Pre-war memories of Stanmer Village

Stanmer Village
Photo by Bob Herrick
Stanmer Village
Drawing by Bob Herrick

Stanmer Village in its splendid Park setting was always close to my heart – and still is, though I’ve lived way up North for nearly fifty years now. With my parents we would often take a bus to Patcham, climb the hill, cross the Ditchling Road and enter Stanmer Park by the top lodge. There followed a saunter down the path which eventually joins the village street. Then through the Park and onto the Falmer road for a Southdown bus home.

Village reduced to rubble
This possibility was interrupted by the war. It seems unbelievable now but this enchanting village was reduced to rubble by soldiers on battleground manoeuvres. The ultimate rebuilding, after hostilities ceased, was remarkable too. The attractive flint and brick houses were strikingly reproduced to echo their former perfection.

It is interesting that my two pictures shown here are a photograph and a sketch, taken from virtually the same spot but in exactly opposite directions. Much of my boyhood was spent trying to decide whether I should be an artist or a photographer! The photo was taken shortly after the rebuilding of the village, and the drawing followed a year or two later. Subsequently (after I had decided to be a photographer..!) I took photographs of Stanmer for the Brighton and Hove Herald’s ‘Beauty Around our Borders’ series, and also played cricket on that beautiful ground, when the mansion house became our pavilion.

Yes, a very special place!

Comments about this page

  • I was interested to see a photo by Bob Herrick of Stanmer village in pre-war times. I myself was born and raised in Stanmer village and also have various photos of Stanmer. I’m also researching my family history, from as far back as 1721, all from Brighton, also a distant relation marrying at Stanmer Church in 1693.  Would it be possible to get in touch with Bob Herrick for any other photos?

    By Pauline Best (nee Humphrey) (29/01/2007)
  • Hi Pauline, I was reading this when I saw you name. I’d love to hear from you, you can contact me on

    By Pete Baker (12/06/2008)
  • Hi Pete, I have emailed you but no response, hope you are OK. Stanmer has changed an awful lot, have you ever been back? Here’s my email address:

    By Pauline Best (nee Humphrey) (23/08/2010)
  • Stanmer Preservation Society are very interested to hear from anyone with links to the village. We are collecting a local history archive and displaying some of the information in the church. Please get in touch as we would love to hear and, if possible, use your memories in our displays.

    By H. Turner (22/06/2013)

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