‘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.
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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.
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.