Good old days in the 1940/50s

My old friend Dennis Parrett (see Queens Park School) inspired me to add a little more to this site.

I attended St Luke’s from 1947 to 1954 and remember my first day. I met a new friend on the way, Keith White who lived in Hallett Road, and we remained great friends in my time there. We are now 64 and remain friends and still meet up. Miss Edgil (I think) was the Head.  I also recall Miss Bell a lovely lady.  I never understood why we had to lay down on the beds every afternoon, I could have done that at home.

I only had one school dinner there, it was corned beef and Armour beans (boy were they aptly named) Other teachers I recall were Mr Tampkin, who if you misbehaved, hit you on the knuckles with a ruler edge on. I also recall Miss Baker,and a little lady called Miss Patching who seemed to us to be at least 80. She must have been quite old as she taught my mother Nora Wells, in the 1920’s.

Like Dennis at Queens Park, we too went to the Box’s at Hassocks, it seemed a long way and was probably only a big house, but ‘Watch out for the bears’ was the cry. I recall there were pine needles everywhere.

Comments about this page

  • I attended the Junior School from 1948 to 1945. I remember Mr Tamkin in the 3rd year and Fatty Evans in the 4th year, both frightened me to death. I failed the 11 plus and went up to the Senior School. At 13 I took and passed the exams for the Building School and so left St Lukes in 1951. In the Senior School I remember Mr Rowbotham, he was quite strict but a very good teacher. Mr James,Geography, Mr Davies, Art and the the Head master Mr Mills. In the 2nd year our form master was young teacher, Mr Jim Revel he was very sporty but could not keep control. We thought it good fun to play him up and get the strap until after the holidays when I think he learnt to get a grip and he really hurt with the strap. I will always remember the magnificent murals in the hall and all the young men who were killed in the 1st world war and whose names were recorded on the panels . We sang ‘Jerusalem’ at morning assembly and it remains my favourite song. Does anyone remember me and do you have any photos as mine were stolen. My best friends were John (Spud) Taylor, David Brazier and Billy Cook. I would love to hear from anyone who was there at the same time.

    By David Pierce (03/08/2008)
  • I attended St Luke’s School, 1947 to 1954. I lived in St Luke’s Road, just around the corner. Always went home for dinner, just couldn’t bear the thought of school dinners. Remember Miss Patching very well, I was in her class when my baby sister Sally was born in 1948, I had to stand on a little chair and tell everyone about her arrival into our house in the early hours of a very cold November morning. I also have a photo in Miss Baker’s class, with our little shop assembled in the corner. I remember being called into the main hall and told that the King had died, we were so young. Mr Tamkin was my last teacher; he was very strict with the boys but managed to frighten the lives out of all of us. I left with lovely memories and would love to hear from anyone, who might remember me.

    By Janet Menzies (nee Ransdale) (01/10/2008)
  • I was six years old when my mother married my step-father, Charles Barnard, who already had two daughters, Olive and Joan, and were able to rent the council house at 7 Firle Road, Brighton, near the top of Freshfield Road. We all three were sent to St. Luke’s Infant’s School, then to St. Luke’s Junior Mixed School. School dinners had not then been invented. I don’t remember how we were fed in the Infants, but remember walking home to lunch (about 500 yards), in later years. Butcher’s boys delivered meat in those days and I was often given a ride back to school after lunch, sitting in the basket of the errand boy’s bicycle, what a thrill. Going to school we walked down Queen’s Park Rise, and when the Council re-paved the sidewalk (pavement) with smooth stone slabs, we found we could slide on the hob-nails in our shoes (hob-nails, or studs were used to stop shoe leather from wearing quickly. It was just like sliding on ice in the winter. The people in the adjacent houses complained about the noise, and the council sent workmen with pick axes to dig indentations in the stones to prevent us sliding. I don’t remember the names of any teachers in the early schools, except the head of the Infants, who was Miss Winkworth, and, in the Junior School, Miss Dodge, who took us into the school swimming pool every week, to learn to swim. At the age of eleven I was subjected to the eleven-plus exam, and by fooling about in the exam room I failed. My older sister, Olive, was given a pass to Intermediate School, behind some shops in London Road, opposite St. Peter’s Church, so she had a long walk to school. My other sister, Joan, had to go to Elm Grove School for Girls, but I went into St. Luke’s Senior Boys, on the top floor, where Mr Raisbeck was headmaster. Teachers I remember in the Senior Boys School included Mr. Godfree, with his infamous sjambok, a “stick” cut from a strip of elephant’s hide that he had brought back from South Africa, which left a really painful mark when applied to one’s palm. Mr. Godfree was a good teacher, with an interest in science, which I greatly enjoyed. One of the lessons was how to make an electric motor that worked, from a cotton reel, a steel knitting needle, some brads, and a coil of wire. We also made electric shocking coils, with which we had a lot of fun. One afternoon a week we were taken to the flat area in Whitehawk valley, where we played football in the winter and cricket in the summer, with Mr. Godfree as referee or umpire. In about 1931 we lined up in the playground, each with a small Union Jack, to greet Amy Johnson, who had just returned from the first solo flight by a woman from London to Darwin, in Australia. 11,000 miles, in a De Havilland Gypsy Moth, a plane that later became the standard Royal Air Force trainer. I have a lot more memories, at the age of 86, and would be happy to get e-mails at, where I now live in New Jersey, USA.

