Memories and faces: 1959-63

Class at Benfield C.P. School, Portslade - 1959-1963
From the private collection of Helen Shipley
Girls' swimming class
From the private collection of Helen Shipley
Helen and brother
From the private collection of Helen Shipley

Here are two photos from my time at Benfield County Primary School in Portslade. I attended from 1959 – 63 and I think the first photo must be from the earlier years and the 2nd may be a bit later. I used to be able to remember all the names but my memory, like some other things, is not so reliable these days. I will have a go at the names and make apologies in advance for any errors or gaps – they will have little or nothing to do with anything, except my poor memory.

First Class Photo c 1961
Front Row – left to right:
Oh dear… Barbara?, ?, no the challenge is too much, I remember the faces so well but the only names I recall from the front row are the three on the right end – James (Jimmy) surname escapes me, Janet Chandler and Ian – I think. The last one could be wrong.
2nd Row
Phooey – the only one I remember is Stephen Burgess on the right hand end.
3rd Row:
??, Iris May, Gerald ?, Gloria??,  next girl another name beginning with G (yes, I only know because I wrote the initial on!), Ann Holland and Gail Mitchell.
4th Row:
Hmm 1st one might be Stephen Burgess – so I could have got the 2nd row totally wrong. Next, Philip something, I think, then David Foster Smith, Marion ?, me – Helen Clifford, Sylvia    , Kim  and lastly Theresa Lush.
Back Row:
Cannot remember names of first 2 girls, 3rd is Alison Holden – I think, next is Rosemary Cooper, cannot remember next 3, then Linda Glanville.

Girls’ Swimming Class – Photo taken at the King Alfred
Every week we would troop to the King Alfred Swimming Baths in Hove. We went by bus and I hope we were a lot better behaved than some school children these days, it must have been quite a challenge for our teachers in any case. I don’t think we went swimming in the 1st year at the school but I could be wrong. Linda Glanville was probably the best swimmer in our class and she competed at swimming galas and belonged to the ‘Shiverers’ swimming club, based at the King Alfred.

Front Row – Left to right:
Theresa Lush, Linda Glanville, 2 blanks, Rosemary Cooper, Alison Holden, 2 blanks and then me again.
Back row:
Barbara???, blank, Gail Mitchell, blank, Marion, blank, Ann Holland, and lastly 3 more blanks.
I hoped I would do better than that, I will add any I remember later but some of you out there can probably do much better than me anyway.

School Teachers
Teachers I remember are:
Miss Bowyer (I think), Miss Clifford, Miss Belinfante , Mr Brooks , Mr Gallagher, Miss Nugent, Mr Presley and the Headmaster, Mr Whiting.

I have good memories about most of the teachers but Mr Presley was very stern and dented my confidence hugely. Miss Nugent and Miss Bowyer were both lovely. Miss Nugent joined in about 1961 and played the paino in assembly. Mr Brooks taught music and played paino too and I think he ran the choir – which I managed to join for the last year p perhaps he let me in from sympathy. I remember that some boys in our class wrote a school song – that would have been in 1963 I think. I believe Gerald was one of the writers.

Mr Gallagher took sports lessons and I loved playing rounders. I wasn’t ever good at sport though – teachers always thought I would be good at running and at the high jump, because I was very tall- the facts never bore out these hopes. I thought I did well if I came in 2nd last instead of dead last!

I was in Miss Clifford’s class for 2 years and we all did very well with her as our teacher. So much so in fact that we were way ahead in most things, which meant a lot of things were repeated when I went on to Knoll Secondary Modern. Only Linda Glanville and I went to that school as everyone else either went to Hove Grammar or Mile Oak. I passed my 11+ but my mother didn’t want me to go Hove Grammar as she thought my sister had too much stress there. I agreed at the time but regretted it later.

Learning to dance
We girls learnt to dance – the waltz etc and had to partner each other. Once again my height came into play and I always had to lead – which has caused me problems ever since when waltzing. The only time it went really well was when I danced with my brother, Stephen – he probably let me lead! Later, he took dancing lessons so he could dance with his bride at their wedding – she was a very, very good ballroom dancer and competed. After that Steve and I ceased to be good dancing partners.

My brother and me
My brother went to Benfield as well but only for a short time. He was 9 years older than me and we only moved to Portslade in 1953. Steve might have had 2 years at Benfield, possibly just one – he then went to Mile Oak Secondary. I have a photo of us both in our respective school blazers but I may have still been at St Nicholas Infants. I am not sure which school Steve was attending and cannot make out the badge well enough to tell.

The memories of Benfield are mostly good and I think it was a very good school but such opinions are always subjective. They are planning a reunion in 2009. Hope this stirs some memories for others and look forward to gaps being filled in and errors corrected. Perhaps some extra memories may be added too.

Comments about this page

  • First of all – apologies for the typos etc in the above piece and any others I don’t spot in this. Secondly – apologies again for all the memory gaps – I have remembered one other surname – Marion was Marion Lynch. In addition I have some information about Benfield School from Judy Middleton’s excellent Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade – Volume 2 B pp36-38.
    Editor’s Note: We cannot reproduce the text from the book as we do not have permission to do so.  But the encyclopeadia is held in Brighton and Hove Libraries.

    By Helen Shipley (03/06/2008)
  • The girl second from right looks like my sister Gillian Edwards who was born in 1953 so would have been 6 or 7 when taken. I was at this school as well – left at the end of 1959 to go to Mile Oak. Failed the 11+, I wasn’t going to school on Saturday for anyone!

    By Chris Edwards (in Brisbane, Australia) (07/06/2008)
  • I can name most of the people in the top picture which I will do if you are interested Helen.  I remember you well.  I work as a Clinical specialist in Mental Health nowadays and noticed this site as another colleague looked me up during a meeting.

