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Memories of the 1960s

Stables demolished in late  1970s

The first photograph here is of my sister leaving the Riding Stables at Portslade Old Village in the early 1960s. I think the horse was called ‘Champ’, who lived to a very ripe old age. The stables were run by Mick Ayling, and I think that they were pulled down for development in the late 1970s.

Grazing on the Downs

My sister and I learnt to ride there and then helped out for many years taking the ponies up to the Downs each evening for grazing, and bringing them down in a string each morning. Most of the ponies were ridden up to the Forge at the top of the hill to see the blacksmith as the service wasn’t mobile then.

Old Village Riding Stables in the early 1960s
From the private collection of Lorraine Luke

Comments about this page

  • Where in the Old Village was the stables? I should recall but cannot picture it.

    By Bonny Cother (16/05/2010)
  • Hi Bonny, it was in Drove Road almost opposite the end of Southdown Road. The far end of the High Street used to come around the top corner of the yard and exterior flint wall. My sister is the one with the wonderful memories of the place. Ijust need to persuade her to write them up.

    By Lorraine Luke (21/05/2010)
  • We were the weekend/holiday stable girls along with Sandra Lynn and Sue in the mid sixties. The stables in our day was owned firstly by Norma Cope with considerable help from Tom Mason. Roy worked for Tom who was very elderly. Micky Ayling took over from Tom. We remember sitting in the tack room on Tom’s first world war boxes, that were covered in horse blankets. We weren’t allowed to look in the boxes! We have too many happy memories to record here. Mo loved Robin, I loved bony Alex and his mum Sally who was blind in one eye. Anyone remember Eileen who was the singing postmistress of Southwick who adored Paddy?

    By Mo Ward and Angie James (30/05/2010)
  • Thank you Lorraine. I think I can place them. Remind your sister not to leave it too late. Memories tend to fade and get harder to recall as age progresses.

    By Bonny Cother (06/06/2010)
  • Hi, does anyone have any old pictures showing number 1 Southdown Road? I am trying to find one as a gift. Many thanks.

    By Claire Poulton (24/07/2011)
  • This page brings back memories. I learned to ride at these stables and remember several of the horses. They were a mixed bunch – Paddy was a joy to ride, but you could hardly get poor old Steve to move and Shannon was decidedly loopy. Most frequently I was given Danny, who was a reliable old thing, quite a big chestnut. Happy days!

    By Diana Whitty (nee Green) (02/01/2012)
  • Great picture – never seen this one before. Thank you

    By Andy Buck (02/07/2012)
  • I remember riding here in the early 1960s and Roy took the rides out. Also remember Eileen. I bought a pony in 1965 from Mr Pannell at Southwick and took him with me when I moved to Norfolk. Still keep a pony even though a pensioner now. Happy days. How I miss the Sussex Downs.

    By Lynn Bennett (nee Whelan) (27/09/2012)
  • I rode at the stables in the late 1950s into into the early 1960s from the age of about 3 years, with my friends, we all used to go on a Friday afternoon. My mother has kept in touch with Norma Cope (now Short) after she moved up to Derbyshire. I have got loads of old photos of the ponies and the riding stables but don’t know how to put them on here! If anyone knows how to do it I will email them copies.
    [Editor: Judy, please go here to see how to contribute to the site.  All contributions are very welcome and we hope to have yours soon!]

    By Judy Obee (nee Beale) (04/10/2013)
  • Are there any more pics of the stablesanywhere? My mum lived at no.5 Southdown Rd from about 1939-1964 and tells me she practically lived at the stables. Would love to surprise her with some pics from days gone by, many thanks.

    By Amanda Dawkins (08/11/2013)
  • Judy Obee, do please try to add the photos. I’d love to see them.

    Amanda, I am sorry but that is the only one we had.

    By Lorraine Luke (28/12/2013)
  • Hi, I recognise some names on here from stories my mum has shared of the stables. My daughter found this site looking for pictures. Would love to see more if anyone has them. Know this was a really important time in her life. She still has lots of pictures too so would be good to put these on if possible. Emma and Yasmine.

    By Emma (nee Short) (31/12/2013)
  • I saw Adam Faith there probably 1961! Used to pay 5 shillings for an hour’s ride.

    By Colin Watts (11/01/2014)
  • I remember him as quite a diminutive guy with a pock-marked complexion, sitting astride this large mare (horse) asking ‘has anybody got a whip?’.

    By Colin Watts (12/01/2014)
  • I got the full riding gear for my 12th birthday and Christmas in 1965, plus riding lessons at Portslade Stables. The lessons were 12/6d for an hour! Oh, happy days!

    By Renia (07/02/2014)
  • I wonder, does anyone remember a pony called Paddy? Must have been late ’60s – early ’70s. He was a bay and had a lump behind one ear; I used to ride him. 

    By Carol (10/01/2016)
  • Oh, gosh! I was just writing up my memoirs for my own children (I am just turning 60)…got to the bit where I used to go riding every week at Old Portslade stables (through the early to late 1960s). Thought I’d just look up the Stables and found this site! What memories, riding out (sometimes on old Steve!) with the lovely Roy in attendance of the group. It was the beginning of a lifelong love of horses, and the beautiful Downs and the sight of yellow gorse. I’m gutted that the stables are no longer there. I no longer live in Sussex – haven’t been back to the area for decades.