    By Robert E (Robin) Green (27/12/2008)
  • I started at St Lukes Infants in 1935 and well remember Miss Patching (who seemed old even then), and Miss Winkworth who took our class. Very happy days with parties for St George’s Day and the Coronation etc.  I moved on to the Junior school and was fortunate enough to have Miss Olive Baldwin as a class teacher throughout my 4 years there. Such an excellent & inspiring teacher whose influence has stayed with me all of my life. Mr Tamkin took the class in the next room. In 1941 I passed the 11 plus and went on to Varndean.

    By Peter Nutley (15/02/2009)
  • I to went to St Luke’s Infants’ School in 1934. I also attended St Luke’s Junior school; Miss Crowhurst was my first teacher there and many a time I had my knuckles wrapped by her ruler. I was also taught by Mr Tamkin and Mr Evans. In 1941 I was evacuated with Miss Baldwin and other children to West Yorkshire. I came back to Brighton in 1943. I lived in Down Terrace, and then went on to Elm Grove Senior Girls School.

    By Helen Winter (22/07/2009)
  • I attended St Luke’s Junior School from 1958 to 1962 (and the Infants’ before that). My brother Chris started there in 1960, and my sister Judy in about 1965. In addition, my mother (Genevieve Barbour, started about 1936) was a pupil there, as was my grandmother (Nellie Mullins, who took part in the move from another school, I think down Islingword Road, when St Lukes opened). In year 1, I had Mrs Back as my teacher, with Mrs Morgan in year 2. I remember Miss Baldwin as a powerful influence, being my form teach for years 3 and 4 (the arrangement was that she and Mr Tamkin took the ‘A’ stream for two years consecutively, in alternation). The head teacher was Miss Edgell, and she and Miss Baldwin lived together; they were friends on my family. I was Head Boy in year 4, then left to attend Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School. Four St Luke’s pupils went there in that year; Brian Warburton, Robert Butterfield, me, and a name I can’t remember.

    By Bob Eager (28/02/2010)
  • I have just told my husband about this site and he found it very interesting as he and his brothers and sisters all went to St Luke’s school and lived at 9 Firle Road. His mother was expecting at the time went into hospital – Brighton General. While in there his family were moved to 39 Firle Road. His mother had 8 children all of which were born at except my husband. The family name is Catt. My husband remembers all the teachers names that have been spoken about. The boys Tony (my husband), David and John were in the school boxing team. Their elder brother Peter boxed for the buiding school in Hanover Street and they all boxed for the Brighton boys club as did their sons. A teacher, Mr Bowden took them for boxing at St Lukes school other people that were involved with the boxing and were Brighton people are Wally Sweetman, George Chapman, John Moon also a Mr Metcalfe who was a teacher at Queens Park school taught the boys the art of boxing and Mr Metcalfe went on to run the school boys boxing.

    By Kathleen Catt (03/02/2011)
  • I just happened to see this and I wondered if your husband knew my dad - Reg Freeman? My dad went to St Lukes and also boxed for Brighton Boys’ Club.

    By Karean Freeman (08/02/2011)
  • I attended St Lukes infants. I attended St Lukes Infants and Junior school from 1946-1953.These were were the happiest days of my life, even though for the last two years Mr Tamkin, with his ruler, was my teacher. St Lukes had a very good record for passes and went on to Varndean and I hated the school, but made some good friends.

    By Les Thwaites (15/02/2011)
  • I spoke to my husband and he said he remembers your dad’s name but he thinks your dad was more his younger brother’s age. He will be 65 this month-we are seeing him this weekend so we will ask him and let you know.

