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Halycon days in the 1940/50s

Whitehawk Avenue photographed in 1980
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Garden the size of a small field

The day my family moved into 68 Whitehawk Avenue in 1948, was one of my happiest. After various bed-sit homes, I was agog as I walked from one room to another. We had our own bathroom, and the garden seemed the size of a small field. Not only that, but next door was Raymond Barnard, next to him Brian Butler, backing onto his garden in Fletching Road was Roger Bennett, next to him Vic Lander, and across the road from me was Tony James – all the same age as me.

Can you share memories of these times? Please leave a comment below

Always so much to do

Being a Catholic I never went to the Whitehawk schools, but through my hobby of collecting and swapping American comics, I got to know boys all around the estate. There was always so much to do, like collecting slow worms over in Woodingdean, or when the season came round picking blackberries. There was playing conkers, marbles, five stones and Paston beach. And a visit to the Art Deco Black Rock Lido made you think you were in Hollywood. I was usually accompanied by my ‘baby’ sister Mary (now Marny) and later on my brother Marcus.

Instantly transported back

Nowadays I sometimes happen to pass the particular bush that bordered most gardens in Whitehawk which gives out a pleasant and distinct aroma in summer. When I do, I am instantly transported back in time to those long hazy summer evenings on the estate with the sounds of children laughing and shouting as they play on the football pitch, on Wiston Road green, and in the streets and gardens. Then as dusk fell the cries would become less frequent until all is quiet. Like me the children would be indoors drinking their mug of cocoa before going to bed. Halcyon days. We left Whitehawk in 1955; I now live in Dorset and my sister in Beirut/London.

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