Finsbury Road school:a window on the world

For the children of 1940s Hanover, Finsbury Road School was our window on the world. The entrance was two doors away from where we lived and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to go there. Bert went a whole year ahead of me and I was green with envy…

The infants’ department had a separate entrance in Southover Street and to this heaven on earth my Mum was going to take me the very next morning… Apart from the wonderful smell of chalk dust and warm milk, the only clear memory of my first day is playing in the sand table and watching fascinated as lots of tiny low tables were set up at the other end of the vast room. Only when the teacher said, “Come along now, it’s time to lie down,” did I realise that they were in fact canvas folding beds.

Comments about this page

  • I went to Finsbury Road Junior School from 1948 to 1951. The teachers in those days had returned from the War if they were men or women. We had a superb headmaster, Mr Brown, who lived by the famous ‘Pepperpot’ with a monkey tree in his garden. I was selected to read the Bible at morning assemblies (a duty which caused me trouble with my friends). The school is sadly now gone.

    By Bob Munro (07/08/2006)
  • I attended Finsbury Road Infants and Juniors from 1933 to 1940 when I passed the ‘scholarship’ for Varndean. I was the School Bell monitor until 1940 when the ringing of bells came to be the signal of a German Airborne invasion. I have tried in vain to discover if the bells were ever rung again after the war or if I had the honour of being the last Bell Monitor. Old Daddy Brown was also the Juniors headmaster at that time. I have published my biography which of course covers this early wartime in Brighton. Anybody interested just do a Google on my name Alf Commons + ‘From the Ground Up’.

    By Alf Commons (29/08/2007)
  • I also attended this school and recall the laydown time, also the spoonful of cod liver oil and orange juice we were given. I have a photo of my classes harvest festival some time between 1950 -53.

    By John Johnson (06/01/2008)
  • I also remember cod liver oil, but we were given it with a spoonful of malt in 1947 onwards and we all shared the same spoon. No wonder we all got colds so easily in those days.

    By Pamela Carpenter now Mellish (15/04/2008)
  • I spent a wonderful time at FinsburyRoadSchool; I remember the sleep time. plus I was chosen to play Christopher Robin. The years were 1950 to 1960, by then it became St Lukes Secondary School.

    By Colin Taylor (28/11/2008)
  • I went to Finsbury Road in 1946/7, living in Lincoln Street.  I can remember walking up Southover Street in snow that came up to my armpits! My biggest challenge at school was Janice Sheldon,no matter how I tried , Janice beat me every time. Lovely period in our lives when you think back .It was the time when we had nothing ,but equally didn’t want for anything either.

    By Bill Spencer (19/05/2009)
  • Hello Billy, do you remember me from school? I was very good friends with Janice. I got in touch with her in January after nearly 50 years, it was great to catch up. I used to live in Ewart Street. Do you remember Eric Bacon, Barbara Tucker, John Demmario, David Main, Joyce Finnimore, Dorothy Willie? I remember loads more. If you look on Finsbury Road School on friendsreunited, I think you are in the photos. I hope you write back on this page. You are right Bill, we had nought but our friends were there.

    By Pamela Carpenter (28/05/2009)
  • Hello Pamela. Unfortunately my memory is failing (must be my age), however Eric Bacon emigrated to Canada and became a member of the church. He is now the ‘Reverend’. I have worked in Rottingdean since 1967 and Eric came to see me last year. It was the first time I had seen him since about 1964. I remember all the people you have mentioned – also David Etheridge who has a business in Brighton going under the name of Etheridge Distribution. Beryl Brown (who is also listed on this page) has a business opposite mine in Rottingdean on the coast road. That is enough for now – time for bed. Fascinating site.

    By Bill Spencer (05/06/2009)
  • Hi Bill. Thank you for the info of all our friends from way back when. Look after yourself.

    By Pamela (12/08/2009)
  • Does anyone remember the air raid shelters situated along finsbury road? I used to shelter from the rain in them. I also remember Mr Brown the headmaster, also teachers Mr Webb, Mr Davis and Mr Sharp the science teacher. I used to near enough live in Queens Park, so many happy memories.

