Stanley Avenue South was unmade and had the biggest puddles in the whole village as it was the lowest point. It was often almost impossible to get through them on foot or bike. The Wickhurst Rise area was a large cornfield. Chalky Road was just a track leading out into the fields to a place we called the dump where rats lived. We heard stories of how the rats would jump for your throat if cornered so we always took big sticks with us to fight them off in case we were attacked. Further out was New England Farm with farm buildings and a huge hay barn in which children had dug tunnels so you could go right inside the hay. The Good Shepherd tin church and attached church hall had fields beyond. I remember my Mum would take my brother Adrian and myself up to the Mile Oak Farm where we used to stand at a gate and watch the cows come in the yard for milking. I can still recall the noise of the milking machines humming away in the sheds. When we were older we would sometimes be sent on our bikes to buy wonderful fresh eggs from the farmhouse. The old waterworks just before the farm had a push button tap on the outside wall near the road where you could get a drink. The water works was rebuilt and enlarged around the mid 1950s and the displaced earth was piled high to the side of the new site. We called this place the Chalky Mountains. We used to go there to ride our bikes or catch lizards and slow worms which we caught from under undisturbed corrugated iron sheets on the grass. I was fascinated to hear the story of how Chrisdory Road got it’s name, I remember the old thatched cottage on the corner and how the bus used to reverse back into Chrisdory and park there ready for its return journey to Brighton. I recall one icy winter’s day watching the bus back up into Chrisdory, apply its brakes, then slide on the ice back into the middle of the Mile Oak Road. I remember David and John Spicer at 30 Beechers Road (are you the Dave Spicer of (Dave Spicer, 30-04-2006)?) and I remember Douglas Moody (and his elder brother Edwin) at number 22. Is Dave Phillips of (Dave Phillips, 10-05-2006 ) the David Phillips I used to know on the Mile Oak Road near the 'hole in the wall' bus stop? Your description of the slipperings from Messrs Bennet and Hunt were so painfully true. Did they honestly expect us all to keep quiet for so long when they left the class unattended, there would always be one boy who would start the ball rolling and within a few minutes a riot would be in full swing. It almost seemed as if the teachers took delight in leaving us for such a time! Did you go on a day trip to Calais (or was it Bologne) with Mr Bennet? I took a tape recorder with me and still have the tape of Mr Bennet warning us not to buy watches from any street vendors and telling us not to be surprised if we find a lady cleaning in the gents toilets. Do you remember when we fixed up a baked bean tin and string ‘telephone’ across the gardens between our houses? It didn’t work though because the string passed though the branches of a tall tree half way across. I remember a small white ice cream van would come around Mile Oak every Sunday afternoon after lunch time. It would park just down the road from us in Beechers Road and the driver would call out “Choc-aye-dee” to attract attention. I remember a small police box on the corner of Sefton Road and Stanley Avenue. Also in Stanley Avenue was a siren on a tall post, which would be sounded once a week. Presumably this was used during the War. I now live in Reading but occasionally visit Mile Oak. The noise from the bypass has spoilt the peaceful character of the area, the roar of traffic from the road passing through near the farm, which used to be so idyllic, is the unfortunate price Mile Oak has had to pay for the convenience of modern transport. But fortunately my peaceful childhood memories of Mile Oak still remain with me.
By Christopher Pratt ( (17/08/2006)
Hi Christopher - yes I am the Dave Phillips who lived in Mile Oak Road just along from the 'Hole in the Wall'. I remember the tin 'n string telephone saga well. I have been back a few times and actually had a shop in Graham Avenue for a while and, as somebody else remarked, the roads have definitely shrunk. If you go to Places > Schools > Portslade County you will see one of our class photos.
By Dave Phillips (04/09/2006)
I lived in Wickhurst Road between 1958 and 1968 - does anyone remember Sally and Jennie? We both live in Germany, myself for 36 years.
By Sally Murar (nee Bowman) (04/09/2006)

I went to Mile Oak School for boys, I loved it but was horrified to find out it was an Approved School for Boys.  Guess nothing was explained in those days or to young to men.   Was Mr Caine the last headmaster?  I remember Mr Yates, Mr Duncan, Mrs Jane, Mr Etoch, Mr Smith, Miss Diane.  Also school mates in Lewis house who were Owen, Wayne, Sam, Mansels, Rainbow, Allen, to many to list. Can't explain how gutted I was on going back home to find it was demolished.  My heart just sank! I'd be really grateful should anyone have any photos I could have a copy of.  All the best

By David Reader (24/09/2006)

I remember so many of the things mentioned above and a lot of the people. I used to live in 42 Beechers Road, with Mum and Dad and my brother Bob. Dad used to be the butcher in the shop next to the Mile Oak Inn, he died a long time ago.  My brother Bob used to run The Star Inn at Steyning, he was there for many years and has now retired from the pub trade.  I used to go around with Lorraine Finlayson, Susan Oldham, Leslie Hamilton, and Linda Cheal. Does anyone remember Father Christmas on Christmas Day?  He used to come around to the children to give them a present. He had a horse and cart and was accompanied by his many helpers.  Mr Ward used to be Father Christmas and my Dad used to be the big Indian that helped him. Mile Oak has certainly expanded, it was best when there were just the five roads, it was a real community atmosphere then.

By Marjorie Patching (27/09/2006)

I lived in Mile Oak from 1966-1972 and spent a very happy childhood there.  I was only 10 when we moved so my memory is quite selective, and it was mostly sunny!  I remember Chalky Road which was a chalk track and the playing field where I would hang upside down on the climbing frame above the concrete.  I remember the milk farm, in particular the smell.  I  remember the out of bounds 'adder hump' where I used to hang out all day hoping to see an adder; but all we saw was the farmer who would tell us off,.  There was the dump where I found an old clock and hid my secret box of different coloured sherbet I bought in Mile Oak Road. I remember the school playing field in summer, and the shops, where I would buy a packet of Golden Wonder crisps on my way to school.  I also remember the snow in 1966. We lived in Thornhill Way, a cul-de sac at the top.  Behind us were just open fields for a while, until even more chalet bungalows were built which then became a great place to play.  I remember climbing up planks on the building sites.  I bet you couldn't do that nowadays at the age of seven!

By Debra Miles (29/09/2006)

Hello David Reader. You write that you also went to Mile Oak school for boys. I'm afraid it must have been quite some time after I left, because the names you gave of the teachers are all new to me. I was there from 1946 to 1950.  I am sure it was much more strict then, than when you were there. There were no such thing as lady teachers when I was there.

By trevor whitworth (04/10/2006)

Hello Marjorie Patching. I can vividly remember your father as the big Indian with Father Xmas.  I have a black and white photograph taken (about 1953/4) of me with both your father and Mr Ward as Father Xmas.  If you could let me have your e-mail address I will scan it and send it to you. My e-mail address is:

By Pat Peeters nee Bunting (05/10/2006)

A little note to Marjorie Patching and her comments about her father and brother.  I knew both your Dad and brother Bob very well, Bob was a friend. For about two years, I worked for your Dad on a Saturday all day, delivering the meat orders using a big old black bicycle with (what seemed) a massive basket on the front.  This held all the wrapped up meat for delivery around, mainly Mile-Oak.   Then I would go back to the shop to help out and - clean up at the end of the day, a job I was not too keen on! This did not make me a 'rich lad' but it was most enjoyable. I too remember 'Father Christmas' coming round.  These are beautiful times to remember - I wish today could be something of the same (albeit I wouldn't like to pedal a bike around delivering meat!).  As I have said before, this site is 'BRILLIANT' keep it going please -and thanks to all concerned with making it a pleasure to read.

By Dave Barcock (09/10/2006)

Good day everyone!  Have only just found this site. Like to say 'Hello' to Bonny, Paddy, John Cother, Brenda, Diane and Julie Christmas, also Lynn Abbot. I used to live in Sefton Road, with Mum, Dad and my sisters Jean and Sandra (deceased) from 1940-1953.

By Alan Lyon (01/12/2006)

Hello. I am new to the area and am fascinated by the buildings in Drove Road (I think that's the name). It is the road that starts with Le Carbone. On the opposite side of the street to Le Carbones there are various iron plinths juting out from the walls which, at first sight, look like they might have been to support some kind of pully system. Does anyone know what businesses were originally there?

By Tim Stallwood (04/12/2006)

Hello Tim. Ref "LE CARBON": Before the War this was a French owned factory producing electrial batteries. They may have made other items. My father was employed there for a short time in the 1930s. I believe during the war years a light ack-ack gun was mounted on the roof, probably a Bofors gun. They certainly had a 'fire watching' team up there.

By A. Lyon (09/12/2006)

Thank you for your information Alan. Would you also be able to confirm that there was a brewery along that street as well? It would make sense with the two pubs so close by.

By Tim Stallwood (11/12/2006)

Regarding the query by Tim Stallwood in relation to the building in Drove Road. This is an old malthouse and belonged to the Brewery built by John Dudley in 1851. The hoists were steam directed and lifted the malt from the wagons parked underneath. This malthouse is now a Grade II listed building. My grandfather lived in the first house (number 33) in Drove Road, adjacent to the malthouse. When I was a youngster (later 40s early 50s) this malthouse was used as a factory of some kind.

By Pat Peeters nee Bunting (17/12/2006)

Hello Alan Lyon.  I remember your house, and playing there. My brother and sister would remember going to your house for safety during the war. My mother often spoke of your mum who must have been a good friend to her.  I am going to send a copy of your note to my sister Paddy and brother John.  Sorry to hear about your sister.
By the way, the Christmas girls are all well: Brenda lives locally to Mile Oak, Diane lives in Hove and Julie in Brighton - we have remained good friends through the years.

By Bonny Cother - Veronica Bentley (18/12/2006)

Hello Trevor Whitworth. Just seen your reply. I'm sure it wasn't the same in your day. Mr Caine was the last headmaster of the school as far I know. Mr Yates was the oldest teacher there at the time, always called us by our surname followed by 'boy' - "Reader boy".  The women were not so much teachers but called house mothers - also had house fathers. I'm refering to Lewis House which was a new part of the school and had a library behind it with class rooms. We did play in the court yard, one door leading to showers off the hallway, the other side led to nit lady/med room, laundry, kitchen and dining hall. All corridors led to stairs and dorms. In the court yard were the loos, next to that it led to an outside alley to Green House in the main school, Pevensey House and Arundle. There was wire mesh all over the windows of the court yard where we used to play headers. In your day I guess the sandstone arch with oak door that led to the hallway below a small belfrey, was open? But during the time I spent there it was locked and a display cabinet was on the other side with all the old school trophies in. Mr Yates would tell of when the boys in 'his day' were led everywhere single file and a cuff up the side of the head was standard, even whilst I was there. We used to go to the triangles and watch the mullet swimming about. When I went back the school was gone, swimming and gym were still there as well as Lewis House etc. The bonfire nights were something to remember - used to be a huge guy we made and a huge fire that even the locals would see. Bullying was rife as in most schools. It just seemed that whereever we went, the school was there, you could see it from Forthaven, see it from the airfield, see it for miles on the Downs. If anyone should have a spare photo or copy please let me know. All the best Trevor.

