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A day at Mr Box's at Hassocks: c1950

This is a photograph of our class at the play area of Mr Box’s at Hassocks. I refer to this in my notes about the school, and this would have been taken about 1950. It was an annual summer outing for a number of infants schools in Brighton.

Hassocks seems to have been a popular place for school outings going back to the 1920s. In 1921 my mother’s Sunday School went to Hassocks on an outing.

A day out at Mr Box's
From the private collection of Dennis Parrett

Comments about this page

  • I don’t remember Hassocks but I do remember Mr Box. I was one of many children in the Brighton TB sanitorium. I was there from 1944 to 1946 and Mr Box came on a Saturday to play his gramaphone to us. I was one of the youngest and I might remember incorrectly but I thought he always played “The Teddy Bears Picnic”. He was a lovely man.

    By Joan (09/01/2009)
  • Dennis had more hair then. I remember pine needles and the bears (not real of course). Does anyone else remember the bears?

    By Alan Brown (10/01/2009)
  • I remember visiting Mr Box from Carden School. I don’t know how old I was, maybe seven. So we are talking 1953 or so. It was a hugely intimidating adventure. Possibly the first time I was away from home or without either parent. I hadn’t remembered it was in Hassocks but I can recall the coach and then the gardens. I also remember, with great relief, Mum meeting the coach outside the school on it’s return.
    Well, seem to have survived that one okay. But then there were other trips. Another story!

    By Sandra (11/01/2009)
  • I also remember going to Mr Box’s Farm at Hassocks about 1953, it cost 1/3d including the coach. My lunch was 3d – stale cakes – which I had to split with my brother – we had three each. There is more to that story that involves a spoilt rich kid, but not today. I seem to remember there were two Box brothers. They did so much for kids from all over.  I too was fresh out of hospital and convalescence for that.

    By Jeremiah Homeward (12/01/2009)
  • I have put together a summary of various comments made about the Box family who were well loved, generous people in the Brighton area. I think it is worth recording their contribution to Brighton life, for children and adults.

    They had a large private house in or near Hassocks which had huge grounds, including woods in which games were played. In the gardens there was a properly laid out children’s playground with swings, slides etc and a marquee where children could have tea. There was also a paddling pool. The school outing was always known as ‘going to Mr Box’s’.

    The house was owned by the two brothers called Box who also owned a Commercial College in Gloucester Place, Brighton. They were well known characters in the town – in the late 30s, 40s and 50s. They would visit the schools and tell stories. At Christmas a Mr Box brought sweets for everyone and visited the hospitals, where he played his gramophone to the children and women, as well as handing out gifts of fruit or sweets.

    There were also great days out for children in the Woodingdean orphanage in the 1950s; there was always had a goody bag to go home with.

    My wife’s cousin said that her Mother was in the Brighton Sanatorium when she was small, for a couple of years. Mr Box had a connection with the sanatorium and would arrange outings and teas for the sick children at Adastra Park Hassocks. Her Mother always considered him a bit of a hero and in later years happened to meet him again at Adastra Park so perhaps this was indeed the location of their park.

    By Dennis Parrett (05/02/2009)
  • I have just been discussing Mr.Box’s garden, I remember going there as a child from St.Andrews School which was then in George Street, Hove. This would have been around the 1960s era – I always remember what a great day we had and it brings good memories.

    By Pauline Newman (nee Prior) (21/05/2009)
  • I was one of the many children in the orphanage in Woodingdean in the 1950s, and every Christmas the brothers gave us a special party, lots of games and food, balloons and a present each. I have never forgotten those parties, I can close my eyes and think I am there even now.

    By Kaz (19/07/2009)
  • I was also one of the many children that, over fifty years ago, enjoyed a day out at the Box brothers’ garden in Hassocks. We caught a coach from Stanford Road Junior School for such a wonderful day that it has stayed in my memory ever since. I may be wrong but I thought the brothers were twins. Anyway thanks for recalling the memory.

    By Ken Gray (06/08/2009)
  • I went to Mr Box’s home at Hassocks in the 1930s when I was a schoolboy at the then Ditchling Road school. My main memory was of a lovely garden with a pond that had stepping stones across it. Unfortunately one of the boys tried to cross it, slipped and fell into the water , badly hitting his head on the side. that incident stands out in my memory as though it was yesterday!

    By Dennis Taylor (06/11/2009)
  • The Box brothers were still offering school visits to their country home near Hassocks as late as 1957. I recall our Downs County Primary School first year juniors’ visit on a beautiful sunny day that summer, and my slipping down the bank of their pond and getting my shoes soaked through (though it didn’t spoil a really lovely day out). The whole class had to write letters of thanks to the Messrs Box after the visit – it was the first time I ever saw the word “Messrs” being used. Great to see mention of the Messrs Box – I’ve been looking for info on them for years.

    By Len Liechti (28/12/2009)
  • Hi Len, I used to go to Mr Box’s Gardens in the early sixties so they were still open then.

    By Graham Maskell (formerly Syrett) (16/12/2011)
  • Nice memories.

    By Margaret Wood (nee Phillips). (14/02/2014)
  • Whilst researching various aspects of Hassocks history, I came across the Boxes and their gardens and finally was able to locate where I went on a local school trip at the end of the 1950s/early ’60s. Incidentally, both parents went to The Orchards pleasure gardens nearby in the 1920s from Sunday school trips from Worthing.

    By Simon Garrett (11/10/2018)
  • I went to Mr Box’s place when I was a pupil at Stanford Road Primary School, late ’50s – early ’60s. Great outing.

    By Nigel Short (22/01/2020)
  • I was at Stanford Primary until 1961 and a few years back from that I recall going to the Box brothers at Hassocks. The one clear memory was when we were in the hut having tea one of the Box brothers appeared at the window wearing a bear’s head!

    By Geoffrey Mead (24/01/2020)
  • I went to Mr Box’s Gardens twice with my Junior School St Bartholemews in the summer between 1964 and 1966 , and loved every minute of it . We used to travel by train.

    By Mrs Angela D Darkin (15/11/2020)

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