    By David Foster-Smith (17/06/2008)
  • Here goes!
    Back row L-R:Veronica Eales, Julia Nice, Alison Holden, Rosemary Cooper, Sylvia Stenning, ?, ?, Linda Glanville.
    4th Row: Steven Burgess, David F-S, Philip Gedde,?, Helen Clifford, Susan Walter, ?, Theresa Lush
    3rd Row: Judith Burdett, Iris May, Gerald Wilders, Gloria Harland, Norman Holliday, Gillian Bourne, ?, Gail Mitchell
    2nd Row: ?, Barry Martin, Alan Scarratt, ?, Linda Wells, ?, ?, William Paul
    Front Row:Barbara Wilkinson,Margaret Myers, Norman Buckman, John Cooper, Jimmy Thompson, Janet Chandler, Ian Spencer
    Apologies for any mistakes, spelling or identity wise, but I hope others can fill in the spaces. Great site.

    By David Foster-Smith (20/06/2008)
  • Thanks to David Foster Smith for his additions to the names in the photo – didn’t you do well. I am always surprised if anyone says they remember me; usually followed by anxiety over what they remember – I certainly have good memories of David, and many others – even if I couldn’t remember all their names! Hope others have good memories stirred as well.

    By Helen Shipley (09/07/2008)
  • Hi Helen.  Are you related to any of the Shipleys in Whitehawk?  My mum’s maiden name is Shipley. Please contact me on 07747107660.

    By Wayne Wareham (23/07/2008)
  • Hi Helen. What a fabulous site! Great to know it wasn’t just me who really enjoyed being in that class. I think I might be able to add a little to Dave’s brilliant recall…The girl between Gill Bourne and Gayle Mitchell (Third row) is Ann Holland and I think that far right second row is actually Richard Forrest… he always had the best haircut because his Dad owned a barber’s shop at Southern Cross! There should also be Sharon Richardson here somewhere… Now an Author of some renown in Sydney Australia,  I’ll email her to see if she can spot herself but she remains a good friend of Sue Walter so my guess is she is an “unknown” next to Sue. Spookily when Sharon recently emailed she also mentioned Mr Pressley; he used to scratch his hair with a ruler just before he whacked you on the hand with it!

    By Alan Scarratt (21/09/2008)
  • Helen… just recognized (I think) Sue Harvey between Phillip Gedde and Helen Clifford Oh how I just dreaded singing solos in that choir! I was quite shy and it was absolutely terrifying!

    By Alan Scarratt (21/09/2008)
  • I went to St Peters Infants 1948-1949 (I was the monitor who kept fellow children off the entrance step at ‘playtimes’) and then Benfield 1950-1954 (I was the monitor who kept boys out of the ‘Boys Toilet’ at ‘playtimes; they would play ‘cigarette cards’ and ‘marbles’ on the smooth floor). Miss Hunt was Head (often away for whole terms?); Mr  Elsworthy (superb Deputy Head) and Miss Bellifant? called Bullifant were my 4th year teachers. Messrs. Presley ? & Lawford ? (he would hang out of the Staff Room window and get me to go for a quarter of loose tea (no such thing as Nescafe then) from the tiny shop at the bottom. He ‘went out’ with my older sister (13 years  older). Mrs Reilly was my ‘first’ teacher who taught me to read with her own cards! She and Mr Elsworthy were instrumental in my being a teacher and, eventually, a headteacher. Every playtime we played ‘football’ with a really big bundle of socks sewn together by Mums! Awful when wet! Happy Days!

    By Tony Brooks (07/10/2008)
  • Belated thanks to Chris Edwards for leaving a comment and apologies to Steve Wareham for not yet acting on his (I keep forgetting – and in case I forget again – my husband’s family is from outside Sussex but thanks for the mention). Thanks are also due to Tony for filling another gap in my lamentable memory by supplying the name of another teacher – Mrs Reilly – at least I think this is one I was trying to remember. I never had a class with her but I am pretty sure a friend was in her from. I always associate her with green tweed! Strange the things that stick in the mind – but at least some do. Oh and I still hear of Ann Holland every now and then, through a mutual friend. I think there are some pupils missing,  i.e. David Orchard. Alan’s comments are great and I remember him as always happy and smiling, so he must have hidden his fear of the choir really well – or I was too scared to notice.

    By Helen Shipley (22/10/2008)
  • Helen. I think I’ve just remembered the name of the little lad far left second row-Gary Hopkins. If memory serves, he came into Miss Clifford’s class later because he’d done really well in Mr Needham’s class (next door).
    Just remembered Miss Siegeman too-she must’ve been very young although she seemed “Old” to us at the time and she had a prosthetic arm. I always thought at the time that she was a bit “Pushy” but when you consider she was a newly qualified female teacher with a disability in the 1950s she was absolutely brilliant and a real trailblazer. I’ve never known anyone to do so much pre-class preparation work. She printed handouts by the score.
    David Orchard’s regular Friday afternoon ad lib stories about a kid called Elvin were brilliant. He would try to include all his friends in the stories but if you’d fallen out with him during the week you didn’t get a mention. What a gifted kid though-he sat out the front facing the class and I had the nerve to think “not such a good story this week Dave!” but he was only 10 years old.

    By Alan Scarratt (18/11/2008)
  • Hi, I went to St Peter’s school in 1948 then on to Benfield in 1951. my name was Joan Constable. Does anyone remember me? I remember some of the teachesr that have been named above.

    By Jac (18/11/2008)
  • Nice to hear from Alan and Helen again. I remember a teacher called Mr Brooks who “taught” music. I recall him whacking my legs in front of the class for being cheeky. It really hurt but I was determined to act as if it did not. I was in the choir too and realise now that we were often performing the teacher’s own favourites. Funny that I’ve sung professionally quite a few times since. Miss Clifford was a great teacher and in my retrospective opinion head and shoulders above the others, both in intellect and teaching ability-I owe her a lot. The didactic approach worked for gifted teachers and still does. Myself and Alan used to walk home at dinner time across Portslade Park and then come back for the afternoon lessons which sounds ridiculous nowadays-all the kids would clear off.