    By Kathleen Catt (15/02/2011)
  • I lived next door to the Catt family at No 41. We originally lived in No 46 then moved to 41. I remember Tony who I think was the eldest, then Dave ( if I remember correctly known as Bert), Johny, Jill, Maureen,( I think). Memory escapes me from more names. I remember Mrs Catt very well, lovely lady and friend to my mum. She looked after all her children when times weren’t easy and I can remember her sewing thousands of mantles for the kids to take down to the mantle place at the bottom of Freshfield Road. Next door to us was the Albrows, Ted ran a boxing club and took Georgie his son. His sister I think was called Ann. Other names in the street were The Jones, son David, Frosts, son Barry, De Beaux, son Roger, Averys, Hogbins, Robinsons, Cantle twins and other names that I can’t quite recall. I remember all the kids playing tin can wobbler, football at the racecourse, and in the tunnel under the course itself, looking after cars on racedays, playing on the reservoir walls. My Mum and Dad have passed away now but they often recalled Mrs Catt and how we all got by in those days.

    By Keith Stafford (24/03/2011)
  • Hi Kathleen. I remember a lot of your contribution as my family lived next door to Mrs Catt. We also lived in two houses in Firle Road. We started off in No 4., I believe our neighbours were Mrs Robinson and her son. We moved from the two bed house to the three bedrooms at No 41 when my sister Ann had to have her own bedroom, being the eldest (only girl) of the three children. My mum liked Mrs Catt very much and before Mum died we would often recall living next door to the Catt family. I can’t remember all the names but can recall, oldest first, I think, Peter, Tony, Yvonne (not sure of order) David, ( known as Bert ), Jill and John, Linda. Sorry, apologies to whoever but my memory is now shot on names. I also remember our neighbours on the other side , The Albrows in 43. Ted, the dad was into boxing as was George, his son. I think his sister was Ann and Mum Pat. Directly across the road from ours and the Catts was Mrs Bishop with her son (Roger?) who had a record player ( very posh then) and used to play his records really loud and jive with the door handle of his upstairs bedroom. Other family names I recall were: Blackmans, Debeau, Shemanents, Jones, Cantle (twins), Avey, Hogbin, Doug Austin and his Mum, Robinson, James and the Edges (top of Freshfield). There are probably more to remember but I’m blank at the moment. Most of these children went to St Luke’s infant, juniors and seniors. Some left after the juniors to go to other schools like Elm Grove, Fawcett, etc. I especially have fond memories of the Catt family as their Mum was lovely. We would go into their house and she would be busy beavering away sewing gas mantles, probably doing thousands over the years to bring in some extra money. Times were a bit tight then, my mum used to do barmaiding for the Edlins pubs and Dad used to work extra shifts, after doing his normal Southdown bus job, at the Metropole Hotel at night to get extra cash. Very little help or welfare for people then was available and people used to try to help each other when they could. I also remember going to Black Rock with Johny and Jill, remembering Johnny was especially good at diving off the boards. We sometimes used to see Arthur Haynes, an old time comedian down there sunning himself, who was probably appearing at the Hippodrome or wherever.I don’t know if my memories will revive others but I hope all the families are as well as they can be.

    By Keith Stafford (24/03/2011)
  • I went to St Lukes from 1947/1959. Mr Tamkin I remember as a bully. I enjoyed my school days apart from Mr Tamkin.

    By David Gillam (24/03/2011)
  • Re David Gillam- do you have a sister Phyliss? I think you emigrated to Canada?

    By Doreen Fordham (27/08/2011)
  • Dear David Gillam. Were your parents Albert and Phylis Gillam and you had a younger sister young Phil as your parents called her, and you lived in Bentham Road? If so your parents and mine were very old friends going back before the war. We lived in Queens Park Road. If so I would like to hear from you. I was at St Lukes Juniors from 1947 (Mr Tampkin) to 1949 (Mr Evans) and then into the Seniors from 1949 till 1951. I then went to The Building School in Hanover Terrace. David Pierce.

    By David Pierce (05/01/2012)
  • I lived in Bentham Road next door to Mr and Mrs Gillam, this was in the early 1960s. They were a very nice friendly couple who, as I remember, had a daughter married to a fireman. I believe their daughter also had a daughter, their grandchild, but I may be wrong.

    By Barrie Searle (06/01/2012)
  • How strange to find someone here with the same name as me. I would be interested in contacting the other David Gillam to see where the connection is.

    By David Gillam (07/01/2012)
  • Dear David Gillam, sorry the Gillam that I knew who lived in Bentham Road was in fact a Barry Gilham. I think that he went to Finsbury Road School, he would now be about 72. Sorry it’s all a very long time ago. 

