Ill equipped for recreation

Entrance to Hove Recreation Ground
Photo taken by John Desborough, Jan 2003

Tucked between Shirley Drive and Old Shoreham Road, this is an unlovely squarish field with a small pavilion at the centre.

The perils of winter
It is, at least in winter, ill-equipped for recreation, though it serves as sanctuary for any number of simultaneous football matches. Everyone comes away from the field with mud-spattered blue knees – including the frozen spectators.

An obstacle to be crossed
For others, it is an obstacle to be crossed in the evening on the way from Hove Station to Hove Park Road and beyond!

Comments about this page

  • Hove Recreation Ground is a rather special site in terms of its trees. Apart from the regular species of elm planted around the centre of the park, there are, to its northern perimeter, examples of Wych elm (Ulmus glabra) cultivars. Many of these are almost impossible to find anywhere else in the UK. Of these are ‘Cinerea’ with its peculiar folded leaves; ‘Insularis’ being tall and narrow. Other trees exist like a small leaved European elm and some odd hybrids. The thing that always got me about the Recreation Ground is how on earth does anyone play football on such a slope?

    By Peter Bourne (10/09/2003)
  • In the late 1970s this was the training ground for Brighton and Hove Albion. Many a cold morning I made the short walk along Old Shoreham Road, with the likes of Messrs Lawrenson, Ward and Horton.  We went to the park to be put through our paces. It may not have been ideal, but at least we had a ground!

    By Paul Hubbard (20/10/2006)
  • I remember watching the players train at ‘The Rec.’ as a star struck teen!

    By Lynn Huggins - Cooper (06/11/2006)
  • I have to say what a great and well used park HovePark is. There is now a wonderful safe play area for children of all ages. I have been using the park for the last 35 years taking my children there and now my grandchildren. I used to walk there with my children taking their bikes so they could ride them in safety and sit on the grass and watch them play. So many happy memories and now when I go there I see young mums doing exactly the same things. Nothing really changes!

    By Sylvia Crowe (28/08/2008)
  • Hove Recreation Ground has been taken over by Hove Rugby Club. The four pitches have been leveled, a modern club house (incorporating a wonderful bar) and dressing rooms built and the club is thriving, with several senior, ladies and veterans teams plus a huge junior section, catering for kids from six years upwards. The 1st XV competes in London Division 3 and the 2nd team in Sussex Division 1.

    By Phil Lovell (05/01/2009)
  • Hi Phil. Still in Saltdean? It’s about time Hove Rec was put to good use and flattened out. It must be a fair drop though from top to bottom?

    By Paul Hubbard (18/03/2009)
  • Hove Rec was just a short walk from our house in Bishop’s Road. It was a great spot for racing your bike. I was in Hove Cottage Hospital recovering from a head injury when the whole gang from the Rec came to visit me. The nurses were confused to see 30/40 assorted teenagers descending on the ward. 30-40 years later I was on a visit home from Hong Kong and bumped into one of the gang, also on a home visit from South Africa. Bless his memory, a lot better than mine. My grandchildren and great grandchildren here in Ireland will never know the joy of meeting their mates in the Rec.

    By Michael 'Terry' Cooney (18/10/2009)
  • I have happy memories as a small child of Hove Park. I can still remember even now of laying back in my pushchair up at the sky and watching the trees go by. Also I have fond memories of the model railway up the top left of the park and many rides on the (my dad was railway fanatic). I loved it as a kid and now take my kids and grandchildren down there. 

    By Paul Edwards (19/05/2010)
  • I remember Hove Rec from my school days at Hove Manor Senior School in Conaught Road. I was there between 1956 -60. We had to walk to the Rec every week come rain or shine for our games lesson and if it was your turn to return the equipment you collected all the bats balls and other equipment and ran back to school. If you were late it was detention. For me it was galling running past the end of my road in Poets Corner knowing when I got back to school I would be turning round and walking back up Sackville Road. Needless to say I have never enjoyed any form of sport. Hove Manor school was better known for its swimming prowess probably because it was only a short walk to the King Alfred Swimming Pool.

    By John Edwards (11/09/2010)
  • Does anyone have any details on the history of the small brick building (now derelict) in the south eastern corner of the park? What was its purpose? When was it last in use? Thanks

    By Chris Webb (03/05/2011)
  • I know the building you mean Chris, it was unused in the 1960’s when I used to walk home from Cottesmore School through the park. Anyway only a guess Chris, but how about Parky’s home?

    By Peter Groves (04/05/2011)
  • Good to know that in my childhood I was climbing rare trees around the perimeter of Hove Rec. Many happy memories of playing all manner of games there in the 1960s when ‘the woods’ were fairly unspoilt.

    By Jenny Lister (11/06/2011)
  • The perimeter path within Hove Recreation Ground is exactly 1100 metres long. Great for running.

    By Micha Koenig (03/09/2011)
  • The small brick building was used by the Park keeper in the late 60s – early 70s. He used to give us hell when caught climbing the trees.

    By Derek Phillips (29/02/2012)
  • One of my first memories is of climbing on the benches of the pavilion of the Rec to see swans! I was told later that they were moved there from the Lagoon on a particularly cold winter when the water had frozen.

    By Caroline Randall (26/05/2013)
  • I can also remember being a pupil at Connought Road School and having to trudge to the rec with all the sports gear once a week. Having to bring it back to school was a pain but but the DuBarry scent factory were all coming out on our way back and we used to poke fun at them as they stank of the stuff.

    By Dennis Fielder (26/05/2013)

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