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Moving to Woodingdean

My mother, myself and my cousin, mid 50's outside our prefab
From the private collection of Alan Drake

Our brand new prefab

I grew up in Woodingdean in the late 1940/50s. I was an only child and with my Mum and Dad, had moved from Upper Rock Gardens in Brighton to Woodingdean. We moved into a brand new prefab at the bottom of Kipling Avenue; ours was number 69. These prefabs were very well equipped, having a refrigerator, large electric cooker, hot water, back boiler, an enormous garden, and a good size corrugated Nissan hut type of shed. Unfortunately, the heating was all but useless; keeping warm in the winter was to say the least difficult.

Few buses at that time

At that time the number 2 bus only went to the Downs Hotel, as the roads around Rudyard Road and Kipling Avenue were still being made up. That meant quite a long walk, rain, snow or sun to get to school, or to catch the bus to the Race Hill to go into Brighton on the trolley bus. I remember on many occasions watching the steamrollers building the new roads Kipling Avenue and Lockwood Crescent. Next to our prefab was a cottage with a very large garden. As I recall the old cottage itself, had its entrance in The Ridgway just round the Corner.

Do you have any Woodingdean memories. If you have, please leave a comment below.

Changing schools

When we first moved there, I suppose it was about 1947/48, I went to a temporary school at Warren Farm as the new Woodingdean Primary School was still being built. When it was finished I can still remember us kids all marching along Warren Road from our old school to the brand new one. I seem to also remember it was a lovely summer’s day. Of course my memories may be affected by rose coloured spectacles.

Comments about this page

  • Hi Alan, I was very interested in your story about your time at Kipling Avenue. I have heard stories about Woodingdean around that time as my parents lived in Bexhill Road in the 50s and they knew some people in the prefabs. You may be interested to see the list of your neighbours from 1949 at the following link 
    I use the ‘my house my street’ website to look up old addresses and it’s fabulous to remember some old names from your past.

    By Paul Clarkson (27/04/2014)
  • Hi Alan, I also lived at Kipling Avenue in the late 1940s. I lived at no 34 with my two brothers and sister.

    By Len Allen (28/05/2014)
  • I lived in a prefab on Kipling Avenue when I was about 4 in 1962. I don’t remember much but I do remember our next door neighbour, a lovely older lady, Mrs Allen.

    By Leslie Phillpott (02/08/2016)
  • Hi Alan. What great memories for me. I lived at No.38 Lockwood Crescent. Mum & Dad lived in the village the other side of Mrs Man’s toy shop. I also went to Warren Farm School and vividly remember the day we all walked along the road to our new school carrying our chalk boards. 1946 we moved to Woodingdean, and 1948 moved to our prefab. They were wonderful days. Next door was Andrew and Micheal Fogden, Sydney Mayhew opposite.
    Playing hop scotch, Cowboy & Indians on the ground at the top of Lockwood. I could walk up to my Nan & Grandad who lived at 27 Rudyard. Also Eke. The milk lady with the big scar on her face with the measuring jug. The rag and bone man giving you a goldfish. The street Coronation parties. I sang ‘Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londerner’. Loved growing up in Woodingdean. After the prefabs, we moved to 84 Sandhurst Ave. Mr Betts was my teacher. Roger Hemsley was in my class, also Peter Mann.

    By Christine (nee Eke), Buckingham (18/11/2016)
  • Hi.I lived at 22 Lockwood Crescent until about 1960 when they moved everyone out and my family were moved to Hollingbury. I remember going to Woodingdean school and than to Rudyard Kipling school. I seem to remember a communial shop at the top of Kipling Ave,where we used to go with a farthing and get a matchbox with a blackjack and or a fruit salad chew.
    The highlight in the summer at the weekend was the whole family walking to Rottingdean and playing on the rocks and catching crabs in the rock pools.
    Than we would have fish and chips from the shop that I think might even still be there. I also remember walking to Brighton races with other families in a big crowd.

    By Rod Whibley (15/11/2023)

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