    By David Pierce (19/01/2012)
  • Nice to see pics of people from St Lukes School. I’m John, now 69yrs living in Spain, since 2004. I ran my own care home for a number of years before moving to Benitatchell, north of Alicante, Spain. Great to see all the names from the old days.

    By John Avey (21/05/2012)
  • Nice to read about,the old school and all the great familes of Firle Road. My number was 71, next to Chapmans & Hogbins and also Trotts. Everybody in that road was great. I miss those days and always think about them while living in Spain. Thanks for all the good times all you from Firle Road.

    By John Avey (16/08/2012)
  • It’s interesting to see the links to Firle Road and St Luke’s. My grandmother and uncle lived at number 47 until Granny died in 1987 and Uncle Philip moved around 1995? Anyone remember the Blundells?

    By David Blundell (18/08/2012)
  • It is great to see names from the past. I know the Albrows- Ted the father was one of the corner men at all the inter school boxing bouts. I was friends with Ann and even went to her wedding. She ran a shop in Whitehawk Ave with Denis. I last saw George at Ian and Sally Bingham’s party over Woodingdean. I also knew the Catt family. My brother used to box with Tony. Wally Sweetman helped my brother run the silver ring.  My brother had changed his name to Martin and his son was a good boxer. I also knew John Virgo and David Gilliam. I hope you like it in Spain John. I live in Ireland but still miss Brighton. I was over there for Xmas-my first visit for 11 years. I had a drive around-it still seems the same. Best wishes to you all

    By Mick Hussey (18/01/2013)
  • How wonderful to see all the names above, I knew most of them and a lot of them I had forgotten. I lived at 4 Firle Road with my brother Syd. I have very fond memories of growing up in Firle Road and attending St Lukes, Unfortunately, I only have one class picture and would love to see some on this site. My brother boxed with David Catt (Bert) on boxing team. I still visit Brighton quite often as my youngest daughter lives there, not a million miles from Firle Road, she also attended St Lukes with her sister. Keep up the memories.

    By Roger Ivermee (24/01/2013)
  • Hi Roger. What year is the photo you have? Would love to see it. I was captain of the school boxing team in 1955. If you could email it to me at  it would be very welcome. And anyone else with any photos from those great years too. Thanks

    By Mick Hussey (18/04/2013)
  • I would like to know if anyone remembers my dad and his brothers who all attended St Luke’s and lived in Washington Road, then Hampden Road – my dad is Bernie Pratt, his brothers were Ron and Jon. Thank you

    By Bev (05/09/2013)
  • Does anyone remember my dad David Holden? He went out with Ann Albrow years ago and remembers their shop on the corner of 43, Firle Road very well.

    By Janene Holway (09/02/2014)
  • My Dad attended St Luke’s School in the 1920s & 1930s. His name was Ronald Leslie Barber, born 1920. He lived at 237 Freshfield Rd which I think is on the corner with Firle Rd. I remember my Dad telling me that he was in a school boxing match, and he lost the match because his opponent started crying and he wouldn’t hit him. He said the headmaster gave him a shilling after the match! He was also in the Boys Brigade as well which was held in a church in Islingword Rd. My Mum and Dad emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in 1950 and he died here in 1990. His brother Bob (Douglas Robert) Barber also attended St Lukes but lived in Brighton all his life and never married. My brother Tony and I went back for his funeral in 1995 and held a get-together for his neighbours and friends at the Freshfield Inn.

    By Geoffrey Barber (11/02/2014)
  • Hi Jenene, I well remember the Holden family that lived in Glyne Road, I also remember Ann Albrow and her family that lived at the top end of Firle Road, however in all the years I lived in Firle Road to my knowledge there was never a shop in the road. I do recall David and John Holden.

    By Roger Ivermee (18/02/2014)
  • Stumbled across this page by chance. I was very interested to see my maiden surname, Hogbin mentioned. My father has been dead many years now and my mother died recently, so there’s no longer anybody to ask about the Hogbins that a couple of you mention in Firle Road. I wonder if that would have been my father’s family? His name was Reg and his parents were Nellie and Arthur.

    By Susan Hogbin (22/02/2014)
  • This is for Susan Hogbin – are you the same Susan Hogbin that went to St. Andrew’s School in Hove? If so, please reply to   Thanks.

    By Mark Evans (09/03/2014)
  • My grandad was Ronnie Homewood, who went to Queens Park School and won the schoolboy boxing championships of Great Britain in 1948. If anyone has any information about this I would love to hear from them, especially if they have any photographs. He married my nan, Sena Scholey, in 1954 and sadly passed away in 1991.

    By Kris Townsend (28/02/2015)
  • Is that John Avery who used the Florida Rooms’ dance hall and the Regent? Hope you enjoy Spain!

