Is it a war memorial?
This photograph shows my grandfather, Alderman Horace Robbins, unveiling a Memorial Birdbath at Moulsecoomb Infants’ School. What the memorial was for I don’t know, but the photo appears to date from the late 1940s or early 1950s, so it may be a war memorial. If anyone knows anything about the Memorial Birdbath, when it was unveiled, or who the children were in the photograph, I would love to know.
Lived in Moulsecoomb until his death
Grandfather, who died before I was born, was born in Camberwell, London in 1889 but moved to Hove by 1891 with his widowed mother and two brothers. By 1901 he was living with his mother in Reigate Road, Preston, Brighton and continued to live there until after he was married in 1916. By 1929 he was living at 145 Ringmer Rd, Moulsecoomb and remained there until his death.
A Labour councillor for many years
A member of the National Union of Railwaymen, he was elected to Brighton Council as Labour councillor for Hanover Ward on 1 November 1934 with 725 votes. He remained a councillor and was chosen as Alderman for the King’s Cliff ward in July 1953. Whilst a councillor and Alderman, he was noted as a keen educationalist, addressing at least one teacher’s union conference. His remarks, as reported in the paper, still resonate today as they relate to class sizes, standards, and delinquency. He was also an active chairman of the Parks Committee and a member of the Watch Committee which was responsible for the Police and Fire services.
Horace Robbins died in 1956 and his funeral was held at Clermont Congregational Church, the Revd T E R Langridge officated, with members of the Police & Fire services acting as bearers. A report of his funeral was published in the church’s ‘Clermont Journal’ :-
“The Mayor of Brighton headed a congregation of nearly 300 mourners at the funeral service for Alderman Horace Robbins on Nov 8th. An old Sunday school scholar and a former Boys Brigade member, Horace Robbins used to say that he first learned how to speak in public from the Clermont pulpit. He had an impressive record of 22 years continuous service on the Brighton Council including the chairmanship of some of the most important committees. To Mrs Robbins and members of her family we extend our sincere sympathy.”