I grew up at 11 Bellevue Cottages, the last house on the dead end (and still unpaved) street at the top of Bear Road above the cemetery. My grandfather, George H. Hillman and my Uncle Jim had Windmill Farm; this stretched from the top of Bear Road to Bevendean. Before this my grandfather managed Bevendean Farm in the valley. He moved to Bolney when they banned the keeping of pigs on the Race Hill in 1960; the farm buildings were demolished and the council let the land to horse people.
Cottages built circa 1880s
I moved back to the house I spent my early years in with Mum & family when Uncle left. I went to Coombe Road School as did my Mum, Sylvia Hillman, who was raised in the house her father bought in 1908. The houses, we were told by Uncle Ern, were built at the same time as Brighton General Hospital (1866) for workers there, but I later researched and could not date them before the 1880s.
A close community
They were originally semi-detached with outside loo and no bathroom. There were three older and smaller cottages at the end of the street facing Bear Road that were demolished in the 1930s. My Mum remembered these, as well as a shepherd’s hut built into the cemetery wall at the top of Bear Road. Growing up there was fun, but somewhat isolated with few other children on our street. Everybody knew each other on the street of only eleven houses, but we never had street parties.