    By David Foster-Smith (20/11/2008)
  • Alan, I posted a comment on the other thread a little while ago regarding a book I am writing. I have been racking my brains trying to remember the name of the music teacher with the prosthetic arm….Miss Siegeman…thanks so much!

    By Pauline Golds (24/11/2008)
  • Great to see Alan and David’s comments – even though Alan’s shows how bad my memory is – I had written that the music teacher’s name was Miss Nugent! She certainly was a brave and talented lady. I totally agree with David’s comments re Miss Clifford – and not just because we shared the same surname. She was an outstanding teacher and I too owe her thanks. David Orchard was brilliant and I always envied him, along with David – they both seemed so creative – goodness what am I saying? ‘Seemed’ – they were creative and I could only watch, listen and wish for a little bit of the same.

    By Helen Shipley (26/11/2008)
  • Miss Siegeman? Miss Nugent? Now I am confused. The name Siegeman seems more familiar to me. Did she perhaps get married during her time at Benfield? I was in Miss Belafante’s class. Miss Clifford did the alternate top set years. Miss Belafante was an outstanding teacher too. Perhaps they all were back then. Dedicated spinsters who gave our generation such positive role models.

    By Pauline Golds (27/11/2008)
  • It certainly was Miss Siegeman Pauline, and you’re absolutely right she did get married while she was at Benfield school. My memory tells me that she actually left the school to get married but perhaps it was just that I went into the next year and had a new teacher. Miss Belifante was never my teacher, but I know the pronunciation of her name seemed to vary from term to term from Bullifont to Ballifanti. She really was a formidable little lady but had a heart of gold! Can’t wait to read your book…oh…and do we get any “Royalties” for all the information? Hahaha!

    By Alan Scarratt (01/12/2008)
  • Alan, it would be great to think that my little book will earn enough to pay out royalties. If it does, I shall certainly consider it!
    Initially I am just going to self publish. It is more a legacy for my grandchildren. I have recently being searching my ancestry and have found that I come from a long line of poor working class people mainly from Brighton on my dad’s side. The information you can acquire is very basic: their occupation, their cause of death etc. So I just thought how great it would be if I actually had a first hand account of their lives. However, that would have been a bit of a problem because most of them were illiterate. Anyway that’s what inspired me to write the book as even my grandkids would have no idea what life was like for us – time to get out the violins! But money making venture or not, I shall certainly put the names in the credits of those who have contributed so keep in touch.

    By Pauline Golds (02/12/2008)
  • Like several cotributors I, along with my twin brother Davd, “The Fish Twins”, attended St. Peter’s School, then a brief period at St. Nicholas’ School at the bottom of Locks Hill before joining Benfield as part of the original intake to this new school.  I recall Miss Hunt the headmistress, Mr Elworthy, Miss Clifford, such a brilliant teacher as I recall, Mr Gallagher who taught us art, Miss Bullinfant and also Miss Feast the school secretary who was so gorgeous I fell in love for the first time!  Great school, both David and I managed to pass the 11 plus and then went to the Building and Engineering School in Brighton.  I understand that there is a reunion to celebrate Benfield’s 60th year this year, does anyone have more details on this as my brother and I would love to be there?

    By Derek Fish (18/01/2009)
  • Hallo Derek: I also went to Bentfield Junior School roughly between 1958/60. I was at St. Nicholas for the first two years then changed to Bentfield for the 3rd & 4th years, and Mr Brooks was my teacher. I’m sorry to say I can’t even remember any names, it would be nice to find somebody that I knew or that remembered me. After Bentfield I went to the Knoll.

    By Jennie Collins (nee Bowman) (03/02/2009)
  • This site is the only success I’ve had in trying to locate anyone or anything related to my childhood. I was at Benfield from 1958 (I think, the memory is a little rusty) some of the names from the photos are familiar but I can’t place them. Mr Gallagher, Miss Siegeman, Miss Bellifante and Ms Reilly I remember. Miss Bellifante gave my brother Dave a series of punches for singing ‘nic nac give a dog a punch’ during a singing practice. I was pretty mad about it at the time, he wasn’t bothered and thought it was funny. We were both little horrors at school. She turned up at our house one day, gave me a fright. She was a Labour candidate, or something like that and my Dad was a supporter. I also remember the catholic school kids lining up for dinner, and how the boys organized fights on the ‘Tip’. I made a couple of good friends through those confrontations. I went on to Mile Oak and in 1966 our family moved to New Zealand. I too would like more information on the reunion, could some one supply that?

    By Chris Preece (01/03/2009)
  • Hi Helen, I have just come across this website and have had a great time reading all the comments and memories from everyone. I recognise a lot of the people in the photos and of course myself in the class – I am second row from the top in betweenPhillip Geddes and yourself, and in the swimming class I am back row 5th from the left. I too remember the class being a happy one and also lots of the teachers, Mr. Needham nicknamed “Neddy”, Mr. Pressley nicknamed “Elvis”, Miss Belinfante (who scared me to death) who used to walk into the classroom with a stick under her arm and used to bang the desk if you got your timestable wrong. Miss Clifford was lovely and do you remember putting the desks together in fours and covering with hardboard squares for a lesson on the radio (science I think?). Also Mr. Gallagher, Miss Seigeman, who use to play the piano, and do I recall that she use to remove her prosethis and place on top of the piano to play? Or amI getting old. I am now living in Middleton-on-Sea near Bognor Regis, I have two daughters and 2 grandchildren. I would be happy to hear if there is a reunion for Benfield so if someone could contact me if would be grateful. I used to live in Drove Crescent, Upper Portslade, quite near John Cooper who lived in Stonery Road or Wickhurst Road I believe. Seeing those pictures certainly has brought the memories flooding back; some good. some bad. but good outweigh.