By D. Reader (21/12/2006)

Happy new year to all ex Mile Oakers and staff of the My Brighton & Hove excellent website. Would love to hear from anybody who remembers me from the Mile oak days and Portslade secondary school for boys (left it in 1969 - seems a million years ago now!) I left Mile oak reluctantly back in about 1965 due to my mothers illness - but still go back occasionally.

By Paul Edwards (31/12/2006)

Pat, Thank you for your detailed information. I am now in search of a book that may have some pictures of old Portslade back in the sixties and fifties.

By Tim Stallwood (07/01/2007)

Hi Tim - with reference to the two pubs together, The Stag and The George, I think they were called. I am not sure about the brewery, I feel there might have been. One of the local suppliers was Tamplins of Kemp Town. I believe there was also another pub on the other side of the village next to the shops, just down from the park.

By Alyon (07/01/2007)

Hello once again Tim.
I have two books in my possession, one by Judy Middleton called Portslade - ISBN 0-7509-1460-2 (1997) and A Pictorial Picture of Portslade by Claire Green (1994) ISBN 0 85033 8883. These books give me much pleasure and show many photographs (especially that of Judy Middleton), not only of the area but also of many prominent Portslade people of years gone by.

By Pat Peeters nee Bunting (07/01/2007)

Hello Bonny. Sorry about the time in replying, had trouble with the computer. Our family moved to mile to Mile Oak in 1940, from Tillson Street, in Kemp Town, Brighton,after the house was straffed by machine gun fire and an adjacent garage was bombed. Our residence at that time was the first bungalow in Sefton Road, opposite Dave Scott's place.

By alyon (07/01/2007)

Thank you Alan. So when did you move into the two storey house in Sefton?
David Scott still lives in Mile Oak. Do you remember the Figgins who had the greengrocer shop before Mr. Earle? (who came long after you had left) Well, they lived on Mile Oak Road, just two doors from the alleyway, between shops and bungalows. That is the house, David and his wife Pauline live in. I went to school with Pauline. Last class reunion I met up with David and his mother.
contact me - I can put you in touch with my sister and brother, who both live in England.

By Bonny Cother-Veronica Bentley (09/01/2007)

I grew up in Mile Oak from 1946 - 1963 and have many fond memories of my childhood. We lived at 35 Beechers Road. Have been back several times to see the changes with Mum and Dad. Dad sadly died in 2005. Mum is now 91 but is very frail. Looking through the various comments I remember many names - Christopher Pratt whose Dad worked with my Dad on the West Pier, Marjorie Patching whos family lived opposite, Julie Christmas, Susan Hamilton and many more. Mile Oak has changed. It is not the sleepy little village it once was, and I like to remember it that way.

By Jill Mundy nee Washington (10/01/2007)

I have so many memories of Mile Oak. I remember the summer of 1976 when I at the age of 11 would go to the bakers shop in Graham Avenue and get a strawberry milkshake from the machine outside - even a packet of oxo crisps by golden wonder. I lived at 45 Stanley Avenue with my nan and mum (Di). It was safe in those days to go onto the downs and wander for hours. I remember the shops in Mile Oak road starting with the Off Lcence owned by Doreen and Bunny, then the Newsagents, Mr and Mrs Scotcher, then Mr earle...even handy stores with Bonny. What about Vivo?! Den and Joan.
What a lovely site - I will visit often. Helen Michael aged 41 and a half now..

By Helen Michael (05/02/2007)

Mile Oak Approved School closed in 1977. Mr Kane was the head at the time with Mr Fordham and Mr Steer as the other senior members of staff. Mr Yates (Jasper) was still there. Other Teachers in the years prior to closure included, Messrs. Bailey, Shields, Clements, Eatock, Clark, Hughes and Newey. Members of the Care Staff included Messrs. Ambrose, Hammond, Lewis, Wright, Duncan, White and Mr Stingemore who was i/c Care. I recently visited the site and only the new school block (now boarded up) and Lewes House are still evident. The remains of the old swimming pool can be seen. The playing field is still undeveloped, and it is possible to run the old cross country course. What a shame there is not a published pictorial record of such a magnificent building.

By Steve Redhead (13/02/2007)

This is a lovely site. I have been the the Vicar here for the past 17 years and, have also, seen many changes.
Many of the people you mention I have known or still know. I have sadly had to officiate at many of the 'old mileoakns' funerals, notable Fred and Ciss Elliott's.
The Church (built after the demise of the 'Old Tin Hut' (so fondly remembered) is very active here in Mile Oak. I have officiated at over a thousand baptisms (not all on the same day!) - hence 'nappy valley'.
When I sit quietly in the Church, I can see the faces of all those lovely parishioners that have passed on - lovely kind people. I can hear their laughter and see them talking together in the quietness of my mind's eye.
Many are still here - the Beards, Brian Rowland (Ann sadly died). Joyce Jenner (her Peter died), Glad Finnlayson (Jock died) - Lorraine (Glad's daughter) is quite poorly.
The Christmas's were so much part of this Church (the family have since moved on, but I still see Bunny who lives in Carden Court, Chalky Road. I remember their mother Phyllis who sadly died - such a lovely lady.
Sadly, also the Church and it's grounds, suffers from vandalism and we do not always have a Police Presence to deter those who wish to ruin this lovely community. May God Bless you all. Father Peter Vicar of the Good Shepherd, Mile Oak, Portslade.
p.s. The Church here was consecrated a Parish Church by the then Bishop of Chichester, The Rt. Revd. Eric Kemp, in 1994. This changed our 'status' from that of Conventional District to a fully fledged Parish Church.

By Father Peter Clegg. (23/02/2007)

I read with interest the updated family histories from the vicar of Mile Oak church. Sad to read of the vandalism, I used to love attending the old tin church, every Sunday morning, with Sister Holland ministering to us, Father John, and then Father Gill, with Father Adams at the Old Village church, a big man, with a friendly smile. I was sad to see Ann Rowland has passed, I remember we had many chats, after her marriage to Brian. My mother moved out of Mile Oak many years ago now, but for 17 years I lived at 1 Beechers Road, my father was away on the sea for most of my growing up time. Captain Patrick C. Cother, and for a while the captain of Errol FLynn's yacht Zaca. I am now narrating a manuscript of his life as the Master/Captain of the Zaca, with never before seen photos of Errol Flynn and family. I loved Mile Oak, in the old days, the community life there, the church hall and many socials that brought all together. I am sorry to read that Lorraine Finlayson is not doing so good. Life does go on, but the memories of extended summer evenings, playing in the streets, rarely a car on the road and parents chatting over the fences, that was life in the slow lane. I have attended one service at the new church, when Phyllis Christmas returned from her trip to stay with me in Perth, West Australia, we had such a fun three months. She was a wonderful woman, and her three girls are truely the best friends one can have.

By Bonny Cother-Veronica Bentley (19/03/2007)

Hello Mr Dreader. Now what does D stand for ? Would it be David. I read your reply about Mile Oak approved school. It was nice to hear from some one who was there. But we did not cross paths owing to us being there different times. As I commented before, I was there from October 10th 1946 to Easter 1950. So house names and teachers had changed exept Mr yates who I remember very well as he was our coach in football, But very strict. I think I was one of his favourite boys. Although I had a couple of clips from him. It would be interresting to hear more from you how the school changed and what years you were there, or anyone else. So I will call you Dave for now. My email address is Regards Trevor whitworth

By Anonymous (25/03/2007)

I have a lot of family history connected to Mile Oak, my paternal great grandmother (Elizabeth Wells) used to own the approved school for boys, and my maternal great grandfather (Henry Broomfield) used to own Broomfields farm. I would love to know if anyone has any recollections of them.

By Pam Evans (26/03/2007)

My grandad Sid Christmas was one of the first men to build their house in Stanley Avenue. I grew up in Mile Oak. I cant forget some of the wonderful memories I have. I went up to Mile Oak recently and it was so quiet still - even with the bypass not far away. if I closed my eyes for just a second i could be back in 1973 again! Bonny - can I get in touch with you? Helen(O'Carroll)

By Helen Michael (04/04/2007)

I am looking for either Allen or Jeannette Parson who lived in Valley Road, Upper Portslade. Their Dad's name was Len, Mum's name, May - they were my uncle and auntie. I am their cousin and I live in Australia. Someone might see this message and know where they are living now and pass it on to them.

By Patricia Finneran (nee Morley (10/04/2007)

Would anyone know of a big house that was called Northern Lee in the old Village Mile Oak or were I can find out about the house. My parents used to live in the house around the 1930's. Any help would be appreciated.

By Patricia Finneran (17.4.2007.) (17/04/2007)

I was born in my grandparent´s house at 43 Abinger Road and lived at number 82 until I was 21. The neighbour at number 80 was Bert Brundle who used to run a smallholding / market garden on land just over the border in Southwick. Much of the land is now occupied by the cemetery on Downs Way. Bert used to speak in a way that I remember so well from my childhood - as if he was calling to you from a long way off. All the old people seemed to talk in that way and until I started thinking about it just now, I had forgotten it.
This is an excellent site and reading all the messages with family names familiar from my youth has made me very nostalgic.
I recently got hold of a racing booklet that has a lot of very clear pictures of what is now Mile Oak Road and the stable building which later became Mile Oak Garage. If I can find a way to post them on the site, I will do it.
Best wishes to anyone who remembers me or my family, Pete Scarratt, Puebla, Mexico

By Pete Scarratt (19/04/2007)

For those of you who remember the Cother family living at 1. Beechers Road, Mile Oak, the following web page links to my father's Naval career during WWII

Scroll down the page till you get to Lt.Patrick C.Cother, there is his history,and in the gallery, photos taken by my dad during WWII.
Enjoy, any comments do not hesitate to contact me at

By Bonny Cother-Veronica Bentley (19/04/2007)

With regard to the house called Norther Lea or Northern Lee in Drove Road - Judy Middleton's book 'Portslade Village' has a brief history of it.

By Tony Clevett (25/05/2007)

Thank you Tony for your message on the house I was asking about. I have asked my sister to see if she can find the book asI live in Australia and she lives in brighton.

By Patricia Finneran (nee Morley) (29/05/2007)

Hello Tony Clevett. I'd like to see that picture of the front entrance of Mile Oak Approved School if you still have it. My email address is:

By Steve Howat (06/06/2007)

It was good to catch up with all the latest comments this morning. With a name like Christmas we would be hard to forget. I remember Alan Lyon, and the Christmas that my dear Dad painted a bike red for me which was one of your family's cast-offs. Those were the days, I was absolutely thrilled with it!  Thanks Father Clegg for your kind comments about our dear Mum, she certainly was a very dear lady. I hope you are all well. It is a long time since we all sang together! Our childhood in Mile Oak is something great to remember and my knowledge of wild flowers is passed down to our grandchildren. I often think of one walk we were taking to the Dyke and on the pathway just past the farm we saw an adder, the only one I have ever seen. What has happened to the bravery I had then, collecting slow worms, tadpoles and other creepy crawlies? I'd be terrified now! It goes with getting older, I suppose.