    By David Gillam (03/04/2015)
  • Hello namesake. I lived in Lynton Street and went to St Lukes school. Worked in the building trade and then down the Open Market.

    By David Gillam (09/04/2015)
  • Re Firle Road – does anyone remember the Maynards or later Lane’s of no. 1 Firle Road.

    By Ruby Maynard (20/01/2017)
  • Was Tony Catt in Hong Kong with me serving with the 49th Field Regiment?  Does anybody remember the VE party outside my nan’s house (67 Pankhurst Avenue)? If so have they any photos from 1945?

    By Doug Raynford (20/01/2017)
  • I remember the Lanes as they lived opposite us at No 4. Mr Lane worked for Seeboard and had a daughter who I think attended Varndean, Mr and Mrs Haffenden lived on the corner and used to collect the swill for their pigs on the allotments by the racecourse, I also remember them watching the coronation on our new TV.

    By Roger Ivermee (20/02/2017)
  • Hi Keith Stafford. Sorry, I don’t know you but I went to St Luke’s Primary School towards the end of the 2nd world war and shortly after. I lived in Queens Park Rise. You mentioned the Catt family. I remember a classmate called Yvonne Catt, who you have mentioned in your comment. She would be my age. Hope she is still around; I often think of her. Also in the class was Barbara Mitchell, Anne Bowles, Richard Pont and George Hearn. Lots of others too numerous to remember. Yvonne, if you are out there please say hello.

    By John Deacon (23/05/2017)
  • I attended St Lukes in 1959 and 1960 before we emigrated to Australia. Mrs Black was my teacher and Miss Edgell was the Principal. Robert Eaga who has contributed to this page was a friend of mine. His mother and my mother used to meet in the park together. This was all nearly 60 years ago so it came as a surprise to see his name on this site.

    By Rob Tidd (10/09/2017)
  • I was at St Lukes from 1954 until 1959. It was post eleven plus, and I think that it was boys only. Does anyone remember Mr Davis, who taught art? His ambition each year was to get one of his pupils into the local art college. A boy, far better than me, was unable to afford the fees, and so Mr Davis chose me. He saved me from a career as an electrical engineer!

    By Martin (16/09/2017)
  • Does anyone remember a lad called “Pence” who attended St. Lukes in the early 40s. He was the son of a farmer  whose home was near Swindon.He briefly “stepped out” with my mother who was teacher training at St’ Mary’s Fullwood Park, Cheltenham.

    Kind regards,

    Laurence Davidson


    By Laurence Davidson (15/05/2018)
  • In answer to Doug Raynford’s request – I have a photo of the VE Day Party in Pankhurst Avenue.  Not sure how I post it on this page, but would be happy to do so.

    By Patsy Graham (20/07/2018)
  • I started school at St Lukes in 1943. I lived in Whichelo Place. I was in Mr Long’s Class, then Mr Sharman’s.  I remember many a time going down into the air raid shelters where lessons continued until the All Clear, sadly as an Ambulance Driver/Attendant taking Mr Sharman into Hospital in 1959, where he passed away. Best wishes to a grand school 

    By Mr John charles Rickwood (22/08/2018)
  • Hello John Rickwood.I went to St Lukes in 1942.I Lived at 91 Elm Grove. Am I right in saying that the head master was Mr Pollard? (always wore a brown suit) I was in Mr Shaws class. I remember Mr Long, Mr Bradford, also the science teacher Mr Godfrey. Who was your teacher?Because of the teacher shortage, we had to march to park street to share the teaching, then we were ‘put out to work’ at 14.Can you name a few of the boys?


    By Charlie Bull (27/10/2018)
  • Hello Again John, I remember a few names: Ginger Radcliff, Nettlie, Stepney, Diplock, Roy Kelly,(Longs Class) Malley, Beard, Washington, Harris, and my mate Gordon Teague.

    By Charlie Bull (28/10/2018)
  • I attended St Luke’s 1951 to 1954 as did my younger brother Jim, great school, good friends, moved to the U.S In 1965 been there ever since. A few names I remember, Tony Catt. Brian Vinal, Billy Crump, Johnny West, the teachers were Flapper Mills,.Jack Webb, Dough Davies, Jack Bentham. Good old Mr Wilson, and Mr Bowden.

    By Terence Langford (01/05/2019)
  • I will be in Brighton between June 26th through July 15th, if any of my old school mates remember me. Please respond so that we may be able to meet up? I attended St Luke’s 1951/1954. Was in class 1a through 4a.

    By Terence Langford (04/05/2019)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *