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Remembering the early days

The Downsman public house Hangleton photographed in 1958
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Born in 1939

My family and I lived above Roland Hide’s butcher shop at 4 Applesham Avenue, but moved across the road to number one in the same road in 1947, the year my brother John was born. My father started his shop in 1938,and expanded into grocery just after I was born in 1939. I still remember the nights of hiding under the stairs, when the sirens went off, and the flashes from the ‘ack ack’ guns on the old Dyke Railway railway embankment.

VE Day street party

There was a street party in the close up Applesham Avenue for VE Day, and we had a parade too .That was the night when the grown ups went crazy,and had impromptu bonfires, ripping up garden fences and anything else that would burn.There was also a party for the local kids, held in the army huts in what is now Clarke Avenue. I remember the Italian POWs working on the local farms, especially Braybournes, near to the Downsman public house.

Did you live in Hangleton? Share your memories by posting a comment below.

Rapid expansion in housing

At the time, Amberly Drive, only had a few houses, but building rushed ahead throughout the late 1940s up till the early 1960s. As kids we played on the railway embankment, getting covered in chalk, catching lizards,and the odd grass snake. Brian Howard was a keen ornithologist, and spent hours at Hangleton Manor. There was an old soldier called Darkie, who lived rough in the Long Hedge, at the back of our house. He moved into the old ammunition store in Hangleton Park, before passing away in the convent in Hove.

Watney’s Red Barrel

The landlord of the Grenadier was Reg Andrews,who had been a captain in the Home Guard, along with a load of old reprobates, including my Dad. Sid Campbell was the first landlord of the Downsman, his wife was Lydia, and they had a very pretty daughter,who married an RAF policeman.The beer of the day was Watney’s Red Barrel, which was downed in voluminous quantities. I used to deliver papers for the Bon-Bon, and also deliver meat and groceries for my parents, until I eventually joined the RAF, in 1957,and stayed for 29 years.

Comments about this page

  • I was glad to see this page, Colin, because it prompted me to walk the Dyke Railway trail, which starts just south of the now derelict Downsman pub. In all the years that I have lived in the area, I have never walked up there before. It’s a good trail, and finishes near the Brighton & Hove Golf Club clubhouse, but you can continue on another path right up to the Dyke itself, which is what I ended up doing. Thankfully, the pub at the Dyke is still open, and the open-top No 77 bus runs to and from there every thirty minutes at the moment. Regards

    By Alan Hobden (10/08/2015)
  • Hello Colin, I  was born in Summerdale Road in 1940 and lived there, and Rowan Avenue, until the mid-sixties. I believe I knew you, probably at Knoll Infants and possibly also at Ellen Street Juniors. However, a striking memory is of you at the Children’s hospital in Brighton about 1946/47 when I was there to have my tonsils out. I’m pretty sure you were in the next bed to me, perhaps for the same operation? We often used your father’s shop. I am writing up my memories from that period and am currently looking for a photo of the shopping parade (without success so far). Regards

    By David Lawrence (06/01/2017)
  • Hello Colin. My great grandparents Herbert and Emmie Humphrey lived at No 7 Applesham Avenue in 1939. They were later joined by my grandmother Renee and my father Peter Barden who was born in 1930 and has recently passed away. I remember visiting the house in the early 1960’s when I was a small child.

    By Sue Leeves (21/02/2019)
  • Hello, I have spent quite a few hours reading some of Peter Groves very interesting comments about Hangleton, but have just found this page. I moved into High Park Ave, in the year 1940 and can remember the butchers shop at the bottom of Applesham. That is where my mother bought our ration of meat. I also remember her saying once, that someone there had an accident with a knife which slipped and badly cut his leg. Could that have been your father? Now the mention of Darkie reminds me of the name which we used for the man who we regarded as a tramp. He had Long hair and a almost black long winter coat, which we children found interesting, but our parents warned us about getting too near to him. Do you remember the clock tower, which was on the opposite of the road from shop?
    Perhaps you will also remember the old German car, which stood on the parking space in front of the Grenadier for some years. We used to cut across the car park on the way to the Knoll school and sometimes saw a man trying to start his car by turning a handle at the front. Luckily that no longer has to be done.
    I was also at Ellen street, junior school, as the war ended and can remember boys fighting each other, because their father voted for different political parties in the first general election afterwards.
    I would be interested to read more about the experiences of others who lived in those days, as I left the district at the age of fifteen.
    Cheers for now, Ken.

    By Kenneth Ingle (16/04/2022)
  • I am related to Reg Andrews, the landlord of the Grenadier Pub. His mother May was my fathers Aunt. I live in Australia and came across this site when trying to find out what happened to the Pub. I went there as a teenager with my parents when I lived in UK, for some reason it stuck in my head…. I’m glad it still operates, it makes it a living memory.

    By Gillian Scerri (28/05/2022)

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