By Julie Lay (nee Christmas) (13/06/2007)

This is a fantastic site. I have lived in Mile Oak all my life. I am interested in the history of the white building (house) which is on the west side of Mile Oak Road and lies between Sefton and Chrisdory Roads. Local surveyors claim the building was built in 1890 but I have Ordnance Survey maps of Mile Oak and surrounding areas in 1881, 1901 and 1921, and I have evidence to prove that the building was not around before 1901. I know the Elms house and the cottages opposite Chalky Road are the oldest buildings along Mile Oak dating back to around 1895-1900. I have a very strong feeling that the white house between Sefton and Chrisdory Road was heavily related to Portslade Paddocks. Could anyone help me with any additional information on this house?

By Chris Wilkes (24/06/2007)

Are you talking of the two storey white house? I know at one time a policeman and his parents lived in this house. It obviously was there before 1944, I was born at 1 Beechers Road, and during my early childhood, remember the house... and have many other early childhood memories of Mile Oak, and the "kids" who were my playmates up on the Downs... when it was safe to be out all day playing.

By Bonny Cother-Veronica Bentley (28/06/2007)

Hi every one, was anyone out there at Mile Oak Approved School, 1954 and 1958?  I remember building under ground huts, crystal sets in the dormitories, the caning in the gym, boxing at the dome at Brighton, the honey you could buy in the village, and trips out on the old green Bedford bus. I also remember a teacher who moved about like a fairy and was sacked along with the headmaster, the showers, the scrubbing of the steps, and other things that I would rather not mention at the moment. I don't think any one knows out there what this place was like. Please contact me at

By Anthony Roberts (Known then asrRobo) (07/07/2007)

I recently moved to Portslade off Mile Oak Road. I saw an unusual place called Crooked Moon somewhere north or north-west of Mile Oak. Does anyone know its history? I searched the Internet but can't get much info. I am relying on the traditional knowledge. To all those folks who grew up in Mile Oak, do you recollect anything? Would appreciate further pointers.  Thank you all.

By Ninad Chite (03/08/2007)

Hi Tony - with reference to the book 'Portslade Village' by Judy Middleton, please could you tell me where I might be able to get this? I have tried all the local bookshops in Brighton but no one has it.  I am Pat Finneran's sister who lives in Australia and I believe she asked about Northern Lea House.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (06/08/2007)

An old boy of Mile Oak Approved School was the 'murder' victim in Ramsgate today. Wayne Greenidge, a boy with a charismatic smile and a wonderful sense of humour, and a true friend to anybody who knew him (yes, even to his teachers). I noticed he was mentioned by D. Reader in an earlier comment. The 'Bad Boys School' also had some good boys, and he was certainly one of them. May he rest in peace.

By Steve Redhead (15/08/2007)

I was at Mile Oak Approved School in 1970 till 1974, met some good people there, staff included. Good days out in summer holidays; loads of memories.

By Barry Taylor (25/08/2007)

Hello Beryl, I would suggest City Books in Western Road, Hove, they may have it. I now live in Worthing and I have seen the book for sale there. If you still have problems contact me again and I will try to get it for you. It is well worth a read.

By Tony Clevett (30/08/2007)

Hi Tony,  thank you for your message. I tried that shop but they did not have it W. H. Smiths now have it on order for me. Thank you for your help.

By Beryl Thompson(nee morley) (31/08/2007)

I vaguely remember Wayne Greenidge, may he rest in peace.

By Barry Taylor (01/09/2007)

Hi Tony, just to let you know I now have the book and have sent it on to Pat in Australia. Thank you.

By Beryl (05/09/2007)

Well done Beryl, I hope Pat enjoys the book.

By Tony Clevett (07/09/2007)

Does anyone remember me ? Lived in Mile Oak Road (514) I think! Old wooden bungalow down from the waterworks. Around 1950 -1958.

By Graham Wells (18/09/2007)

Graham, I only remember one wooden house, at the bottom of Sefton Road, on Mile Oak Road. Clive Barnett used to live there, prior to his mother having a brick house built. How far along Mile Oak Road, from the Waterworks was your house? I remember two brick two storey houses, two "Wise" boys lived in one.
Then further along another two boys lived with their gran, not sure of the names now.
I lived at the top of Beechers Road with my brother and sister.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (30/09/2007)

Hi Bonny, thanks for replying,
I remember the Wise brothers Ged and Jim. The wooden bungalow where I used to live with my sister Pam was on the opposite side - approx 200yds down from the waterworks. I remember the Coombes who used to run the local grocers, she also gave violin lessons (which I only attended for the chocolate.)
I have read with interest all the above posts and have enjoyed going down memory lane. Did Bonnie marry a basketball player? If so I'm sure I remember you too.

By Graham Wells (04/10/2007)

Hi there, I don't recall a house on the side of the Waterworks, only the "daisy field" and a house built there, in one corner. Next to the daisy field was a rhubarb field. Do you remember my brother John, he may recall the wooden house. No I did not marry a sportsman, I married an Australian.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (15/10/2007)

Hi Graham, seems my brother does remember you and your house - this was his answer to my question on your wooden house.
There was a little wooden house, (single storey) on a plot of land almost opposite the Wise's, you remember Jimmy & Gerald Wise? The boy opposite was about Gerald's age and his sister a bit younger. The last time I went that way, just before the army I think, it had been pulled down.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (17/10/2007)

Hi Everyone. I've had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon reading through all the comments on the page which I came across completely by accident. Its brilliant. My Dad has always had an interest in local history so from an early age I've had access to books about Portslade and Southwick. I'm 29 and have lived in Mile Oak all my life and love it here, although reading about the Mile Oak it was certainly appeals to me. So much change has occurred even in my lifetime. The housing development over Fox Way where once were wheat fields. The demolition of the old Mile Oak Garage (directly opposite where I was bought up on the Mile Oak Road) to make way for houses. The introduction of the by-pass at the north end of Mile Oak Road. I lived next door to David and Pauline Scott until 2003 when I moved into my own home in Mile Oak. We are now in Oakdene Crescent and unfortunately the noise of the by pass does break through the lovely peace and quiet of the South Downs. I would love to have known the old Mile Oak you all speak about, it sounds a world away from the one we know now. I will continue to check in on this site on a regular basis to see what else I might learn. Well done!

By Gayle Foggon (nee Jackson) (25/10/2007)

I have just been on the Francisfrith website which deals with old photos of various parts of England. If you use this address: , it comes up with 6 old photos of Mile Oak which should be of interest to you all. Can anyone confirm where photo 5 is taken from and what part of Mile oak it is?

kind rgds,

By Chris Wilkes (28/10/2007)

I have just looked at the photographs on the Francis Frith website. The fifth photograph was taken at the southern end of Stanley Avenue. But according to me, the bungalows seen at the bottom of the picture were built long after 1950 when the photograph was supposedly taken. In 1950 (when I was a girl of 11 or 12 years old) there was a field at the bottom of Stanley Avenue which I used to cross to go to the Girls School. Thanks for the site.

By Pat Peeters nee Bunting (29/10/2007)

I agree with Pat Peeters nee Bunting, it would be late 50s, as the houses were built while I attended the girl's school and finished around 1960, although the road was a mess for some time after that. The pine trees were along the fence line behind the houses and up past the church and allotments. The "jumping field" as we knew the field at the bottom of Stanley Avenue, held many events for MORA, Mile Oak Resident's Association. I will dig out one of the photo memories.
This web page is fantastic and so many memories flood back.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (30/10/2007)

I stayed at Mile Oak Approved School from January 1966 - February 1968. Two very good years; one summer holiday youth hosteling around Devon and Dorset, second year holiday, fishing and camping in Devon. The rest of year we used to sail with Mr Fordham down at Shoreham. In summer, camping from Friday night until Sunday night, fishing (not the whole school, just 3-4 of us in east wing). We would cycle to the river and Mr Woods (Boney) would drop off the tent and food etc. Girls from the teacher training college would arrive every Tuesday night to dance with us. Every Friday afternoon, Mr Yates (Mad Jasper) would drive us all around Sussex visiting Saxon churches. He was also the art teacher. It was in Jasper's class that we used to make the Guy for bonfire night, measuring 8-10 ft. Everyone in the school had headphones by their beds to listen to pre- recorded programes by Mr Woods (we did have television in the common rooms). Never a dull moment. I have fond memories of most staff (even matron), Mr Clements the music teacher, Mrs Johnson mosaic and pottery and all the rest. We could even go to see Brighton play football on a Saturday. Mrs Johnson also used to take a few of us to the theatre in Brighton as a treat. Every couple of months the school used to organize trips to London to see west end shows and films. The good old days.

By Tony (04/11/2007)

I used to live in the white cottages at the top of Chalky Lane - it really was chalky then!  I lived in No. 279 from about 1954 untill 1965, right next to the chalk-pit. It's odd to look at the cottages now because they look quite different. My Uncle Charlie's garage used to be there. Chalky Lane was a rough rutted dirt track right up to the other side of the valley (great to ride your bikes along). Valley Road likewise. The buses used to come right up to Chalky Lane and they stopped near the park (much bigger then it is now). The buses used to turn around there by the girls' school and go back down in those days. They also used to get stuck sometimes when it was wet. As we all know it has all certainly changed now, once upon a time the Mile Oak Road only went as far as the shops then became a dirt track there near the pub (I only went in there for the first time a few years ago). As someone here has remarked, we children were much freer then and used to go up on the Downs and play with no worries at all and walk for miles. My dream is to move back there some day - dont know if I'll make it though. 54 now..

By Paul Edwards (06/11/2007)

Yes, I remember myself and Phil Burton walking up beyond Crosses Farm (beyond the horrible new dual carriageway) and going up to what we used to call 'Dead City' for want of a better term, that's what we called it then. Some old buildings and lots of corrugated iron sheets, old and rusty, which appeared to us then (we about 10 or 11) to have bullet holes in them, the old rifle range perhaps? Right out up in the direction of Truly Hill. One evening we found and carried a empty shell - not the casing but the actual projectile! It was hollow inside or I don't think we would have touched it. We carried it all the way back down to Mile Oak proper, walking along the bottom of the Downs we knew so well - where we all used to toboggan when it snowed. At one point we heard the distinctive call of the cuckoo - then there was a load bang of a shotgun - and total silence. Poor cuckoo! I still laugh about it now 42 or 43 years later. We dropped the shell not even knowing why we brought it - it just seemed a good idea at the time! I seem to remember the trail nortbound towards Truly Hill and Dead City - probably only a couple miles - split after Crosses Farm and there were two routes to take - it was a long time ago now so I can't be sure. Would love to hear from anybody around in those days 1953 to 1967. Oh, another memory has come to mind. Does anyone remember which doctor they used before the Health Centre was built? We went to see Dr Dixon, there was a surgery at the top of Mile Oak Road about where Stonery Road comes out before you get to the Old Portslade secondary school, now Brighton Community College. I walked up the short cul-de-sac to it a few years ago, it was totally deserted, sad and forlorn but still had a sign saying 'surgery' I think. I can still remember Dr Dixon visiting me at 279 Mile Oak Road when I had chickenpox and measels.

