Photos and articles about Brighton and Hove in the time of coronavirus. See our collection and add your own!

Ovingdean Stores

Family picnic in Ovingdean 1929
From the private collection of John Bisset

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.

Happy retirement

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.


Comments about this page

  • The photo brings back similar memories of my own childhood. The absolute joy on the faces of the people, and also the lovely simple almost free joy of fresh air and the warmth of a sunny day in the country. I remember as a kid in the late 40s and 50s the Ovingdean stores. Sometimes on a sunny Sunday myself along with my family would get the 7b bus from Arundel Road to Ovingdean for a picnic on Beacon Hill. We had our food with us, usually hard boiled egg sandwiches and jam sandwiches. Always a couple of bottles of water and a methylated spirit stove for making tea. We bought sweets at the stores everytime when we visited Ovingdean. It was such a peaceful place where I personally loved listening to the skylarks that seemed to sing all day long. If my dad was feeling up to it we would walk along the clifftop back home to Bennett Road. I still to this day enjoy the simple things in life such as warm sun (when we see it) and the beautiful countryside. Such a pleasing photo full of memories.

    By Mick Peirson (10/05/2013)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.