A family day out
Our family photo album includes under ‘Ovingdean Stores 1929’, a picnic scene on the bank opposite the stores. I suspect this was a visit prior to the purchase of the premises. Mr and Mrs Miles, my uncle and aunt, with Grandma Bisset and other family members are obviously enjoying a well-organised day out.
Helping in the school holidays
In the mid 1940s as a young teenager, I spent my school holidays assisting in the shop weighing out groceries; cutting the bacon; stacking bottles of beer, wines and spirits; unwrapping cartons of cigarettes; and dispensing paraffin from the big storage tank outside the back door. I was also expected to help with the deliveries, leaving boxes of groceries and putting daily newspapers in various containers at the entrance gates of local houses. The Post Office was always busy with pensions, postal orders and the usual full range of postal services.
Locals enjoying the beer
The Stores were the only licensed premises in the village but having only an ‘Off-licence’ encouraged some of the local agricultural workers who, when they collected their pension, regularly bought quart bottles of ‘Watneys and Fremlins’ beer. These they consumed on the roadside bank opposite, and then immediately returned the empties for their money back.
Having served the local community for very many years, Mr & Mrs Miles built a bungalow in Longhill Road, a few plots down from the stores and towards the village, and retired there. They are buried in the extended graveyard of St Wulfran’s Church Ovingdean.