Parade of dump trucks
After WWII my family lived in a caravan at Sheepcote Valley, the road through the camp site led to the local dump, so there was a constant parade of dump trucks to entertain us. The property was an old farm so the Warden, Bill Grosvenor and his wife Aileen; I called them Auntie Aileen and Uncle Bill, lived in the house onsite. After a few years the stable/sheds were converted into shower and toilet facilities, with one building for ladies and the other for men. In the ladies there were three shower stalls, along one wall a row of wash basins, and on the opposite wall the toilet cubicles. The big barn was open in the summer and had a stage at one end and, luxury of luxuries, a small ‘cafe’ where we could buy Wall’s ice cream.
Best blackberry patch
The local paper shop would send a van and park it on the gravel apron outside the barn, it would sell newspapers and comics to the campers. Also in the summer the dairy would send the milk truck laden with dairy produce, and the baker with bread, so the barn was quite the centre of activity. On the east side of the camp were the corn fields rising to meet the East Brighton Golf course. In the war a bomb was dropped on the course, creating a big crater which provided the after-war golfers with quite a challenge if they were unfortunate enough to land ‘in the rough’. At the top of the hill where the golf course met the end of the race track, was the best blackberry patch in the world.
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Exciting tannoy system
Uncle Bill would wear his smart uniform and operate out of a small building, known as the office, situated at the entrance to the site, where he would check in new arrivals and wave goodbye to the departing. There was a tall pole next to the office supporting a loud speaker where all messages were relayed across the camp. Most excitingly, it also made announcements of mail delivery. To hear one’s name called over the tannoy was quite thrilling.
Campers disappeared before winter
Tents were pitched nearest to the barn and outhouses, the caravans on the higher ground toward the dump. Each plot marked by a small square white peg at each corner The walk to the shops, buses or Black Rock beach was down the road which was flanked on one side by the playing fields of Brighton College and on the other by allotments, and then through the East Brighton Park. Then summer would end, campers disappear and us hardy few would settle down to welcome winter.