By Paul Edwards (07/11/2007)

Hi Paul, Dr Dixon was the doctor for all I believe as he was the only one near Mile Oak. He even made house calls, and seemed to always be on call. His surgery was a pokey place as I recall. But thank goodness he was there. The school health nurse was in Selby House, I think it was called, next to St. Nicholas infant school in Shoreham Road, behind the junior school in Locks Hill. My brother John used to hang out around the old rifle range with his Mile Oak friends, the Wise boys etc. We used to walk to the Devils Dyke from behind Crosse's farm.

By Bonny Cother / Veronica Bentley (11/11/2007)

That's amazing! I don't think we would ever have walked all the way to Devils Dyke - would seem like a million miles away to a little lad like me - although I regularly rode my bike down to Hove Lagoon. I was thinking earlier on about the old Mile Oak Stores.... remember it? I think it may be closed up now but it did spend time in recent years as a hair salon. But when I was a kid it was International Stores (seems so small now!). I went in there lots as a kid, mainly to get those wonderful bags of crisps with the little blue twisted packet of salt in - though sometimes you got three and sometimes you got none! You can actually still see in faded lettering the sign 'International Stores' up on the side of the shop today. I also recall that one day they re-tarmaced the Mile Oak Road down past my house (the white cottages beside the chalk-pit) - and who was the only person to fall down our steps and straight into the fresh sticky tar full of gravel? ME! My mum and I were going to the shops and my hands were all cut and bleeding - but she wouldn't take me back in to clean them up! The funny thing is that in recent times I've passed our steps outside 279 and can only see two or three steps - but I'm sure there where at least five there when I lived there, has the road level risen all that much in 40 years?

By Paul Edwards (11/11/2007)

Hi Paul, Re the hike to the Devils Dyke: it was a day trip, usually Easter time. The Cother family and Christmas family used to head out early, so it seemed, in the morning. And we'd have lunch there, as we got older at the Shepherd and Dog pub, but when younger, it was soggy sandwiches, and Tizer. Then I think we bussed back, or maybe we walked. It was a fun walk, and really did not seem so far. Julie Christmas was my best pal and we would run ahead of our parents and older siblings. I remember the row of Mile Oak shops, and the shop on its own near where Bob Patchings had his butcher shop. The "International Shop" seemed to change names frequently. I remember also the resurfacing of our road, Beechers Road. The big old steam roller following along behind the workers, and the strict orders from Mum: "don't touch yet". Sorry to hear of your accident, our mums were tough in those days...but we survived.

By Bonny Cother / Veronica Bentley (12/11/2007)

Re: Portslade School. Please could somebody clarify what seems to be a discussion about two separate schools in the above comments. I was a pupil at the High Street School in the two years before it merged with the girls' school and became part of the Portslade Community college. The 'approved school' mentioned was I'm sure the LCC school on the Mile Oak Road, and not related to the secondary boys' school, formerly Windlesham House.

By Ray Hamblett (12/11/2007)

With reference to the question regarding Mile Oak Approved School; it was an LCC school and not related to the Secondary School.

By Barry Taylor (21/11/2007)

Just stumbled across this site and found it great reading. I lived in Drove Crescent, with my sisters Norma and Denise. Went to Portslade County Infants School, St Nicholas and then on to Portslade County School for boys untill around 1962-63. Just moved back into the area in North Laine and made contact with an old school mate (Barry Martin) who has also just moved back. Reference to the approved school above, it was an LCC school and totally separate from the other schools in Portslade. Anyone remember me, leave a message as I will be checking this site  on a regular basis now that I have found it.

By Colin Harvey (28/11/2007)

I also went to the Mile Oak (Approved) School. I was there for 4 1/2 years, and may I add they were very, very happy years. Mr Caine (Leo) was head master, Boney and Mr Montgomery were the two house masters. Teachers were Mrs Williams, Mr Wilks (football), Mr Wilson (music), Mr Bailey (scouts) and my favourite Mr Fordham (wood/metal work.) I was one of the boys who helped build the two sailing dingies in the late 50s. I also remember a young lady called Cheryl. We used to talk to each other over the fence along the bridal path. I think she lived up by the church in Portslade. We also played in the old quarry which was just past the playing field. And lastly Mr Yates (science/art), he had the habit of pulling the short hairs by the ears. Does any one know if Mr Fordham is still around, it would be nice to say hello again?

By George Martin (19/01/2008)

Hi Tony. I was wandering if you knew of any more books on Portslade? Pat and I have read the one you suggested by Judy Middleton and the one by Claire Green - a pictorial history. If you know of any we would appreciate it. Thank you.

By Beryl Thompson (nee Morley) (03/02/2008)

Colin Harvey, I think I attended one of the St Nicholas schools with your sister Norma, I remember being very young and going to her house for a birthday party. Was your house two storey? Cause I can just recall playing under and or near the stairs.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (13/02/2008)

Yes I heard about Wayne, very sad. Hello Dave, do you rember me? Mr Redhead, did you hear about Mr Duncan? My email is

By Lee Mack (15/02/2008)

I lived at 12 Wickhurst Rd and remember Jenny & Sally Bowman. Their grandparents used to hold their own pantomime at Christmas at their house. I didn't partake but my friend Bonny used to. I used to go and look after horses down at Panell's Yard which was at the site of Southwick Square. The stales moved to Church Lane, Shoreham behind the church. Monica Hughes brought Welshy from Panell's and kept her in the filed between Stonery Rd and Mile Oak Rd where Downland Court now stands. Monica moved to Mile Oak and lived at 305 Mile Oak Rd and Janet Carmichael and I helped run a riding establishment at the top of the chalk pit at the end of Chalky Rd. Wednesday night we would take the horses to the youth club which ran at the girl's school and people we would take out riding. I was always riding, it was a great life. Janet's mum still lived on the Mile Oak Rd when I last saw Janet, she was in her 90s. The pathway that went from Oakdene Crescent ran between Mrs Stone's House and what was her daughter's horses field and stables. Her husband built the houses in Mile Oak. Today I have walked this area with my husband and son, past my old house. the memories of the 15B bus which I would run for and travel to the Co-op on London Rd everyday where I first worked when I left school. The I worked for the gas board. There are such lovely memories in this area, Mr Gladwin in the big house on the hill and Bonny who ran the shop that stocked everything, the greengrocers and the off licence and the fish and chip shop. The huge tree outside the Mile Oak Pub where an owl would sit up and call. So many of the old houses are still there thankfully. The National Trust is the same and will remain for generations to come. The fields were all around and although it has built up, Mile Oak Rd is very much the same in many places.

By Linda Packer (Rowley) (15/02/2008)

Just a little note with reference to the message from Linda Packer (nee Rowley):  I remember very well all the areas and places that you talk about, Linda, especially the riding stables up on/near the Downs.  Having lived in Mile Oak until I was married back in 1968, I frequented the stables and the Downs along with the rest of the lads in the 'gang', mainly I must say to be with the girls!  Lots of the names you mention certainly ring some bells as I knew most of them although there was one girl that was not in your note who regularly went there namely Diana (Jonny) Morgan.  It was nice to read your message, Linda, as so many memories came back to me.

By Dave Barcock (22/02/2008)

I remember the fantastic Bonny Cother! I wish she would contact me via my Auntie Julie (Christmas). I grew up in Mile Oak in the 1970's. I remember the hot summer days of 1976 when I was allowed out ALL day and didn't have to worry about what a child should worry about now. I used to wander up to Mile Oak Farm and play in the woods there with my brother Michael and cousins Alison and Chris. My Nan (Phil Christmas) would make us tea in the garden. Does anyone remember my grandad, Sid Christmas, who lived in Stanley Avenue but sadly died in 1969 or 70? My lovely Nan died in 1990. We all still miss her and she WAS Mile Oak. Everytime I am up there now I think of her and my carefree childhood there. Mile Oak was such a lovely place to grow up in, especially in the 1970s when life was so simple for a child growing up then!

By Helen Michael (nee O'Carroll) (22/02/2008)

I was born in 27 Mile Oak Road in 1944 at my Nan's house, Mrs Coggins. My friends were the Lintotts, Carole and her sister Brenda and brother Jeffery. Also the Jacksons and Mr and Mrs Williams at 25 and the Olivers at 29. Mr Lintott worked across the canal and we would walk down the twitten which ran at the back of the houses in Melrose Avenue right down Fishersgate where we stood on the railway bridge and wait for a steam train then to the canal and go across in the row boat. Yes we roamed the downs and the horse I remember at Panells where I used to ride was Mizpah my favorite. The horses in the field where the flats were built opposite the 'naughty boys' school were Major and Monty and Gipsy who use to pull the rag and bone cart. I don't suppose any one is around from those days.

By Elizabeth Edwards (nee Carole Newell) (05/03/2008)

Reading about the horses above the Chalk pit brought back many happy and bittersweet memories of my time living in Mile Oak. As I have mentioned before I lived at 279 Mile Oak road right next to chalk-pit and there was then a gate at the top of my garden (nearly level with top of chalk-pit I should think). It was then possible to just walk out of the gate and right over to the ponies - Welshy being one of them - I think there was another called Mock Begger and a real little one called Ajax - which I had my first fall from! I really winded myself and thought I was going to die there and then! There was also a little fast grey who's name escapes me now and I remember Linda was one of the few who could handle her. I was called 'happy' by the girls, There was a girl called Diana Dumbleton and I also remember Janet and Linda too. I must have always seemed to be crying in those days - the main reason bing that I had real problems extracting the 2 shillings and 6p from my mum to go out on the ponies - money was real tight in those days and she didn't want me to have it! Even when I couldn't afford a ride I used to go out walking beside the ponies on lead- reins just to be part of everything - looking out across the downs and out across Mile Oak valley. Back then it was possible also to walk up to the stables up the road that ran beside the old International Stores. Its now all blocked up by the houses built there and has been for many years of course. The horse bug did bite me because on the 29th of September 1971 I joined the Household Cavalry mounted regiment (The Lifeguards). Originally I joined Prince Harry's regiment The Blues & Royals. I had five months training at Pirbright Guards Depot then eventually another five months equitation course up at Knightsbridge and Windsor before starting Public duties at Horse Guards. I rode huge black horses and went fox hunting and eventing!

By Paul Edwards (06/03/2008)

I spent yesterday afternoon reading all the comments that have been made. It brought back so many memories. I still live in Mile Oak. I moved out for seven years after I got married but moved back in 1969. I live in the new houses now, in Heathfield Crescent, just behind Stanley Avenue where the allotments were. There are not many of us left now. The ones I can think of are Brian Rowlands, still in Sefton Road. Also in Sefton is Ron Salter living in the same house he lived in since he got married. It is the one next door to where he grew up. I believe Mrs Stanford is still around. She also lives in the new houses in Graham Avenue. Mrs Hamilton lives in Chalky Road and Les also lives in Mile Oak. The only person left that I can think of, who still lives in the bungalow she moved into when the houses were built in 1936, is Mrs Harbour, mother of Victor. She lives at the top of Chrisdory Road. Commenting on some of the things that have been said, my brother David Elliott, was only the other day asking if I remembered the plane crash by the Girls School. Unfortunately I don't, I was too young at the time, but he does. John Cox lived in the White house between Chrisdory and Sefton. I can't remember when he moved. The boys who lived with their grandmother, up towards the waterworks, were the Hemmings brothers. One was Ivor, I can't remember the other one. The grandmother was either Mrs Back or Mrs Beck. Mr Gladwin moved to the west country some time ago and Bonny followed a few years later. She died a few years back of cancer. I remember Sid Christmas as very tall and a very nice person. Of course he may have looked tall to me as I was so short. All the things Bonny wrote about brought back memories. I spent this morning thinking back over those years while I was doing the ironing. I can remember Bonny getting so excited whenever her Dad came home and we used to look forward to it as well as he was good fun. Sledging down the hill behind the pub, before it was there, used to scare me a bit as you went so fast. I can remember some of the boys ending up in the middle of Mile Oak Road before they could stop. I was too young to go to the Chalk Pit but my brother did. When my dad found out he banned him as he said it was much too dangerous. I think he got round that because he used to play with Geoffrey Harrison who lived in the house right next door. I see Brenda Christmas sometimes although I haven't spoken to her for quite a long time. Although the people up here are still friendly it is not the same as in those far off days. I know things always look rosier when you look back but, even before I read all the comments, I had been feeling a bit nostalgic for those days when we couldn't go to shool because the toilets were frozen as they were outside. When Mr Chandler the caretaker at St. Nics used to throw water on the ground in the boys playground so that it froze and we could have a slide on the ice. I think health and safety would have a fit these days. We had a great deal of fun back then. Nowadays the children can't play out like we did. It is more like a small town now with cars everywhere and too dangerous to play on the roads. One more thing . There has been a lot about the LCC school. Nobody would recognise the place now. The old school was pulled down and a new sixth form college built there. That is no longer used by the school and there are several roads of new housing built in the grounds. I think the only things left are the two lodge houses that were either side of the gates at the main entrance.

By Mary Smith nee Elliott (06/03/2008)

I have really enjoyed reading the continuing spirit of communtiy amongst people who have North Portslade in common. I moved to Drove Road 5 yrs ago and love living here. We have Judy Middleton's book as well as Claire Green's. It has been fascinating learning about the area. Has anyone has any photographs of the 'Bestwood Works' which is the old Malt House and small buildings around a courtyard that used to be part of the brewery. It's on the corner of North Road and Drove Road - I'd be very interested in seeing some. My neighbours and I are in the middle of fighting a planning application to build nine new family houses on this tiny grade II listed site which would destroy it. If anyone has any memories of Drove Road and the Malt house, it would be lovely to hear them and may help us in defeating the developers.

By Jane Fordham (06/03/2008)

Elizabeth I remember Mizpah well she was a very lovely grey and her mate was Heather a strawberry rone. I have a picture of me on Pimple a fat friendly black horse. Gypsy, Major and Monty belonged to the Stones. Gypsy was a small Shetland and it was Rhythm who was the rag and bone mans horse. He was the kindest horse around and when Monica Hughes moved from Southdown Road to 352 Mile Oak Road we used Rhythm on the cart because we had him as one of our riding ponies. Mr Hughes put so much on the cart he couldn't pull up the hill and we had to unload it and leave it behind. We used to make hay in the field that was the long thin one in front of the Boys reform School it was great fun as we had to turn the hay and we would cover ourselves in it and hide and we had hay everywhere he had this very old tractor and trailer and we would load up and head back to the top of the chalk pit where we would build a haystack, we had a shed up there also and we would cut the hay into chaff for the horses and we never did it properly and Henry Hughes would tell us off in a nice way. It was such fun. Also I remember the amount of lizards that lived on the course grass up there so many. I remember Ivan and Gary Walker who used to wear leather jackets and frequent up there. I used to go and feed the horses at 10.30 at night when Henry Hughes was working as he was a bus driver and never thought anything about going up there on my own. It's great to know people remember how it was like . I feel we were lucky to be in such a special place where we had lots and lots of laughs and fun. I also remember David Barcock and I saw Jonny a few years ago Do you remember Diane Dumbleton well I still have contact she lives Par Cornwall and has contact with Jonny.

By Linda Packer (Rowley) (07/03/2008)

I have just read the comment by Mary Smith Elliott. Do you remember playing with me when we were children? I lived in one of the bungalows in Stanley Avenue looking down Chrisdory Road. I was so surprised to read that Mrs Harbour was still alive and still in the bungalow opposite. I was the same age as your brother David. I remember your sister Ann being born. I know I read your complete collection of books. You seemed to have so many. I would love to get in touch with your brother David. I don't know whether he has a computer and internet but perhaps you could ask him to contact me at You have brought back so many memories of our wonderful childhood.

By Pat Peeters Bunting (07/03/2008)

Just as a general comment regarding books about Portslade. In addition to her most recent book "Portslade Village" can I say that Judy Middleton has written many other excellent books about the town. Some are out of print but can be found in some second hand bookshops like Bookworms in Shoreham. I would recommend "Portslade", part of the Britain in old photographs series and "Portslade and Hove Memories " both by Judy.

By Tony Clevett (07/03/2008)

This is a message for Pat Peeters (Bunting). Of course I remember you. I have a photo of you somewhere of you standing by the cherry tree in our garden, do you remember how we used to climb it and swing on the big branch. Do you also remember Wendy Greenyer, she lives in Berkshire now. We still exchange Christmas cards. There was also Barbara and Carole Burchell and Diane Tompkins and family and also the Ranns who I think lived next door to you. We still have a lot of the books that you read and my grandson is at the moment going through them. I believe David came to visit you in Holland once, probably not long after you got married. I will give him a ring now and pass on your message and e mail address. He works for himself so he has a computer but I will let him give you his address. It has been lovely to hear from you.

By Mary Smith (Elliott) (08/03/2008)

Linda. I remember Heather I rode her too. Rythym of course Thanks. I am afraid we moved around a lot then went to Australia I came back in my 20s so missed out a lot of the community.Fidget was another horse I remember she also bit me. Must have been the coat I was wearing. I seem to remember a very tall horse, a retired race horse and a little girl about 3 or 4 who slept under its hoofs. I was lucky to have my own brumbie in Oz but have not ridden since. Must start again although I am getting long in the tooth.

By Elizabeth Edwards (nee Carole Newell) (09/03/2008)

Paul I remember you well,yes we did call you Happy. How great you remember us and those lovely horses - Welshy who I owned till I lost her. I have some lovely photos taken at the top of the chalk pit especially in the eight weeks of snow in 1963. The horses had such lovely thick coats the water trough at the bottom of the hill was frozen so we had to carry buckets of water up to the horses who were very thirsty as they were living on hay. Mandy would love to gallop full pelt from one side of the National Trust to the gate the chalk pit side. She lived to a good age of about 39 we reckon or near to when Janet had to make the big decision. She had won so many rosettes. Do you remember Mr Hughes gymkhanas he held over on the land by the garage area on Graham Avenue? Every horse rider from the area would come it was a great day for everyone seemed to win a rosette for apple bobbing, sack race or more or less taking part. It was fab fun especially seeing all the horses. Also Conker and Delila who were stacked out on the land at the side chalky road. John who owned them lived by the cattle arch Vale road Portslade.

By Linda Packer (Rowley) (13/03/2008)

I lived in Beechers Road from 1945 when I was born, until about 1953. I remember the Cothers and the Christmases but Julie and Bonny and their brothers and sisters were older than me so we didn't play together. My parents were Maisie and Leslie Robins at number 6, and next door at number 8 was the Kane family - does anyone remember the terrible house fire at their house about 1950? We were evacuated for safety and stayed overnight at Ron Salter's parent's house in Sefton Ave. The other side of us was Peggy Humphries and her husband Jack, they moved to a bungalow in Stanley Ave around 1950, but both passed on some years ago. There were more younger children further down the road and we used to play in the paddock which was the field which went from the bottom of Beechers Road to Chalky Road. I am also familiar with the cottages by the chalk pit - Mrs Rene Jackson had three sons and lived at 281 Mile Oak Road. Her garden was really steep and us children would go up on to the downs all day or round the chalk pit.

By Val Booker (Robins) (14/03/2008)

Mary Smith (Elliot): lovely to see your letter. You did not mention your sister Ann, I hope she is well. So many books I borrowed from your extensive collection. It was fun to walk along the pathway behind your house, past the garages and the small patches of gardens. One particular one, gooseberry bushes, sweet to eat in season. My mum was friends with your father prior to their marriages and I know their connection through the Good Shepherd church continued for many years.  It was great to read your memories. I believe Brian Cox lived in a house opposite the tall white on Mile Oak Road. The Cox family had a brick wall topped by a very tall privet hedge, certainly giving privacy. Do you remember Barbara Fifefield? She had the most amazing dolls' house; she lived on the corner of Mile Oak Road and Sefton Road. And your school friend Marion Sherwood lived on Stanley Ave. Mrs Stamford lives in Graham Ave, I plan to visit with her when I return to Mile Oak in July. Clive Barnett lives in West Australia with his lovely wife Jane. It would seem appropriate that a "Back to Mile Oak" day could be organized at the church hall - anyone interested? I will be in the area staying with Julia Christmas that was from July 27th to 30th - would love to catch up with as many as possible from the "good old days" when Mile Oak was a safe playground for all the kids with Downland and fields, Tizer and marmite sandwiches for picnics. Violets and Tottle grass to pick...ah those were the days.  I remember the horses also, one nipped my shoulder as I bent in front of it to get a handful of grass.  I remember Val Booker (Robins) family. Your mother loved my long hair (prior to my dad chopping it off, due to me crying over the tangles). Julie and I were only a year older than you and our Mum's were close friends, so maybe that is why we did not play together, Val? I think you had a male cousin stay with you for a short time, a very good looking one, who caught the eye of my sister and her friend Brenda Christmas, for a brief time. Do you remember the Harvey's - they moved into No. 4, they had a son Lawrence and had a room built up in the roof space.  I do remember the fire at the Canes - frightening to see the red of the flames reflected in my bedroom. My Dad went over to help put it out. I was scared for years that our house would catch fire.  If you read back through the letters you will find a web page put together by Tony Drury, detailing my father's life through WWII.  I have since put together a journal of my father's life as the Captain of Errol Flynn's yacht Zaca during 1956-57. This has photos, letters to and from EF and extracts from the log book, it is most interesting. Anyone who remembers me and wants to email, please do, I love going down memory lane, it is surprising just how many memories return once one is on that track.  What about the huge bonfires on Guy Fawkes night? The M.O.R.A. Mile Oak Residents Association socials and fun times.  Happy Easter to you all.