    By Marian Mitchell (formerly Lynch) (22/04/2009)
  • Marian, I was in M&S recently and a very pretty lady took my money at the till and said she recognised me. She was your sister Vicky and I remembered both her and you from Drove Crescent. I used to live opposite. We had a chat and as I was leaving bumped into your Dad Jim and had a chat with him too.  It was great to see him as we all used to use the Stag along with his mate Paddy, whose daughter Myra I went out with. Your Dad hasn’t changed at all. Hope you remember me.

    By Tony Clevett (25/04/2009)
  • Hi Tony Clevett, Vicky here. Put Marian onto this website, she so thrilled to see old photos and names! Nice to see you in Marks after all these years. I think Paddy was the guy who lived in the old Cottage on the bend up the High Street? It was demolished to widen the road. Thank goodness The Village was made into a Conservation area in 1974! I worked at Hove Borough Council in those days, as was relieved when it happened. Never did I think that I would one day buy one of the Grade 2 listed cottages. Thanks for the compliment by the way! Really enjoy this whole website content. Some of the old photos of the Lanes are great.

    By vicky Lynch (29/04/2009)
  • Hi Vicky, I can’t believe that you recognised me after all those years but it’s nice to be in touch.It was strange bumping into your Dad straight after we saw you. I always got on well with him and yes, Paddy lived in one of those cottages on the bend, shame that they pulled them down but thats progress I guess. Paddy’s daughter dumped me of course, but that’s life. I think the people in Drove Crescent at that time were the first tennents of those newly built houses, very much changed now eh? We come into M&S a lot but usually I end up waiting on one of the benches like Forrest Gump. It’s lovely to hear from you. Say hello to Marian and the complement was meant. Best wishes.

    By Tony Clevett (02/05/2009)
  • Hi Tony. This is so good….keeping all those precious memories alive. Indeed, Drove Crescent tenents were all original. All kept the gardens well and greeted everyone by name and looked out for one another. Oh yes, the place is vastly changed. Quite upsets me to be honest. Do you remember Jack who lived opposite you? The Rollinsons, the Steers and the Bromleys? No longer work at Marks … at the Royal Pavilion now. Pretty keen on local history. Chat soon….Marian. Really enjoying the site too.

    By Vicky Lynch (03/05/2009)
  • Hi Vicky. I do remember all those neighbours, Brian Rollinson still lives there I think and Mr and Mrs Bromley also. Most of the others all long gone now. I think most of us moved up from lower Portslade and brought that neighborhood spirit with us. I’m sorry you are not at M&S now, where am I going to shop now? I too am interested in local history and I have a fair collection of postcards of old Portslade. I have also been tracing my family history for many years and have gone back a long way, but we didn’t originate in Portslade. My email is if you want to chat. Love to Marian also.

    By Tony Clevett (05/05/2009)
  • Can we find out about the 60th Reunion date?    I remember you Marian as well and it’s great to read the chain of old memories as this page has developed. I only found it because I was giving a talk (on self harm!) and one of my colleagues googled me and showed the photo around the room then on the projector so lots of GPs and nurses could have a chortle at my expense! However, the great discovery more than made up for humiliation (I am sadly now overweight). Thanks Helen for starting this feature – it’s great.

    By David Foster-Smith (07/05/2009)
  • I too have these photos and have been racking my brains to add some of the missing names but David Foster-Smith has beaten me to it. I also have the picture listed as Miss Bowyer’s class of the summer 1960 and the swimming photo marked as summer 1961. I am the third from the left in the front row and I too went to Shiverers swimming club. In the back row I would say that second in from the left is Linda Wells, then Gail Mitchell and then Judith Burdett. Sorry I can’t think of any more but I do recognise the faces! Hope to attend the reunion.

    By Sue Holland (Susan Walter) (09/05/2009)
  • Dear Helen. Am I right in thinking that you worked with me at the Alliance Building Society at Hove Park in the late 60’s? I worked in the filing room with the infamous Mr. Mills as our boss (how sexist was he!). And also do you remember the social club in Rowan Avenue, Hove – we used to have some great discos there. Obviously if I am totally wrong then sorry. Have you heard of the reunion of Benfied yet? Take care and would love to hear from you soon.

    By Marian Mitchell (nee Lynch) (10/05/2009)
  • Hello All – especially Marian, Sue, and David – but all of you really for expanding this so much. Sue Holland (nee WALTER), very kindly drove over to visit me this afternoon and how I wish I had looked up the page while she was here. We compared photos and racked our brains – here racking being much more effective than mine! – and we may have come up with some other names. Before I go onto that though, yes Marian, I do remember working with you at the Alliance and the infamous Mr Mills and Miss ? his assistant – it was so funny hearing them as Mr Mills voice was high pitched and Miss ? was very gruff and low, so they sounded the wrong way round. All those innuendos from him about the drawers, oh dear, how different the times were then. Sue remembers you very well of course too. As for the social club discos – my do I remember them – great music etc. but do you remember how they had to keep going out to buy new ones as the stock was so poor at first? I am now racking my brains re others we worked with – Sue Hall (Titch), Sue Lloyd, Christine Newman?, Bath and Long – first names escape me – and Beverley ?, and Linda Page, and oh bother what was the name of the girl who was mad about Jimmy Hendrix?

    Great to hear from you Marian and do feel free to email – and before I forget, you are quite right Miss Seigeman did remover her prosthesis and put it on top of the piano to play at assembly.. she was brave and lovely and talented.

    Ok – I think I will go through all the names that have been given and try and put them together, as much as I can, in a separate posting, together with update re the reunion. Thanks again one and all.

    By Helen Shipley nee Clifford (17/06/2009)
  • Please see my posting on our “Can you spot a face here?” companion page ( for an update on Benfield’s 60th anniversary celebrations next week.

