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Memories of a sense of security

St Ann's Well gardens
©Tony Mould: all images copyright protected

I grew up in the gardens

I lived in Beresford Court, Somerhill Road, right across from the park  from 1960- 1979. I feel that I grew up in the gardens – building hideouts in the bushes along the side of the playground. I remember the concrete shelter, as I fell off it once, while bunking in and out of the block of flats that was being built behind it in Furze Hill. I remember the café; did it burn down? It was always dark and gloomy inside, all that dark timber I suppose?

Does anyone remember the ancient, gnarled tree  between the cafe and the corrugated iron Parkies hut?

A sense of security

When I was younger, I would lie in bed on summer evenings and listen to the faint “thwock” of tennis balls in the courts across the road. I remember green painted wooden chairs with ‘2d’ stencilled on them I can almost smell the night scented stock in the Blind Garden. It was a sheer, undiluted sense of security, growing up in such a gentle, leafy backwater of Hove. So different then from what it has become now, with its apartment crammed, traffic calmed, parking meter infested urgency.

Comments about this page

  • I lived in Lansdowne Road from 1961-1965 and spent almost all of my available waking hours in St Ann’s Well Gardens. I’d rummage through the bins for lemonade and Coke bottles to claim the returns or scrummage under the wooden verandah of the cafe scraping up odd bits of change which people had dropped through the slats and that was all the pocket money I got. I’d spend hours watching the fish in the pond or looking for birds’ nests in the bushes and I often played tennis with Mum and, when she wasn’t available, I bashed a tennis ball against the garage wall of the flats next door, which was my favourite thing to do. When I got a little older, I longed to join “the teenagers”, who sat in a self-important group away from the little kids.

    By Renia Simmonds (11/07/2014)
  • Glad to see a mention of the “blind gardens”. Took the grandchildren to this park recently, haven’t been there in years, and had quite a shock! The blind gardens were always a peaceful place with the Braille signs for the plants, but now there were screaming kids and litter everywhere, the fish pond looks stagnant and the whole park looks a mess. Spent a very happy childhood there but would not bother to return again. So glad I now live in Shoreham.

    By Marilyn Jones (13/07/2014)
  • I went to Davigdor infants from 1958 to 1960 and played in the park after school a lot. I visited it after the great storm to see how many of the trees from my childhood had been spared. So many were lost, including the Conker tree that grew at about 45 degrees, that would now have been at the bottom end of the current play area.

    I still prefer the old wooden cafe to the modern brick one.

    By Mick Wright (14/07/2014)

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