By Bonny Cother/Veronica Bentley (22/03/2008)

A note to Pat Peeters (Bunting), Veronica Bentley (Bonny Cother) et al - I was informed about this site about two weeks ago and have read it from beginning to end - it brings back many memories. As Bonny is younger than both myself and Pat she may not remember some of the following although Paddy may remember.
Pat mentions the cable across the chalk pit - I remember with others finding the cable in the bottom of the chalk pit, lugging it to the top and somehow anchoring it at the top end, dragging it down and across to the side, fixing it at the bottom end to a bedstead in order to raise the cable above the side of the chalk pit. Then many of us slid at speed across the cable on bucket handles etc suspended way above the bottom of the chalk pit (no Health & Safety then or Risk Assessments, only children enjoying themselves)
There was mention of the bomber landing in the field behind the bottom of Stanley Avenue having missed the girls' school and stopping short of the tall trees. The plane was riddled with holes having returned from a sortie. I like many of us was taken to look at the plane - it was dismantled and loaded onto lorries which had a problem negotiating the tight corner due to their length by the tithe barn (long since demolished) in the old village. Does anyone remember Mile Oak being totally filled with Bren Gun carriers, lorries, tanks etc all awaiting despatch in the few days prior to the D Day landings? I can remember the garages behind Chrisdory Road being used by the soldiers preparing food etc while they waited - I was given a large bun by the soldiers (or it seemed large to me at the time only being approx. 5) Do you remember the prisoners of war marching down Mile Oak Road having finished work on the farm? There was mention of the rifle range, whether this was ever demolished or has just been taken back by nature I don't know. This was a long concrete trench at the end of the valley, memory suggests this was 50'0" to 60'0" long about 4'0" wide and deep enough for a man to stand in so that they could raise or lower the targets.
The small red bus that Pat remembers as number 9 used to run from Portslade station to Mile Oak often dropping people off outside their house. It had been known for the driver to collect shopping in Portslade for some of the residents.
The Baker with his horse would often sit outside our house doing his paper work before setting off home, the horse often left his mark and as soon as they left the lady opposite rushed out with a bucket and spade, collected the droppings and fed the rose bushes.
The pig farm overlooked Mile Oak Road, the foot path that ran up beside it still exists, and the delightful smell often wafted across Mile Oak when the wind was in the right direction.
Bonny mentions the bonfires that we used to build in the paddock opposite the shops, they were often a horendous size and gave out tremendous heat and were enjoyed by one and all.
Does anyone remember the 'Beetle Drives' etc that used to be held in the church hall. Pat may well remember the plays that we put on in the hall and where we attemped to sing (mime) to the songs.
The thatched cottage on the corner of Chrisdory Road, occupied by Mr & Mrs Painter always looked overgrown as was the orchard opposite where we often tried scrumping only to be shouted at by Mrs Painter. I can always remember her leaning on the side gate waiting to catch us.
There used to be tennis courts between the shops and the 'Hole in the Wall' prior to the council houses being built - does anyone remember them?
Enough for now.

By David Elliott (25/03/2008)

Amazing Linda, that you remember me - I don't ever even remember us exchanging two words together. But I do recall you in your white mack or jacket, blue jeans and riding boots. I remember having a pair of jodhpurs boots that nearly crippled me. I was down in Mile Oak yesterday and wondered around and went right up to the gate on top of the downs where the stables used to be - it''s so over grown now. I am amazed that Mandy lived to 39. Astonished! The eldest horse I ever knew was in our barracks at Knightsbridge and he was 23 and really grey around his muzzle. I took some pictures of the area with my camphone and as soon as I get them on the net I will post a link. There is also a couple of my house right next to the chalk pit - to the right of it.

If you are still in touch with Dian D could you remember me to her? I do remember talking to her. I hate the way Mile Oak has changed now but I guess things have to progress.. Thanks Linda. Paul Edwards; Please print my email address: I now live in Horley Surrey. x

By Paul Edwards (25/03/2008)

To Val Booker: It's funny you should mention 281 Mile Oak Road, the cottages left of the chalk pit. As I have mentioned in my previous notes on here I lived at 279 and strangely enough I also remember the Jackson family next door - they used to baby sit me quite a lot when I was little. I remember two of the sons, Markus and Terry, also the 'Old man' Charlie who had the little garage on the far left end of the cottages which now has an extension on it that looks like it was always there - same architecture as rest of building, but it was not there when I lived there so it fairly recent. There were a couple of really nice old ladies in the first cottage then, never did know their names - and the end cottages nearest the chalk pit there was a Ms or Mrs Penny, a very nice lady who looked after me on one occasion. I remember there were some nice shady trees at the entrance of the chalk pit, gone now.

I remember in the Jackson household there was a huge (to me) rocking horse and also a miner bird in a cage that seemed fluent in English and amazed us all. I rode the rocking horse many times as a kid. People seemed so much more friendly then then they do now don't you think? I have a very happy dream like memory of Markus running through the golden cornfield across the road (Houses on it now) me on his back and a big red harvest moon coming up over the eastern horizon one summers evening so long ago now.

By Paul Edwards (25/03/2008)

Hello David Elliott. I most certainly remember most of the incidents that you mentioned in your contribution. I too can still see the Prisoners of War marching up and down Chrisdory Road, coming and going to Broomfields Farm. I also remember receiving sweets from one of the prisoners, which was a treat then as sugar (and sweets) were still on ration. Do you remember Oscar the German prisoner of War that stayed behind when they all returned to Germany? He lived over at New England Farm in a cottage and worked on the land. I also remember the pig farm. I can still see my poor old Dad (in Springtime) lugging a wheelbarrow up and down Chrisdory Road with pig manure for his garden. And also the vivid memory of the times up Mile Oak Farm with Howard Cross and family. I can still see you now behind the wheel of one or other tractor and us girls in the back feeding the cows in the winter with turnips. What times we had. The 'Beetle Drives' I can also remember. They were on a Wednesday evening and we all went - mothers and sons and daughters. Also the Social evenings. It was our only entertainment in those far-off days. Also the plays and pantomimes we did for the old folk. I remember us doing 'Snow White' and my Dad (being a carpenter) made the glass coffin for Snow White. And do you remember going carol singing on Xmas Eve, the whole Youth Club gathered around the lamp-post singing our hearts out, the proceeds going to some charity or other. What times we had.

By Pat Peeters Bunting (26/03/2008)

Bonny/Veronica Bently, It was lovely to hear back from you. I think a get together would be a good idea. I do remember Brian Cox and the hedge round his bungalow. As he was older than me I didn't have a lot to do with him. John Cox lived opposite in the white house but I don't think they were related. I lost touch with Barbara Fifield and Marian Sherwood some years back. I didn't hear from Barbara much after her mum died. Marian married a road engineer, I believe. (That probably isn't what you call them). She moved abroad for a few years after she married and then moved around over here quite a bit. Although I hadn't been in touch with her for some time, her mother and father still lived in Stanley Avenue. Mr Sherwood died a few years back and within the last couple of years Mrs Sherwood moved to be near Marian. She hadn't been too well for a few years so Marian thought it best if she moved near to them in the West Country. Hope to hear a bit more about a get together soon.

By Mary Smith (Elliott) (28/03/2008)

Just reading about the horses at the top of the Chalk Pit. I remember Welshy, the Welsh Cob, Mockbeggar Goldflake, and little Gypsy, the Shetland. I was told she was about 30 years old in about 1965. There was also a grey (white) hunter, whose name escapes me (Silver?). I used to ride Kim, the grey Arab. I still have some of his hair in the pocket of my ancient jodphurs. He moved up to Truleigh Hill, where I sometimes rode. I also rode at the 'Stones', but don't remember the names of any of the horses and also rode at the Old Village stables. Before we moved to Thornhill Rise in 1965, there was another horse called Irish Lace, but I don't know what happened to it. Memories, eh?

By Renia Simmonds nee Lambor (30/03/2008)

Renia, Welshy, Mandy, Mocky and Ajax, were the horses we ran at the riding stables up the chalkpit. We also had Lagar and Rythmn before Mocky, They were such kind horses. The Stones owned Silver, Pixie, Gypsy and Roma, Silver's foal. Leslie Flowers owned Truman, Lady, Kim, and a lovely Russian horse who she brought to Upper Beeding where she moved to after living with her parents at Truleigh Hill. I rode Kim to a gymkhana at Dyke Road and he reigned up, thankfully I fell off for he went right over and broke his saddle. My friend Diane used to ride him also, he was very fast and fat.

By Linda Packer (nee Rowley) (31/03/2008)

Hi David and Mary, Lovely to hear/see from you. The rifle range trench you mention David, is totally overgrown, John and I did a back to Mile Oak nostalgic walk several years back, and we searched that area. Much of the landscape is changed now. We walked along the top of the downs overlooking the old and new Mile chased by cows. They never charge, John assured me they were just curious, I was not convinced. The Beetle drives were great fun, and the "older" generation kept a watchful eye on us kids. I remember your father showing films at the socials, or maybe there were special film evenings. Do you all remember the lady in Sefton Road who took photos of us kids? Eumin Eyels (I think spelling is correct), she was an art teacher also. I wonder if Ms. Painter's garden ever was tidy, it certainly was large, and do you remember the huge silver birch tree on the corner of the orchard opposite? So many happy memories of our childhood in Mile Oak, I have mailed off a letter to the minister a the church, to find out if we would be able to use the hall as a venue for a get back to Mile Oak celebration on July 27/28... Mary if you want to follow up with him that is fine by me. I am in central Florida at this time, so distance makes it slightly difficult to organize; all help welcome. PS how is your sister Ann?

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (31/03/2008)

Linda, I seem to remember your married name but not your maiden name! Kim was half-broken but Lesley Flowers wanted to train us together so I rode him on the Downs for a while until Lesley decided to get married and I never saw her again. This was about 1966. But I used to visit Kim up at Truleigh Hill. Lesley lived at Melrose Ave. Kim was my first true love! I have a photo of him and of Silver and Mocky but they're not very good. Do you remember Irish Lace, about 1963? I don't remember there being riding stables at the chalkpit. The horses were just ther! I visited them most days for years and could also see them out of my bedroom window in Thornhill Rise. I longed for binoculars!