    By Jeremy Pender (23/06/2009)
  • Have just spoken to Jacqui – who has also has a post pending to this site and the lunch for ex pupils is at 12.30 next Wednesday, 1st July. Please could anyone who intends going (hopefully quite a few, other commitments permitting) – either let Jacqui know Phone: 01273 294950, or email me at and I will pass the information on, so we aren’t fighting over food – that could be too much like stepping back in time! Sorry for all the confusion and I do hope to see some of you there.

    By Helen Shipley nee Clifford (24/06/2009)
  • Hi all. Isn’t it great to be in touch again? So many memories of you all and the teachers. Yes Mr Pressley was called ‘Elvis’ for the obvious reason. I caught up with Sue Holland when in the UK in 2007, it was a lot of fun. I’m hoping to go over and catch up again one day. I’m not sure I’d make a reunion this year – though my Dad (who lives in the UK) will be 80 and it would be lovely to visit then. Maybe next year, if I’m really lucky. Thanks for your kind comments Alan, and for putting me in touch with this site. Wouldn’t quite say I am ‘renowned’ though I do publish stories and books. Have always loved books and stories and it’s great to be able to work in the world of books and writing. Hope to keep in touch with you all. Best wishes.

    By Sharon Rundle nee Richardson (26/06/2009)
  • Forgot to mention, that’s me in the class photo 2nd from right in second row, peeking out between Janet Chandler and Ian Spencer. I can tell by the awful fringe my mother always used to cut before photos and from the photos I have from school.

    By Sharon Richardson (26/06/2009)
  • And wasn’t there a Lee Pritchard, a David Orchard and a Newton Roxbury as well?

    By Sharon Richardson (29/06/2009)
  • I remember Lee Pritchard and was talking about him to Sue Holland today (nee Walter). I thought he was in the same year as us but a different class – I could very well be wrong. I think David Orchard has been mentioned already. I remember him well but he wasn’t in the class photo. I don’t recall Newton Roxbury but someone else may well remember – celebration lunch is tomorrow (Wednesday 1st July) – am looking forward to it.

    By Helen Shipley nee Clifford (30/06/2009)
  • Yes my good friend Newton Roxbee is missing. He must have been on holiday…..he was never ill! I can’t believe how much I remember of everybody in the photograph and their characters. Yes…Dave F.S. and myself walked home and back at lunchtime in all weathers…must’ve been borderline Hypothermic in the winter with shorts on!….just to avoid school dinners! Although he new I couldn’t swim Mr Gallagher sold me a pair of green flippers assuring me that I would be able to swim one day and when I did they’d be really good!…….by the time I learnt to swim (1st year at H.G.S.) they just about fitted my hands….I wonder if he ever became a used car salesman?

    By Alan Scarratt (01/07/2009)
  • I forgot to add….and the very reason for linking up from this derelict barn in Lingfield in the first place….I hope you’re having a brilliant time at the reunion….and don’t the chairs look small now!

    By Alan Scarratt (01/07/2009)
  • Good to see all those almost forgotten names from Benfield and Hove County. Both living in Lancing now for two years. Alan, whatever happened to the duck? Jaw still aches. Hurry up and organise reunion. Suggest any Italian restaurant.

    By Pete Beal and Gail Mitchell (11/07/2009)
  • It’s great reading this site. Ironically I have been in Portslade every day for the last 2 weeks to take my Dad to visit my Mum in Worthing Hospital. This is because my sister Gillian (who also went to Benfield) died suddenly on the 1st July. She was 51. Some of her friends have been in touch and her funeral is on Friday (17th) I am putting this up here as it shows you how it is good to remain linked to one’s past, no matter how important or far away one is. I was in touch with David Orchard in 2003 – he had retired to Spain with his wife for health reasons. I was ill at the time and when I came out of hospital his email no longer worked. Perhaps it was something I said…….Peter and Gail’s Italian restaurant idea looks attractive, unless of course someone owns an eatery where we can have a 1959-63 (or therabouts) reunion later in the year.

    By David Foster-Smith (14/07/2009)
  • Hi Dave! I remember Gill and your mum and dad really well.  I even wanted your dad’s job at the Evening Argus when I grew up – I still do!  I’ll post a note on your “Friends” site rather than here if that’s O.K.? Pete! good to hear from yourself and Gayle.  No shortage of brothers-in-law then Pete? Lin (Lyn?) is just about the best car body repairer in the south of England so no need for you to be too cautious parking at Tesco’s! ‘The Duck’ ditched nearly 40 years ago – doesn’t time ‘fly’. No wonder we were all so happy in Miss Clifford’s class – we still get on really well now. Amazing!

    By Alan Scarratt (15/07/2009)
  • I was at Benfield School, in the 1940s and remember Miss Hunt taking us for swimming and we won the cup. I went to the 60s reunion but only knew Maureen Burtenshaw who came with me - it was very good. My son Paul and daughter Janine went there also and so did my brother Newton. It was a good school.

    By Diane Newnham ( Roxbee) (12/11/2009)
  • Diane, I remember you and your brother Newton; I used to play with him. We lived at 34 Shelldale, next to the Robinsons. My cousin Marion mentioned a reunion at the end of Jan 2010 at the Stanley Arms for all Benfield old pupils, but can’t find reference to it for exact date.

    By Frances Perry nee Dawes (17/11/2009)
  • What a great site! I was at Benfield from ’59 to ’63 and never really gave it a lot of thought until I came accross this site when setting up a Facebook page. I last saw the school in 2003 when my late wife and I visited my old home town of Portslade, going to St. Peter’s school, Benfield and Portslade Boys school. I remembered the name Susan Walters. She was a year ahead of me; she lived on St Andrew’s Road and I was around the corner on Albion Street. I recall Lee Pritchard, Tony Sanches, Keith Edwards, Tony Hanaford, Derrick Harriott, Carol and Elizabeth the surnames elude me. I certainly remember Miss Bellifonte, Mr Gallaghar, Mr Holden and Mr White was Headmaster. I also remember getting a ruler accross my hand and a slipper across my butt a few times it never hurt us for the future. I now reside in the US and have been here 23 years now.

