Childhood memories of 1950/60s

Woodingdean prefab estate 1953
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Newly built houses in 1957

I lived in Woodingdean from 1954 till 1968. We first lived in a prefab at 14 Rudyard Road, and then moved in 1957 to 67 Sandhurst Avenue, when the houses were just built. I went to Woodingdean School where the head was Major Haggard. A few years later, I was in the same class as his son, John, at Westlain School. My last teacher in Woodingdean was Mr Betts, a great teacher.

Remember ‘Pop’ Hemsley?

I remember other teachers: Mrs Stanger, Miss Novaski, Mr Collins who ran the athletics team of which I was a member in 1961, and of course ‘Pop’ Hemsley. I thought Woodingdean was a great school. We did woodwork, gardening and at lunch times ran errands for teachers, mainly to buy cigarettes for them; imagine that now!

Do you have any Woodingdean memories to share? Please leave a comment below.

Bad winter of 1963

I also remember the terrible winter of 1963 when Woodingdean was cut off by deep snow for days. In Bexhill Road the snow reached the tops of the lampposts. I also had to walk over the Downs to Westlain School that winter, as there were no buses. And what about the great smell from the Sunblest factory at the corner of Bexhill Road, does anyone remember that?

Very happy days

One thing which I haven’t seen mentioned was that down the lane past Woodingdean School, was a disused swimming pool, this was in the late 1950s. But the controls were still operational and I remember going there after school with some mates and turning on the water, great fun! We also used to go to the dew ponds and walk over to Newmarket Copse. They were very happy days.

Comments about this page

  • My Aunt Grace and husband Ben Billinness used to live about halfway up the road on the left with daughter Vera and son Ernie.  I believe Ben built the bungalow himself in the late 30s.  All have since passed away but would appreciate any memories.

    Vera and Ernie were my 1st cousins. Grace had a sister Florence Snelling and a brother Ebenezer. Charles (Charlie) was my dad.

    By John Snelling (11/01/2015)
  • From 1956 -1966 I lived in Woodingdean in Millyard Crescent but spent many a summer before that with my cousins Pat and Janice Taylor who lived in the prefabs in Kipling Avenue before they moved to the new houses in Cowley Drive, South Woodingdean.

    Thanks for posting, Dave, as it brings back many memories of summers on the Downs, the dew ponds which I’d forgotten about and the walks. I knew your sister, Jane. Played in Woodingdean School netball team with her.

    By Linda Brooks (16/09/2018)
  • Does anyone remember the “dump”off Rudyard Road?

    By Tony Wilson (24/09/2018)
  • Hello Tony, I do remember the dump and the fun we had with you and your brother Peter.
    It all seems a long time ago now but fond memories of our lives in the prefabs.

    By Malc Latham (01/10/2019)
  • The Billinnesses lived next door to us. Roseberry Avenue?

    By Ian Taylor (18/01/2020)

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