    By Vanessa Dent (28/02/2016)
  • I came across this site by chance when looking for information for a fan-site on the late entertainer Adam Faith:it seems that he took riding-lessons in the Blackpool area in 1960 and worked hard to become a competent rider (who could ride over jumps) before just giving up abruptly. In a magazine article ca. 1961 he was said to have been passionate about riding/hacking (“it helped him relax”). If anyone can give me any more ‘background’ after so much time on just what he did at the Stables (e.g did he hack out by himself or take lessons), I’d be grateful. 

    By John Hardman (29/10/2016)
  • Hi, Does anyone have any information or memories of Captain Cecil “Bunny” and his wife June Broad who were proprietors of the Old Portslade Hacking and Hunting Stables on Drove Road in the early 1950s? Cecil and June both used to live in the area. Cecil died in 1990, but his wife June only recently died in 2016.

    By Simon Jennings (04/01/2017)
  • Colin Watts said that Adam Faith, the late singer/actor, went riding from the stables in the early ’60s. This was around the time that he was contradicting himself in the press, saying that he was “scared stiff of horses” and then that he “liked to ride in order to have a break (from performing)”. Does anyone have any more info. on what he did at Old Portslade ca. 1961?

    By John Hardman (06/01/2017)
  • I remember Adam Faith (Terry Nelhams) as his wife Jackie kept a horse at livery at the Brendon Riding Stables at Pycombe (just north of Brighton) in the early 1970s. Terry did not ride, and didn’t mention that he had ever done so. He used to come along and watch and cheer if things went well for Jackie or the horse which was called Apollo. Previously to this, I was one of the teenage girls who helped out at weekends and school holidays at the Old Portslade Riding Stables in the sixties. There was never mention of Adam Faith riding there, and he certainly wasn’t a regular. The riding there at the time would have been escorted hacking over the South Downs. I hope this helps John. 


    By Mo (05/03/2017)
  • Thanks to Mo for the info. i’ve been trying to log into the site since January without any result.

    By John Hardman (30/08/2017)
  • I have lived in the Hangleton and Hove areas most of my married life and now live in Portslade again.  Some of my happiest memories were riding at the Riding Stables in the village, then owned by Copes. I remember thinking she was quite old to have children at the time she was riding and pregnant  but probably not old at all.  I learnt to ride on Stevie, who was old then.  We were taught to ride bareback and do exercises in the paddock before we went out.  There was Lady who I also rode later, Major was a very large horse.  The joy of mucking out the stables and the smell of the tack room, hay, leather and the sweat of the horses. I had to save all my pocket money and went on two hour rides too, to Saddlescombe.  I was so proud of my outfit, yellow jumper, jodhpurs, crash hat in black and I had been given a really lovely whip with a bone handle, (which was later stolen from the farm stables behind the old Foredown Hospital).  The horses used to be taken to the downs at nights and retrieved in the morning, taking them down Drove Road altogether.  Quite a noise of hooves etc.   I came upon this site as I was looking for some old postcards or pictures of the village and forge.  I also remember the forge being used.  I lived in Fairfield Gardens from the age of five years to 20 years when I got married.  I love the South Downs and have never wanted to live anywhere else.  I still have friends who feel the same.  My husband John Spicer used to live in Mile Oak and he remembers the end of Valley Road before the estate was built when the bus used to knock into the old cottage on the corner.  I also remember Fairfield Gardens before it was a made up road and just a stoney unmade road.  At the end of Highlands Road there was a large wall and the grand old house which has since been knocked down.  Lovers Lane is still in existence, all be it houses everywhere around it.  But there are still places which haven’t changed which is really nice.  I am looking for some good old photos and maps of the Old Village and Forge or the area around Easthill Park (a place I used to play a lot).  If you are still reading this, well done.  I seemed to be reminiscing rather a lot.  But I will finish now.

    By Jeannette Spicer (nee Palmer) (15/02/2018)
  • My friend Daphne Maidstone used to ride over the downs. I think she rode horses from those stables, this would have been late 1940s early 60s.
    As she does not use this media I would love to tell her if any readers remember her. She lived in North Rd old village, the only bungalow there at that time number 45 next door to the Redwoods? family. Before it was built on we used to ride imaginary horses In the field and woods at the bottom of Downsview Road.

    By Ann Singleton nee Hawkins (07/04/2019)
  • I rode at Portslade village stables in the 80s it was reopened by Alistair and Kitty Bourne. I know they spent a lot of time clearing the yard out as I believe a builder had it? rode brandy, I have photo’s from yard and on Brandy and James who I rode.I can remember Mickey Ayling, but I was very young then, also Alex, Shanoon on
    National Trust and the Poulters who had a chestnut called Jason. I was taught to ride by Linda and Jennifer page who had their horses Lady , Winsor, and Tich at the top of upper kingston lane, old barn, Shoreham 1966.

    By mark denyer (29/08/2021)

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