    By David Townsend (08/01/2010)
  • What a wonderful bit of nostalgia but sad to see some deceased names. I can tell Helen Shipley that she is wearing a St Nic’s infants’ school blazer and her brother is wearing the old County Boys’ School blazer, possibly with prefect or head boy badges. School badge was quartered in the house colours Bramber, Pevensey, Arundel, Lewes overlayed with a turreted castle; motto Fidelis. St Nic’s infants’ badge had yellow background with blue logo PCIS, I think. I attended St Nic’s infants’ and primary (badge had S N on it with a cross or sword between the S and N, white on black background) and Benfield (badge was green on dark blue background logo BCPS, I think) then the Boys’ County up the road before returning many years later as a member of staff at Portslade Community College to find my old form teacher from the Boys’ School, Mr Martin still teaching geography and it is he who taught me how to read an Ordnance Survey map! (Any remember my performance as the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof!). Unfortunately I don’t have any photos either from PCC or earlier schools. Who remembers Mr Gallagher’s wonderful chalk drawings on sugar paper that used to decorate his classroom, with ski scenes and snow etc?

    By Chris Beal (27/02/2010)
  • Joan Constable, I remember you at Mile Oak Girls School, you were in a class with Beryl Rothwell right? I have enjoyed reading about Benfield School, I attended St Nicholas and was one of a line up for lunch at Benfield. Robert Andrews used to get the most food as the helpers it seemed, felt sorry for him.

    By Bonny Cother (20/05/2010)
  • I am happy to see new comments are still being added on this page. I am sorry to say I haven’t been on here for ages and I completely missed some of the message previously. There was a small reunion type meal early this year but I wasn’t able to attend. Perhaps another time. I know I owe Alan and others an email (probably more than one actually – sorry guys). Will try and rectify that and I will try to do better. Hope I am not jinxing myself by saying that.

    By Helen Shipley (11/06/2010)
  • Francis – just seen your note. Did you find out about the Stanley Arms? I still go to Benfield to collect my grandson - the school has changed a lot.

    By Diane Newnham (Roxbee) (01/07/2010)
  • To Marion and Vicky (Lynch) I have found a small photo of your house in Drove Crescent with nothing but farm land behind Valley Road. I thought you might be interested.

    By Tony Clevett (15/07/2010)
  • What memories this site evokes! I was at Benfield about 1953-57. I remember Mr Whiting, headmaster, Miss Belafante (affectionately known as something else!), Miss Clifford (fabulous teacher), Mr Presley and Mr Brooks – Music teacher and with whom I wrote a school hymn – a Sylvia Waddington wrote the words – I still have the original score somewhere. I also went to St Peter’s Infants where my mum was dinner lady and later school secretary. Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me or my parents.

    By Olive Howard (nee Collins) (25/07/2010)
  • Hi David Foster-Smith. Is your mum’s name Pat? If so, I do remember your family. I used to live in St Andrews Road, Portslade.

    By Olive Howard (nee Collins) (25/07/2010)
  • To Vicky Lynch – I just came across your name (and Marion) and I have lots of memories of us being friends. I remember sleeping over your house and a cubby of some sort in your parents room, oh and your pet guinea pigs, and you fainting in your kitchen one day when we played a game that involved tracing words on your back, and Susan Boniface lived behind you, well your gardens touched, and we also used to hang out all the time with Mandy Jupp and Elizabeth Riddleston, goodness, the more I think the more I remember. Would love to chat online and compare memories…I have lived in America since 1976 and have five children.

    By denise baumann (hickley) (14/08/2010)
  • Hi Tony Clevett, hope you’re well. Would love to see the photo of our old house with farmland behind. What memories and how that area has changed. How can we arrange to collect it? All the best and thanks. Vicky and Marian.

    By Vicky Lynch (17/08/2010)
  • I remember Miss Belifonte, I was in her class. She was tough but I learnt how to read and write from her. All the best to those in my class. I was due to attend the Mileoak school, but my brother Jack and I moved to Scotland. Best wishes Heather.

    By Heather Guinelly (Main as a child) (18/08/2010)
  • Hi Vicky – my mobile is o7717612577 if you want to give me a call or text and I can get the picture to you.

    By Tony Clevett (26/08/2010)
  • I have just received and read (without putting it down – it was so good) the book that Pauline Golds did get to write. I thoroughly recommend it. ISBN 5 800038 780456. I especially liked her description of Miss Belinfante “Almost as wide as she was tall”, as that is exactly how I have always described her too. Well done Pauline, for bringing the past to life.

    By Terry Reed (26/09/2010)
  • Have just found this site while looking for old friends (esp. Newton Roxbee and John Cooper) – I went to Benfield and Mile Oak Junior between 1957ish and 1963 when I moved to Brighton and Hove Grammar for a couple of months before my parents moved to the Isle of Wight where I now live (used to live at 60 Mile Oak Road). Does anyone know the whereabouts of Newton Roxbee or John Cooper (who lived off Mile Oak Road in one of the council houses)?

    By William Paul (05/10/2010)
  • What’s the title of Pauline’s book and where can I get it?

