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

Beatty Avenue in the 1950s

Beatty Avenue
©Tony Mould:images copyright protected

‘Jack Frost’ inside the windows

I moved to Beatty Avenue, Coldean on a snowy New Year’s Eve 1951 with my parents and two little sisters; very exciting for a six year old. I could not believe that we had a large three bedroom house and a garden, after living in a little one bed flat in London Road. I even had a bedroom to myself for a while until a little brother came along. I remember it being really cold in winter, no fitted carpets, double glazing or central heating in those days and ‘Jack Frost’ on the inside of the bedroom windows was a regular feature.

Did you live in this area? Please share your memories by posting a comment below.

Problems with our wellies

In those ‘pre tights’ for the girls and short trouser days for the boys, we all had red wheals on the backs of our calves from the rims of our wellies, which our Mums would smear with Vaseline. It was a great place to grow up with a freedom that sadly, the vast majority of today’s children will never know. There were no pavements just ‘clinker’ pathways which were deadly if you fell over and resulted in many bandaged knees! In the early days I think there were only about two or three cars and one motor bike/sidecar in the whole road so skipping ropes stretched across the road were no problem.

Fun black-berrying

We used to draw all over the pavement but the rule was only outside our own houses; chalk was no problem as there were piles of it left over from the building which was ongoing for many years. Before the flats, doctors’ surgery and library were built, we used to have great fun sliding down the slope on tin trays in the snow. We could make camps in the woods, now covered by the Varley Hall complex, pick bluebells and scramble through the brambles to reach the biggest blackberries, returning home tired and scratched but proud of our efforts and looking forward to the bramble jelly that our Mums would make.

Comments about this page

  • I’m ten years younger than you, Elaine, and grew up in nearby Hollingbury, but the childhood you describe is virtually identical to my own. Few cars on the roads, and the freedom to roam all over the surrounding woods and wild park, blackberrying and making “dens”. Freezing cold homes, “oil-cloth” on the floors, bath once a week whether we needed it or not!  

    By Janet Beal (04/01/2015)
  • Yes Janet, what memories. Our bath night was Fridays, three girls lined up, hair washed with black Durbac soap and heads scraped with nit combs – agony but it worked as the little perishers never dared set foot in our house! Although we had progressed from the tin bath in front of the fire to a ‘proper’ bathroom, in the early 1950s we had no immersion heater & my poor Mum used to have to lug countless buckets of hot water upstairs from the little Belling boiler in the kitchen. If we wanted bubbles Mum would shake a bit of Tide or Omo into the water, we loved it and don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects. Also, chests were vigorously rubbed with camphorated oil, warmed in a spoon over the coal fire and a dose of Syrup of Figs whether we needed it or not. Why were our mothers so obsessed with keeping us ‘regular’?  Happy days.

    By Elaine (05/01/2015)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.