    By Doug Newland (06/09/2010)
  • In my earlier message I forgot to mention my class teacher Mr Davis. He was a good teacher but, having come home from a difficult war, was prone to blackboard kicking tantrums. We were all frightened of him which is unfortunate.

    By Bob Munro (16/01/2011)
  • Anyone who went to Finsbury Road must remember Mr Bowyer (about nine foot high)who frightened the life out of all of us. Come to that so did Miss Wallace who taught us in the third year!

    By bill spencer (26/01/2011)
  • I see that Janis has written a book- ‘Snapshots: Childhood Memories of Southampton Street 1942-55’.

    By Maralyn Eden (20/03/2011)
  • I was at Finsbury Road until 1949. I remember Mr Bowyer, Mr Brown and Miss Wallace. Periodically we would have to take a tin to school for a distribution of chocolate powder. I seem to remember being happy at school. No bad memories or bullying.

    By Iris Gilman (24/03/2011)
  • I have just discovered this website and memories came back of the years at Finsbury Road School. I also was pleased to see the note from my next door neighbour and friend Bill Spencer. We both left the school in 1953 and went to Varndean. Somewhere in my belongings I have a picture of the drum and triangle band taken when we performed at the Dome. As Bill points out I am now a minister (The United Church of Canada) and will be retiring at the end of this year. I was pleased to catch up with Bill three years ago. Best wishes to all who may remember me.

    By Eric Bacon (16/10/2011)
  • Hi Eric, do you remember me from Finsbury road school?I lived in Ewart Street and I was friends with Janis Sheldon, Pixie Newman, Gillian Bishop, Margaret Lambert and all. I asked Billy how you were, he told me of your job. How are you? I seem to remember you had a cousin named Barbara who lived near you -am I right? In the photo you mentioned I am standing the last girl in your line with dark hair with ribbons playing the cymbals – that was a great day. Look at Pat banging the tamborine with Joycee Finnimore from Grant Street and Gillian Bishop playing the triangle. Do you remember Janis’s dad making us our post office for our class-  bless him! Please get back in touch with the site one day – are you on face book? Take care of youself from Pammy Carpenter, that was. 

    By Pamela carpenter NOW MELLISH (06/12/2011)
  • Hi Pam, I am just reading the message page. You must know my sisters Jean and Lynn. I lived two doors up from Joyce. Are you any relation to Arcie Mellish who used to live along London Road past the turning off to Burgess Hill?  I also remember Eric Bocon- he used to knock about with my brother Alan.

    By Mick Hussey (18/01/2013)
  • Hi Mick, I met my husband Ron Mellish 54 years ago from Portsmouth so I am not any relation to the Burgess Hill Mellishes. We always amble around the old places. We love Brighton. Nearly everyone I knew has moved away. How old are your sisters. I am 71 now. Did you know Barry Taylor and Derek Johnson from Washington Street and Derek Stunnel, Janis Sheldon and John Demmario? We all went to Findbury Road school. I ask you if you remember Terry Langford. Did you know Eric is now a Preacher? Bily Spencer asked me do you remember Jimmy Langford? I’m so glad you got in touch Micky and hope to hear again from you. I looked every day from the day I wrote. It’s nice to keep in touch, take care and I hope your having a good life like us byeeee

    By Pamela Carpenter that was (19/01/2013)
  • Hi Pam, its a small world as I moved with my family to Waterlooville in 1974 and only left in 2002 to move to Southern Ireland with my wife Sue.  My daughter and her husband and one of her three girls also came here to live. I lost Sue last Oct after three years of illness. Do you live in Brighton as I found a Pam Mellish on Facebook. Its funny I bumped into Derik Johnson down in Southampton in the 80s, he was working for Martine Rossie. I haven’t seen or heard of Barry since the old days. I’m the same age as you – 71. My sisters were two and five years older than us. There was Frankie and Joycee and Marrion Finnemore, Phill and Romain Marshall, Hazel South, Terry Billy. The Smiths /Pipers from Jackson St, the Dykes Terry and Butch from Lincon St. Poor Micky Tapp who died so young. Yes I know Eric was a preacher but heard he had retirered like the rest of us. Are you on Facebook? Life over here is so peacefull the people are great can’t say the same about the weather. What did you get up to when you left school? Chat soon, Mick.