    By Den King (08/10/2010)
  • I remember you Joan Constable. Did you live in Foredown? There does not appear to be many of our age group mentioned ie. 1940, so where are they all – approaching 70. I can only remember a few names now: Clare Tagima, Anita Thaxter, Jill, Russell, Derek Salisbury, Tom Gilbert (deceased), Plum Smith (deceased) Brian Rinehart, Trevor Doe (Aussie) Paul Abbott (Nottingham and Spain)

    By Paul Abbott (12/10/2010)
  • Hello William. You can leave a message for Newton on “Friends Reunited” and he’ll get back to you – don’t expect a fast response though he’s as laid back as he always was… While I’m here and as there is so much interest in Miss Belifante I have to own up to once having a loose tooth removed by her in the little first aid room/office at Benfield. I can still visualise her crouched, or maybe she was fully erect, approaching me across the room before plunging two huge chubby fingers into my mouth. The following action was somewhat reminiscent of a mechanic changing the spark plugs on a lorry…but she did it – and I felt strangely close to her after that. I’m not sure if she ever went on to pass her professional dental surgery exams but nobody has ever asked me for a reference so probably not.

    By Alan Scarratt (19/10/2010)
  • Just found this site, I went to Portslade County School for Boys in the late 60’s and am trying to locate Melvin Gibbson or Danny Reynolds. If anyone can help, my email is

    By Franz Eldred Duffield (02/11/2010)
  • Great pictures. I’ve got some of the school outing to the zoo and some other ones including classmates. I still see on a regular basis Teresa Lush. We both remember (I wonder if anyone else can?) David Orchard and David Foster-Smith being “bods and bogies”. Does this ring any bells with anyone? I remember going to parties at Rosemary Cooper’s, Margaret Myers, Janet Chandler, Kim Prentice, Linda Wells and Susan Walters. I had ginger curly hair – how awful. But contact me if you want to go down memory lane.

    By Judith Burdett (05/11/2010)
  • Hi Judith, indeed I do remember you and that you lived in Highlands Road. I also remember Teresa Lush and family-they lived in Valley Road. My sister Vicky has seen Mr and Mrs Lush as she lives near them in Portslade Old Village. I too remember the parties you mentioned, I remember your hair and your sailor’s dress. My Mum brought me a ‘Twist’ dress from Claire’s in Valley Road to wear to Teresa’s 12th birthday party, where we played The Beatles LP and also I learnt to play Chopsticks on the piano. I would love to hear from you.

    By Marian Lynch (14/11/2010)
  • Hi Marion. Nice of you to get in touch. I’ve got a few photos I’m trying to get up on the site. If you want a copy then email me. I’d love to hear from you.

    By Judith Burdett (16/11/2010)
  • I wasn’t at the junior school mentioned here -I attended Portland Road, but was at Hove Grammar School from 1963 to 1968 and I’m sure that I remember someone called Alan Scarratt there and a David Orchard, who I recall had an extremely posh voice. My memory of you, Alan is that you used to go very red in the face, but I don’t know why or whether that’s true! I also had some email contact with Geoffrey Penn recently, who is also an ex Hove Grammar School pupil.

    By Derek Lennard (26/11/2010)
  • Hello Derek! No I think you may be confusing me with Peter Brackley…. mind you after an hour basketball training in the gym at lunchtime and immediately having to put on a blue and white striped garrot that we laughingly called a school tie, it might have been me! I hope you are well and what are you doing interloping on this exclusive site … don’t they have one for Portland Road? L.O.L.

    By Alan Scarratt (30/11/2010)
  • I’m very well Alan – thanks. I’ve found the Portland Road friends reunited site now so I’ll go away! But then again a fair number of Benfleet pupils seem to have gone on to Hove Grammar! Then again before going to Portland Road I spent a few years at Hove College and I can find no evidence anywhere that such an institution actually existed!

    By Derek Lennard (01/12/2010)
  • Thank you so much for your kind comments Terry. I have only just seen them. It makes all the hard work worthwhile just to know that I have brought some pleasure in the form of cherished memories to at least one person. Den, the book is called ‘From Greyscale to Technicolor’ and is available at

    By Pauline Golds (06/12/2010)
  • Hi William Paul, I remember you and your house in Mile Oak Road. I think I came to one of your birthday parties once. I think your mum was a small lady with dark hair and did you have a younger sister? I lived in Drove Crescent and I do remember John Cooper, he lived in Stonery Road just along from Alison Holden. Lovely to read all the comments from everyone and lovely memories.

    By Marian Lynch (22/02/2011)
  • Hi Judith Burdett. I would love to hear from you again – please let me have your email address or contact number. Thank you.

    By Marian Mitchell (nee Lynch) (06/04/2011)
  • Hi Marian, I don’t remember your name but probably was not into girls so much in those days. Yes my mother was about 5′ tall with dark hair and one weak leg from polio – she only died about 4 years ago at 89. I have 2 younger sisters – Penny born 1954 and Mandy (Amanda) born 1960 both living on the Isle of Wight also. I saw John Cooper last at the IoW music festival in 1970. Getting misty eyed now – lovely to hear all these comments.

    By William (Billy) Paul (19/04/2011)
  • Hello Judith Burdett and Olive Collins….yes I remember both of you well and was intrigued by the mention of your sailor suit and curly ginger hair Judith, which is how I remember you! You should have claimed royalties off Bonnie Langford for that look! (nothing wrong with curly). A few of us met up last year and it would be nice to do it again with more people coming if possible…a show of hands for something at year end may work. If enough are interested I will organise it in Portslade!

    By david foster-smith (22/04/2011)
  • Pauline, I have just bought and read your excellent book. Like Terry I had to read it through in one go. I am 73 but I went to St Peters for a while and also Benfield but I failed my 11 plus. I must write down my own memories for future family as I now regret not asking so many questions of my own Mum and Dad. Will you let us in to the rest of your life story now we have got to know you a little bit?

    By Den King (30/04/2011)
  • Hi David – Curly hair now straight. Sailor suit long gone. Good idea of yours for a get together. I live locally in Hove so anytime is good for me but nothing after midnight ‘cos I turn into a pumpkin after that!! Also, I see a lot of Theresa Lush, in fact am meeting her for lunch tomorrow. Keep in touch. Look forward to a crowd of us meeting up.