By Renia Simmonds (nee Lambor) (02/04/2008)

Hi Bonny, just a quick note. I will be in touch soon. As far as we can remember Mrs Painter's garden was always untidy. I remember sneaking in there to get dandelions and chickweed for our guinea pig. Sorry I didn't mention Anne last time. She is well and living in Hangleton at the moment. She says she will try to come to the reunion.

By Mary Smith/Elliott (02/04/2008)

Renia, I remember Lacey, a Dapple Grey she belonged to Fay didn't she? She kept her up at the end of Mile Oak road with some others, I can't remember the other horses names. The field was opposite the old piggery along there, where a large amount of houses have now been built. Fay, I think she lives in my area as I see her in Steyning sometimes.

By Linda Packer (Rowley) (04/04/2008)

Well Mile Oak what fun we used to have. The chalk pit was a nightmare really. I'm surprised that none of us were severely injured. I lived at 378 Mile Oak Road on the corner of Sefton Road there was the Moore family. I remember Michael and there was another brother Douglas maybe? I remember they had white bull terriers. My cousins the Gebbetts lived down Stanley Avenue .Anyone remember Ms Sainty/Dolly Dickens? I do remember the plane coming down by the girls school - what excitement that was. I remember Mr BroomField. I used love walking from the village to Mile Oak through the farm. And of course old Mother Painter, funny old duck she was. I got to go in her house because her neice came to visit and we played together. How about Lizzie Weller with her pigs? She was across the street from us but way back in the field. There was also a John Beck who lived in that same area. There were also the Kercher boys. I remember Tommy Ruff he was prisoner of war held by the Japanese. I also remember the Lyons
Anyway these may be names that you do not know I am a little ancient now. My mother Mrs Abbott is still hanging on but just, at the age of 95.She could tell us some tales if she were in better health. Brenda Christmas I send greetings and to anyone else I used play with. Cheers Lynne Over the Pond
PS I forgot about Mr and Mrs Coombs our grocery store.

By Lynne (Abbott) Neidhardt (07/04/2008)

Just a short note do you remember Bunny and Doreen Coombes, the couple who owned the Off License and grocery story on Mile Oak road?
Well Doreen is still alive and of course now in her 90s; what memories that grand lady would have of our Mile Oak. I remembered my mother telling me that the 'Woolley' family from Sefton road bungalows, pulled their piano out into the street and there was a great party to celebrate the end of the war; singing, dancing and no doubt some alcohol. Until the pub was built I guess the Off License supplied the needs for Mile Oak. That certainly was the good old days.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (08/04/2008)

Hello Paul Edwards, it seems strange reading about Mile Oak Road after all these years. I used to play with Marcus and Terry Jackson (they were a bit younger than me) - we used to clamber down the old chalk pit, it was all bits of rusted metal. And yes, I rode 'Dobbin' the rocking horse which took up most of the front room. Mrs Jackson was a good soul. She had very little money but provided shelter to Mrs Kane after the fire in Beechers Road. In the early 1950s my father had to sell up to clear debts as his garage business was not bringing in any money (petrol was still on ration). Again, Mrs Jackson provided home for my mum and my sister (a little baby then). We later got an old house in South Portslade. To Bonny: I think I was a bit in awe of you girls, even just a year older than me, you all seemed very grown up! I was quite small for my age (still am!!) and could never work out why Leonard Harvey next door in Beechers Rd was not at the same level of understanding and speech as me. He was only four, but a tall child, and I was seven and not much bigger. I am afraid I gave him a wallop one day when he poked the eyes in one of my dolls! Those were the days, happy imaginative games, free to play outside. I really think we were better off then without lots of toys - we created our own fun. The reunion sounds a wonderful idea - I will try to come along.

By Val (Robins) (08/04/2008)

I remember a Ms Lyle, (was it?) who started a little private school in her bungalow almost across the street from the Thomas family at the top of Sefton Road. The woman looked like a man. I know I
I did not stay long, I climbed out the bathroom window and went home; I don't think I never went back. Hard to believe Mrs Combs is still alive; how many kids climbed over their back fence stole their beer bottles and took them back in the shop for a penny? Seems like we used to call one of those Kane boys Tinker. One of our Home Gaurds was a Mr Bagshaw and we used to call him Mr Bagwash...
Trying to remember names, Ann and Shiela Brooks, also there were the Testers, Rowlands Terry Denine {Deceased}, and the Wilkins twins... Having a senior moment here, I can't remember anymore; .Whoops Ann Hall {Butcher} Daughtreys, Salters, and  Thomases. That's it for now

By Lynne Abbott (10/04/2008)

Hi Lynne, Ms. Eyles was the teacher, she was into teaching art for my age group and she used to take wonderful photos. Weird old biddy, her mother used to sit in their lounge and never seemed to move, until she died. Ms.Eyles was a great artist, and very fussy with us girls, I got the giggles really bad one evening, over my friend, Sylvia Denman's drawing, and her car looked like it had been run over by a steamroller. My mum was left a note in our letterbox, don't let Bonny come back to art class, she is too disruptive. She was opposite the Woolley's house more. The Thomas's went to New Zealand I believe. Mr. & Mrs. Baker lived opposite their house with a son Michael. Next to Ms. Eyles was a couple no kids, Avis, he rode a noisy motor bike.
I remember the Jackson family from the house by the chalk pit, when the youngest boy was to start school he took a little model horse with him, encouraged by his mum at the bus stop. I remember her smiling at me and saying it would help him through his first day at school. I guess for some reason the "end of the journey" bus stop kids were at the "hole in the wall" bus stop that morning. The two elderly ladies next door to the Cother home, was Ms. Fox and Ms. Mosey, they had a white shaggy dog, Cobber, supposedly from one of the women's adventures to Australia. Julia Christmas greeted Ms. Fox one day with, Hallo Ms. Cobber and how is Foxey. I nearly fell over giggling. We were at the bottom of Stanley Road, prior to the new bungalows going in there, the old "jumping field" as it was called. Ms. Mosey was very strict and often I got into trouble because she told tales to my mum. Lynne I hope you can come to the Mile Oak Revisited in July.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (11/04/2008)

Thanks Bonny - Ms Eyles was a funny old duck. I do remember the Bakers, and you jogged my memeory with the Denmans. You know my uncle and aunt ran the post office after the war, they were Mr and Mrs Gebbett. Cannot remember how long for though. We used to have a man deliver veggies his name was Mr Hall and he lived up Chrisdory Road had big large frame glasses. Also remember the the horse drawn baker from the Co -Op. Was the milk man Soutwick Hill farm diaries? Mr Hart was the butcher and he would deliver what meat there was, mostly bones. I can never forget him, he would have a cup of tea and would always drink it out of his saucer. His shop was down by the Portslade rec. We also used to have the rag and bone man ... boy going back a long way here! My brother Paul was born in 2 Sefton Road No 2,he is three years younger than me. He is currently in Spain.  The twins Peter and Phillip were born VE day August the 15 1945, they still live in Sussex. Big celebrations that day. Bonfires in the old paddocks.
Mrs Carmichael helped my mum deliver the twins, she lived next door to the Salters and had one daughter named Jean who used to ice skate. She must have been the local midwife in those days. Then there was the Thomas's. Mum always said when she had given birth to her baby, Mrs Thomas would be sitting up in bed peeling the potatoes for dinner. Along Mile Oak Road across from the Hole in the Wall, were the Harrisons ,The Smiths, Wilmshurst Gladwyn. Then the little store was run by a Mr and Mrs Sayers had a daughter Brenda? She was disabled if I remember correctly.

By Lynne {Abbott} (12/04/2008)

My family were evacuated to Mile Oak in 1940. First to a bungalow, then to a house in Sefton Rd. In the family were my Father Jack (John), Mum Emily, sisters Jean and Sandra (the latter dies aged thre). Reading through the pages brings back a lot of memories, the following may stir some more.

School's my first, and I believe am right, her first pupil because of my ill health (Asthma bought about by the bombing in Brighton) was Miss Eyels who taught me privately in her bungalow. She taught me reading, writing and basic arithmatic and I remember the little vards: 2 + 4 =. As has been stated, she was a good artist and also a very good photographer. She took most of our family photographs, most of these were in colour which she treated herself, colour photos being a rare event in those days. I have in front of me one such photo of my sister Jean and I aged approx two and four years old. I have a vague memory of other children coming and it was nice to have playmates. I believe Paddy Vother was one of these. We used to play in her garden at playtimes.

Next school was the old village hall at the bottom of the hill. The teacher was Miss Trussler. From there I went to St Andrew's at Southern Cross to Benfield School on Shoreham Rd. Last school was Portslade Mod Sec on Mile Oak Rd. How many remember: Headmaster Mr Furner, Mr Greevs, Mess Bakers (one math's master, ex Para 5ft 8in, throwing Burtinshaw 6ft around the classroom after he threw the blackboard rubber back at him), Davis woodwork master.

The four schools houses were Lewes, Arundel, Pevensea and Bramber (castles). The last oneI was in. Can anyone  remember the initiaon ceremony? I have memories of the chalk pit, paddocks, horse field bonfire, tobogganing, soapbpax carts, picking blackberries, wlid raspberries and starwberries, Swimming in the dew ponds, the drilling for water. I believe two men were killes when they struck it.

I also remember collecting jam jars and newspapers and taking them three miles to school on our carts. Brengun carriers running over the Downs. Is it still there? Up past the water works, that big steel plate, a small trapdoor? A dropped stone used to take ages to hit the bottom

It is nice to see the names Salters, Thomas, Cothers, Auntie Bake and Vic Wilkins, Fish twins and Rodger, Rans - it goes on and on. It certainly brings back memories.

By Alan Lyon (19/04/2008)

Hello Alan Lyon. Just read your comments. The memories of our wonderful childhood up Mile Oak during the 40s and 50s are many. I used to play with your sister Jean. I have a photograph taken at one of my birthday parties with her in it too. We are planning a get-together at the end of July for the old Mile Oakians who were born/brought up in the old Mile Oak of that era. We are still in the planning stages but perhaps you would be interested to attend and meet all your old cronies. For more details get in touch with me at

By Pat Peeters Bunting (20/04/2008)

Hi Pat Peeters, so sorry for delay, I have been unable to reply til now. Thank you so much for the info about my friend who was shot on Southwick Hill in 1960, if you can remember his name please let me know. If anyone else can remember the accidental shooting on Southwick Hill in 1960 I would be grateful for any info. Great website!