    By Mick Hussey (23/01/2013)
  • Hi Mick. Pamela is my lovely sister. I will let her know you replied. Have you a younger brother, Alexander? I went to Fairlight school with an Alexander Hussey.

    By Jennifer Tonks (25/01/2013)
  • Hi Jennifer, no I don’t have a younger brother named Alex – one named Peter. Did you know Margaret Stoner? She went to Fairlight School. I’ve sent Pam some messages. I found a Pamela on a Facebook page when I did a search under the name P Mellish. I got a picture of a lovely lady in a green dress with her husband but don’t know if it was her. I think it came under Moulsecoombe girl. Could you ask her to email me on or she can find me on Facebook by just typeing in my name. It would be nice to chat about old times and people. I have put a photo on the site of the 1953 Grant Street party – she will be able to see some old faces in it; the Finnemors for one as I know she knew Joycee and Marion. You take care.

    By Mick Hussey (26/01/2013)
  • Thank you Jennifer. Pamela conntacted me on Facebook. I didn’t know she had a sister – are you older or younger than her?

    By Mick Hussey (27/01/2013)
  • Hi Jennifer, I got in contact with Pam. Did you have a brother named Roy. Are you older or younger than Pam? Thank you.

    By Mick Hussey (27/01/2013)
  • My dad, George Jenner, always recounted the fine days at Finsbury Road school. He went there around 1949-1955 time with the rest of his brothers and sisters: Violet, Lily, Rose, Albert and Allan. Sadly Dad passed away in Feb 2012 suddenly, but he always remembered the school fondly (even though he bunked off regularly and hid in the old air raid shelters having a fag!). We did a final route with his coffin via Grove Street where they grew up, passing over to Finsbury School to Hartington Cemetery. Dad did leave me in his possessions a photo of him with Harry Sargent and Peter Fabin, and photo of him and Colleen and Barbara Gunn. Also one with him, sister Rose, brothers Allan and Bert with friends sitting on a step with mates from Grove Street area during very early ’50s. Would love to hear from anyone who has any photos of him at that time.

    By Chrissie Jenner (04/02/2013)
  • Hi Chrissie, I remember your dad George, remember bunking off with him and going down the air-raid shelter in the middle of the playground. He was the one who started me smoking! He was always in trouble for eating the choc powder in the jam jar before he got home so in the end me and him used to eat one jar then pour half of the other into the other jar and tell our Mums that we were last in the line and there was only so much left! The things we got away with. Great days gone but not forgotten. Is Grove Street still the same as it was? I remember nearly every door step was red and polished with wax. You keep your memories of him – he was a good one.

    By Mick Husey (08/02/2013)
  • For Chrissie Jenner. Were you related in any way to Jimmy Jenner who was a pal of mine at Richmond Street infants school?

    By Bob Munro (17/02/2013)
  • Hi Bob, remember me from Finsbury Rd and St Lukes? I used to live in Grant St. I’m friends with Pam Carpenter, Terry Langford and Hazel South get in touch we are all on facebook or email me on

    By Mick Hussey (22/02/2013)
  • Hi Bob. No unfortunately not. My dad’s father and families came from Forest Row area but the last 4 children were born and bred in Brighton. He would have probably known Jimmy as he knew just about everyone in that area.

    By Chrissie Jenner (28/02/2013)
  • Hi Mick Husey. Nice to hear from another one of Dad’s old mates. He never mentioned about the Choc Powder days! That does not surprise me as he always liked his food! Grove Street looks pretty much the same and 19 Grove Street where he lived looks in a bit of a need of a makeover (paint / filling etc). We have a few old photos of them and Grove Street as it was. Do you remember that the Argus did a competition for the scruffiest child in the street? Well one year my dad and his brother Albert entered and Albert won it. We have a copy of both photos, string round the waist etc – reminds me of the Clampits off The Beverley Hillbillies!

    By Chrissie Jenner (28/02/2013)
  • Hi Chrissie, god that was a long time ago – bet it was Albert who thought of the idea of entering the Argus competition – bet they didn’t wear a tie as most of the time Albert used his to hold up his trousers. If you can can you email me the photo on that’d be great. When I was over at Xmas I drove down Grove Street. I’ve tried to contact Bob Munro but with no luck yet. You keep hold of the memories and take care.

