Please note that the contemporary photograph has been replaced. The former was taken from the wrong perspective but was corrected in response to the comments below.
Spending my pocket money
Tucked away behind the railway viaduct at the bottom of Moulsecoomb Way was a general store or sweetshop called Woolven’s. I was 6 years old in 1963 and it was one of the places where I would delight in spending some of my pocket money which was about half a crown or 2s/6d (12 and a half pence). I could see the viaduct where ‘Woolven’s’ was from our house at 48 Colbourne Avenue in Moulsecoomb so it wasn’t very far.
Always Woolvens for sweets
There wasn’t a lot of competition for the store in those days, there was a parade of shops about half a mile north opposite Wild Park and about the same distance going south at The Avenue. There was also a parade of shops a fair way up Moulsecoomb Way opposite the end of Hodshrove Road. Sometimes we used to have to go to The Avenue as there was a post office, a butchers, a general grocery store and the doctor’s surgery; but for a general visit to the sweetshop, it would always be Woolven’s.
Nan buying me ‘extras’
I have an elder brother and sister, and most of the time we went to Woolven’s together or I would go with either one of them as I was far too young to cross the busy A27 Lewes Road on my own. I remember going along Colbourne Avenue and crossing by the school caretaker’s house on the corner. If we had a day or afternoon out in Wild Park we would usually stop at ‘Woolven’s’ on the way home for some sweets and I particularly liked going there with my Nan as she used to treat me to extras.
Road widened in 1965
It is hard to believe that this road was a single lane carriageway. It was very sad when the A27 was widened in 1965 to accommodate the dual carriageway as the shop was right in the middle of the road on what is now the central reservation. I have looked at the local directories and it shows that Mr Woolven was there in 1947 maybe earlier but the directories were a bit vague before this. The actual store goes back to 1931 when it was run by V & R Cooper.
Moved to the Bates Estate
Mr Woolven moved his store to Thorndean Road on the Bates Estate and it became a larger general grocery store. We still continued to go to the shop on Bates Estate until we left Moulsecoomb in 1967. I went to Moulsecoomb Seniors from 1968 to 1973 and used the shop quite a lot. I used to have my lunch at my Nan’s flat in Thorndean Road and she would often send me along to buy a loaf of bread or a newspaper before I went back to school. Happy memories!