By Alan Frost (20/04/2008)

Hi Alan. Lovely to read your comments, brought back memories. My mother Ivy and your mum must have been good friends, cause Mum and my two older siblings, John and Paddy, always went over to your house during the air raids. I remember just a little of your family prior to you moving away. The Cain boys were Tinker and Patrick I believe. There was a family of five who lived over the end shop.......a girl, Johnny, Rusty and twins, a boy and girl. Anyone know the whereabouts of that family? I am looking forward to the get together, it will be great to see friends from 'those old days in Mile Oak'. I remember the circle in Sefton and Stanley Road being grass, and then it was concreted. Sylvia Denman and I used to climb up and sit on the box in the middle of that circle for hours, talking about whatever little girls talk about, before TV of course. Do you remember the allotments behind the houses in Stanley Avenue? What about the tree near the tap outside the Waterworks, we used to climb that tree and sit up there for what seemed hours. There was another climbing tree, I think near the daisy field, but not so easy to climb. I look forward to seeing the maps of old Mile Oak also. See you all July 27th and 28th..........

By Bonny Cother / Veronica Bentley (23/04/2008)

Hi Bonny. That was Sidney, a girl Rusty and John Burns. They were somehow related to my aunt, Olive Gebbett. I remember their grandfather having an American car. His family name was Gosden. Other than that, I know nothing more. When I was little there was no shop. Just like next door was the Testers, a little alley, and the Brooks family lived in there: Sheila and Ann Brooks and I believe a sister may have come later. During the war a Mr Gwelt had something to do with the store space there. The Gwelts? lived across the street in a big red brick house. Went in there many times as he had a radio that we used to have to get an acumalator (battery) for. Do not know what ever happened to them.

By Lynne Abbott (25/04/2008)

Hi Bonny,

Sidney, Rusty and John Burns used to live with my Uncle Wilf Burton who lived above the shop in Mile Oak Road. Wilf was married to Auntie Tommy and later married to a lady called Honor, but married once more to Thelma who still lives there today.
I am the Phil Burton that Paul Edwards has mentioned a number of times in earlier messages and I have lived in Mile Oak for all of my life and now reside in Brasslands Drive. I, along with Paul, remember "the way we were" in Mile Oak. How things change.

By Phil Burton (28/04/2008)

There was a family at the top of Foxhunters Road with four kids, the eldest a boy and girl, then two much younger, it seems.
Linda and her sister Cheal? from Beechers Road, just beside the gap that led to the backway to our homes. I recall Pat Dinean, went to school with her, and Michael Birch lived nextdoor to her house in Stanley.
Does anyone recall the lady who pumped away at the church organ during Sunday School, Ms. Corrall I think?
Of course there was Sister Holland, dressed in grey nun's garb, she lived somewhere in Portslade I believe.
David Scott married Pauling Earle, the greengrocer's daughter after Figins sold out. Pauling and I were in school together. They stayed in Mile Oak for a long time, I heard that they are not there now. David was friends with my brother John, and with the "Wise" and "Hemmings" boys. They used to play Robin Hood games on the downs behind the waterworks. The days John had to look after his baby sister..... she became maid Marion, and was tied appropriately to a convenient be rescued later, after the boys tired of their game. I never minded, as I recall.........just stood patiently waiting to be untied.
The last time I went blackberry picking was with my youngest son, then about 8. Gone the glass jars we used to use as kids....I thought a plastic bag a much better container. Shame I never realized the thorns on the bushes would catch the bags, and berries....and I arrived back at Phyllis Christmas' bungalow, with white jeans covered in blackberry juice. My son did not think this was such a great outing, as I had promoted it to be, from my childhood.
Phyllis made jam from our gathering and it still tasted as it had all those years ago.
Tottle grass, we used to pick it by the bunches for our mums. Wonder if it still even grows on the downs behind the pub.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (28/04/2008)


I can well remember my young days in Mile Oak (I have lived in Mile Oak for all my life) going up the horses with Paul Edwards, and playing in the old chalk pit, I can also well remember carrying the cannon shell back to the farm, and also a live Mortar shell which I found with my other friends Steve Herd and Adrian Luck and carried carefully back to Mile Oak farm much to Mr Cross's horror.
For those who attended Mile Oak County School for Boys, here are some teachers names that you may well remember: Mr Beale (head), Mr Bennett, Mr Parkinson, Mr Faulkner, Charlie Watts, Harry Steer, Les Whitely, Wally Travers, Dolly Brown, Enoch Johns, Mr Wincer. If I can remember any more I will let you know.

By Phil Burton (01/05/2008)

Yes, I can assure you the place behind the pub - and indeed all over the downlands - is choc-a-block with blackberries in season. That at least hasn't changed!

By Paul Edwards (01/05/2008)

Hello Bonny,
Vema Cheal was her name, and if I can correctly remember her mum passed away very young. There was Valerie Russell who lived next door,
I also remember Phillipa Fast.That name ring a bell with anyone? I remember going to the church to watch Lantern Slides and also getting kicked out of brownies there.I was such a sweet child. Cannot remember who played the organ but that name Correll sounds familiar. Ok now what happened to Jennifer Rose? 60 odd years of memories seems like yesterady. I do remember the postman, we used to call him Joe and he had one brown eye and the other was blue.

By Lynne?Abbott (04/05/2008)

I have just spotted a name I know, Rusty Burns. He, Teddy Osbourne and I went to school together. Any one know what happened to them?

By Elizabeth Edwards nee Carole Newell (04/05/2008)

Hi there
Elisabeth, Paul, Phil and all who have contributed to the wonderful Mile Oak memories, web pages. We are having a Mile Oak Revisited on July 27th starting at the church, going onto the pub, and on July 28th, outside the pub, a walk down memory lane, round the original block of Mile Oak streets, then lunch at the pub, and for me, after lunch a quick hike up the hill behind the pub to view the scenery....maybe not such a "quick" hike, but a huff and puff hike.
So all who are interested in adding to our growing list of those born 30's, 40's and 50's........ let us know, we can give you further details. Dont forget to bring your old photos, or copies of them... The good old days of our childhood.
Lynne I am sorry you cannot join us but do send some pics to one of the organizers so we can add them to a display.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (05/05/2008)

Mile Oak revisited
The following is a copy of a flyer suggesting a reunion of those born or lived in Mile Oak in the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950 only.'This is an invitation down memory lane for those old 'Mile-Oakers' who were born or grew up in the original Mile oak of the 1930s, 1940s or early 1950. Events have been planned for Sunday 27th July 2008 and Monday 28th July 2008. There will be a church service at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Stanley Avenue at 6.30pm on Sunday for those who would like to attend. Should you not wish to attend the service we will be all gathering in the function room of the Mile Oak Inn from 7.30pm onwards. On Monday 28th July at 10.00am there will be a Walk Down Memory Lane. We will meet in the car park of the Mile Oak Inn, where the circular walk will also finish in time for a pub lunch. For old times sake we would like the gathering on the Sunday to consist only of the original Mile-Oakers, howerver, any family members or guests that you would like to bring would be welcome to the walk and lunch on Monday. If this reunion is something you would like to attend please contact one of the below mentioned:- Mary Smith(nee Elliott) - David Elliott - Bonny Bentley (nee Cother) - Pat Peeters (nee Bunting)
A copy of this flyer can be obtained from any one of the above

By David Elliott (05/05/2008)

Funny I remember Aunty Tommy and the kids. She was related to Olive Gebbett nee Gosden, my Aunt by marriage do not know exactly what the connection was.

By Lynne Abbott (06/05/2008)

Does this mean that those of us who came to Mile Oak after 1950 cant come?? I thought it was for anyone who grew up in the 'Golden age' of Mile oak was allowed to come? My family didn't move there until after I was born (1953) I notice one of the dates is the 28th Monday, some of us have not retired and still have to work.

By Paul Edwards (06/05/2008)

Mile Oak Revisited: Further to my previous message regarding a reunion, it was intended that those born or living (on the dates mentioned) in what was the original 'Village of Mile Oak' i.e. Chrisdory Road, Stanley Avenue, Beechers, Sefton, Foxhunters together with Mile Oak Road upto and including the cottages adjoining the chalk pit, would be more than welcome, all of whom are now more than likely retired and in their 'dotage'. Further information can be obtained from those mentioned previously.

By David Elliott (07/05/2008)

Good friends I used to play with back in the 60s that I haven't heard from for yonks. Apart from Phil B (Hi Phil). There was Paul Hurst who lived on the corner of Stanley Ave (near the 9 poplars that have now gone), Steven and David Groves who also lived in Stanley Ave just up on the left in the bungalows (before the slight hill), Ian Birtchall who lived in valley road on the bend. I've not seen him for a long time. Robin White who lived behind the Valley Road shops for a long time I then bumped into him briefly in Home back in 1972 or so. Mark Young (think his name was) always carried a briefcase to school and his mum sometimes stopped near my house on way to the Mile Oak Secondary mod and gave us a lift. Gerald Birtchall whose name I have seen mentioned in theses pages. Peter White who lived just up the hill opposite Mile Oak shops - joined the Royal Navy I believe. Just down the hill from our chalk pit cottages on the right before the 'Hole-in-the-wall' bus stop there was/is a big house set back in some trees down a drive, there were a couple of little girls lived there I used to play with sometimes - blowed if I can remember their names! And just a bit further down on right was young Miss Ann Holden! Still remember her. Another good friend was Ian Ferguson who I believe now lives in Worthing, I saw him about 10 years ago.

By Paul Edwards (17/05/2008)

As you may have noticed that I have previously added comments on this great website before, I am hoping someone can fill me in with some further details. I recently was removing a hedge from a garden in one of the older houses along Mile Oak Road and uncovered some foundations to some of the greenhouses that used to cover the area now taken up by properties in Oakdene Crescent area in the 1930-50s (you can see these and surrounding sheds in David Elliott's fantastic photo dated 1940, also on this website). I also uncovered some old gardening tools and old fashioned terracotta pots whilst digging. I believe the greenhouses belonged to the farm and the Nursery at the time. Does anyone have any memories or knowledge of the Nursery, and exactly where it was?  PS David Elliott: have you any more pictures of Mile Oak - I would love to see them (if possible) - it would be greatly appreciated.

By Chris Wilkes (25/05/2008)

Two houses along the road from your house, towards the shops stood a wooden house, painted black. Joan Stanford lived there with husband Ray and son Clive. (He is now in Australia). Behind this house were rows and rows of flowers and halfway to the downs stood large greenhouses on the left side of the path. A gentleman (Bob?) with a hump back was the worker. (I used to go buy a bunch of flowers for 5 shillings, for the church). There was a shed on the right side of the pathway, I guess for tools etc. The flowers were beautiful, I loved walking in the greenhouses to select those I wanted. I also think there were several rows of greenhouses, behind the house next to Joan's house, towards your house. I think the family there were the Becks. I am sure if you search deep enough you will uncover many treasures. What fun...........

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (01/06/2008)

Hello Bonny how lovely to find this site.I am often thinking of you and Julie and our wonderful childhood in Mile Oak, Bruce and I take our grandchildren to the farm to buy eggs and see the animals. I point out the Buttercup field where in the winter we would go sledging(on anything that was flat) we always seemed to have snow in the winter then.The old dead oak tree where we used to play all sorts of imaginary