    By Mick Hussey (28/02/2013)
  • To Mick Hussey, Hi Mick, nice to be in contact at last. I live in Devon now but still visit Brighton although all of the old scenes have gone. Tingeys coffee bar etc. How are you? Bob Munro.

    By Bob Munro (18/03/2013)
  • Hi Bob great to hear from you after all this time. I remember some of these names: Pam Carpenter, Hazel South from Ewart St, Terry Langford and Billy Spencer from Lincon St – they are all on facebook and would love to hear from you – we talk all the time are you on facebook you can e mail me on Where in Devon do you live? I live in southern Ireland been here for 11 years now and love it, talk soon.

    By Mick Hussey (20/03/2013)
  • Hi. Mick Hussey. Sorry late reply. I am younger than Pamela and yes, my brother is Roy. Lovely to see you are in touch with Pamela.

    By Jennifer Tonks (09/05/2013)
  • HiJennifer thanks for replying, I’m still in contact with your sister Pam. I have also spoke to Marylin. Pam’s having trouble with her arm I think its really worrying her I do hope it gets sorted out soon. I was hoping to have met up with her last week when I was over there but it wasn’t to be. Hope to when Terry comes over in September. Its a shame as we lived about 10 mins apart all those years in Pompey. I was there from 1975 until 2002. Take care, Mick.

    By Mick Hussey (23/05/2013)
  • Glad you’re in contact with Pamela. She loves the contact with her school friends. Have spoken to Janis. Yes, shame a prob with her arm. Hopefully sorted soon. Lets hope all ok in September.

    By Jennifer Tonks (24/05/2013)
  • Hi Mick Hussey. Isn’t this a great site? Have reconected with so many schoolfriends of myself and my sister Pamela. I look in most days. Lovely catching up with the years in between.

    By Jennifer Tonks (24/05/2013)
  • Chrissie Jenner, are you Christine Martin who lived in Tilbury Way?

    By Jackie Thomas/Parker Nee Jones (25/05/2013)
  • Hi Jackie Thomas. No, I am the daughter of the late George Jenner from Grove Street. Although I think my dad knew your family well, possibly a photo of his sisters and some of the Martins included somewhere. I will see if I can find it.

    By Chrissie Jenner (21/06/2013)
  • I went to Finsbury Road school and I wonder if any body can Remember going to Rome to see the Olympic Games in 1960? It would be nice to hear from you. I lived in Lincoln Cottages until I got married: I now live in Spain. I remember George Jenner plus Ronald Baker- his nick name was tubby. Great days

    By Colin Taylor (29/08/2013)
  • Hi Colin Taylor. I lived just around the corner from you in Grant Street. I have a website called Contact with Brighton ex pats. there is a lot of the oldens from Washington, Lincoln, Ewert Street and others. Most went to Finsbury Road Juniors, then on to St Luke’s, Queen’s Park or Elm Grove. Why don’t you click onto the site and join us. We also have some living in Spain.

    By Mick Hussey (02/10/2013)
  • Mick Hussey, I have been reading all the memories you have all put on and I was  wondering anyone had a picture of my husband or any of his sisters who lived in Jackson St as the only one I have is when he was 18 Yrs taken across the road from his home. It would be great to see anything of his young days, he is John Smith and sisters Pam, Dot, Ellen, Eileen, Kathleen and Maureen they all lived next to the Pipers. Many thanks if you or any one has one it really would be great.

    By Mary Smith (06/11/2013)
  • Hi Jennifer Tonkes. Alexander Hussey was my partner who passed away in 2009. No relation to Mick Hussey.

    By Marian Gregson (07/11/2013)
  • Hi Mary well its been a long time I am in contact with your sister – I will ask my sisters if they have any photos of your kin.Y our brother John was a very good friend of both me and my brother Alan – great days out Wild Park playing cricket. I am not sure if there are any of you in the ’53 street party have you looked? I do remember shutting a tank door on your sister’s hand. Have a look on a site called Brighton Memories there are a lot from around our old area on there. Iif you want you can join or send me a friend’s request.

    By Mick Hussey (08/11/2013)
  • Thanks Mick for your reply, after I saw the Coronation photo we had quite a chat about you and your Alan, we couldnt find his sisters in the picture but the last four sisters were the right age to have been there. I will try on Brighton Memories, thanks a lot, I must show John your response.