    By Judith Burdett (30/04/2011)
  • Hi Marion. This is my email address. I’m having lunch with Theresa Lush tomorrow. I will tell her you contacted me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    By Judith Burdett (30/04/2011)
  • Hi Den, thank you. I am overwhelmed by the response I have had for my little book. It makes me very happy to know it was a worthwhile task. As for the remainder of my life story…well, I only went up to the age of 13 for a reason…some of the things I got up to after that, I probably wouldn’t want my grandchildren to know!! I have since completed a novel based on my ancestors’ lives, and have just started work on a children’s book. I don’t want to be seen to be promoting my work on here, but if you are interested you can email me at Thanks again

    By Pauline Golds (12/05/2011)
  • Hi again Den. Just wanted to check that you received my reply to your email. For some reason lately my emails keep falling into people’s spam folders. I wouldn’t want you to think I hadn’t replied.

    By Pauline Golds (30/05/2011)
  • Hi Judith Burdett, I would love to hear from you and Teresa Lush if you want to contact me. I have given my email address on this comment page.

    By Marian Lynch (14/06/2011)
  • Hello Billy, wonder if you remember me, I lived next door at number 62 Mile Oak Road and although I was friends more with Penny and Mandy do remember having water pistol fights with you over the garden fence. You were about twice my age and can recall the time that you and your mates threw gravel up onto the roof of Little Gables and then walked off up the road, I was with my younger brother Cliff in your garden on the concrete hard standing area where your mum used to park her old black van with no doors on it and scarpered back to our own garden but not before the owner of Little Gables had time to rush out and catch a glimpse of my brothers ginger hair disappearing from view. Anyway she came round our house with a clip board trying to find the culprit. Your old house has been extensively rebuilt and is now called Toad Hall having just changed hands for £462,500. My mum still lives at 62. Please remind me to Penny and Mandy. Remember the day well when you all moved off to the Isle Of Wight, 10 Thomas Street if I remember right. Terry Smith.

    By Terry Smith (14/07/2011)
  • Congratulations Pauline on your most interesting book ‘Silhouettes in a Silent Land’. I love the way you have mixed fact and fiction to create a story of past lives.Your many hours of research have paid off and I recommend your book to all who are interested in ancestry.

    By Den King (25/07/2011)
  • Well I have just taken a trip down memory lane. I was at Benfield from 1963-1968. I recognise many of the names I have seen. Gerald Wilders was my best friend as he lived next door to my grandparents. I never knew what happened to him. David Townsend – if you went to Portslade County School for Boys. Then remember all our fishing exploits. I ended up as Head Boy and my House was Lewes. I now live in France.

    By Colin Enticknap (01/11/2011)
  • Hello Colin, Gerald Wilders I believe worked for the DHSS. Do you remember Colin Benson? What part of France are you residing in? I live in Findon and Lancing ,you may remember my partner Gail Mitchell.

    By Peter Beal (17/11/2011)
  • This message is for Judith Burdett – Marian’s e mail is……

    Editor’s note: This comment has been edited because we do not published emails without the consent of the person concerned.

    By Vicky Lynch (16/03/2012)
  • I attended Benfield County Primary between 1963 and 1967. Teachers I remember well are Miss Siegeman (unsure of spelling) from year one, Miss Belafante, Mrs Dawson and Miss Rosamund Clifford (years three and four). We also had Mr Gallagher for craft/woodwork. Mr John Whiting was the headteacher and retired the year I left. I have such fond memories of Miss Clifford in particular (who I think retired a year after I left). Among fellow pupils (in those sexist times when boys and girls were separated in the classroom): Andy Purcell, Andy Savage, Peter Hedgethorne, Timothy Gedye, Peter Hamilton, John Jederwski, Brian Trussler and Rob Wallace are all names that come flooding back. I can only remember three girls from my class: Dawn Bushby, Patricia Chart and Helen (a Jewish girl… I think the only one in the school at the time) that I danced with in a music and movement class! My first dance!! We moved away from Portslade/Mile Oak when I was 12 so lost touch with almost everyone. I bumped into Pat Chart while on a summer holiday job at Southlands Hospital when I was 18 .. but again lost touch. After many years in Yorkshire and Scotland, I am now happily ensconced in North Wales, but have such happy memories of Benfield, the blazingly hot summers and the Schweppes factory next door!

    By Nic Outterside (02/04/2012)
  • I think I am the 4th girl in the second row in Miss Clifford’s class.

    By Sally Merrett (nee Hawke) (28/05/2012)
  • Dear Editor I give my permission for you to give my e.mail address to Judith Burdett as I would like to contact her. Thank you.

    Editor’s note: Sorry Marian but we do not pass on email addresses as we receive too many requests. If you want to share your email you will have to put it in the body of your message and remember that anyone accessing the page may read it.

    By Marian Mitchell (Lynch) (09/02/2013)
  • Had lost touch with this site due to being hacked in 2011 and not being able to access my original email, thus never seeing any messages. Apologies to those who tried.

    By David Foster-Smith (14/10/2013)
  • Just been catching up with the comments on here. Didn’t realize how long it is since I did that. Glad to see you get back on here David. If anyone does decide they would like to get together again, count me in.

    Great to read all the comments and I’m now going to look for Pauline’s book as it sounds fascinating. I remember so many of you and especially Judy and the sailor collars.

    By Helen Shipley was Clifford (21/02/2014)
  • Hi Beverly Doo, I have a couple of old photos from 1956/57 with you in them. If you are interested contact me on address supplied and i can forward them to you. Ronnie Reeves

    By Ron Reeves (17/02/2020)
  • Hi, I have a few old photos taken 1957 at Benfield if you would like them? Ron Reeves.

    Thanks Ron – if you look here
    there are details of how to upload your pix. Thanks Jennifer ;0)

    By Ron Reeves (15/11/2020)

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