Life in the graveyard

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  • As youngsters in the mid-late 1950s my friends and I spent many an happy hour playing in the graveyards of St Nicholas. The large cavernous ones became our pirate ships or our castles, the smaller ones were great for playing hide and seek. In inclement weather we could climb inside some of the fancier ones and wait out the rain. On my own at times I would lie on the flat stones and try to imagine the lives of the people laid within, who were they, how had they succumbed to their final rest? In summertime the quieter park on the other side of the road was nice to walk through, to see and smell the snapdragons and other flowers and again, the entire park became our playground. Were we irreverent? I don’t think so, I would like to think the spirits of those interned were happy to provide us with a safe haven in which to let our own spirits free. Personally I have never felt the same air of freedom we experienced then. We never had to worry much about stranger danger, there were just too many of us, all watching out for the rest! It’s a shame our own children and grandchildren may never feel the same.

    By Patricia Silsby (29/01/2009)
  • In the early to middle 1950s, I too played in the St Nicholas churchyard – a safe haven for children in those days. There was a playground there – in the middle of all the headstones. We were taught reverence and never to walk on the graves – which we never did. I have very fond memories of this church and the graveyard. I visited there in 2004 from New Zealand, where I now live. The feeling that overcame me, as I stood alone on the site of the playground, was one of peace and quietness and fond memories of my childhood in Brighton – the place in my heart to this day. We lived in Cannon Street – behind the Grand Hotel – a great spot for a child – we had the world of Brighton at our feet, to explore and enjoy. Oh! that Seafront! Bertha Byrne was my name and we lived at number 48 Cannon Street.

    By Elizabeth Byrne-Fong (19/02/2010)

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