    By Mary T Smith nee Gillespie (18/11/2013)
  • Hi Bob Munro, Did you know a Jenny Burton who went to Finsbury Road School? She lived in Lewes Street, and now lives in Australia.  

    By Jennifer Monte (10/01/2014)
  • My grandfather, Albert James Smith, went to Finsbury Road Academy (as he dubbed it) with his younger brother, William Henry Smith, around 1928/1930. Albert was gnat weight boxing champion of Brighton at the age of 13 in 1928. Does anyone know of any way that I can find out any information about the school at this time, or any photos? There was a photo in the Argus recently of a group of school boys at the Cenotaph in 1929 and we would love to be able to identify the school uniform as Finsbury Road. Thank you.

    By Abigail Smith (12/03/2016)
  • Hi, fellow members of Finsbury Road School, (now Hanover Lofts). I went to Finsbury Road infants in 1943 as a rising five year old – Miss Fanstone was the headmistress at the time and Miss Easman was my first teacher there. I then went to the juniors when I was 7/8 and 1A was my first class with Miss Harrison as my teacher. Miss Heathcoat was the 1B teacher at the time. I went on to Miss Wrennie’s class 2A, she used to teach 3B at one time. After that 3a with Miss Rice, and finally Mr Bowyer (4A). As many of you recall Mr Brown was the headmaster. As many of you know times were hard during this period, and coal was scarce, I used to help our school caretaker stoke the boilers and clean them out after school. His kindness of giving me the occasional bag of coke saw my family through some very cold winters. Speaking of winters do you recall being sent home at 3 pm in 1947 because it was snowing hard. By 5pm it was getting on for 3.5 feet deep. The worse winter I have ever experienced. I have a picture of our class taken in Miss Rice’s 3A, with the help of another member of that class Yvonne Commons. We have managed to name all but one of the class. I would love to hear from anyone in that class, and I would gladly forward the picture to them. Some of the class have already passed on: Raymond Wescott , Arther Inman, David Vinall and Eileen Upton. If anyone has any further details of our class both Yvonne and myself would be extreme happy to receive them.  I think that some of the above entries are incorrect, and I am thinking that two schools have been mixed up, regarding teachers in some of the entries. regarding St Lukes  Terrace School for boys, the teachers were Mr.Ramsbottom, Mr Wilson (English and singing teacher), Mr. Bowyer (PE teacher), Mr Sharp (Music teacher) Mr Davis (Art teacher), Mr. James (Geography) Mr. Webb (Maths teacher) Mr. Bentham (Music appreciation teacher), Mr Peppermint (Science teacher), Mr.Shepard,(Woodwork teacher) and last but not least Flapper Mills our headmaster. I returned to Brighton on the 7th July 2016 to a Post Office messengers reunion at Patchem. I could have wept when I saw my old school as a block of apartments now called Hanover Lofts. As regards the air raid shelters in Finsbury Road, I remember those being built and the holes cut into the school wall, and wooden walk ways from our classrooms out to the shelters, we even had wooden stairs in some of the class to get up to ground level.

    Best regards to you all, 

    By Raymond Stoner (09/06/2016)
  • Doug Newland, It’s been a long time Doug since I saw you. If I remember you lived in Whichelo Place, and had sisters Pat, Sheila, Barbara, Pixie, I can’t remember any more. I believe your Dad was a painter and decorator, and you lived with Albert Fuller. Our street has changed so much. All the bay window houses have had the bays removed. Do You remember Fred Gains (the milkman)? I sincerely hope your leg has improved after all these years. All my brothers and sisters are all living, Pat, Carol, Allan, Kenny and Derek. I am sure you recall a character called Jonny Jackson – My Gran fostered him until he was an adult. He lives somewhere in London. Hope you are keeping well. My email if you would like any more info is Best regards 

    By Raymond Stoner (10/06/2016)
  • My great grandfather James Hands was the first Headmaster at this school. I’d love to hear from anybody who knows of him etc. Thanks

    By Stacey Reynolds (06/02/2018)

    Hi to anybody who remembers me,I was there for about 1946- 1959 ,I lived in Coleman St until 1959,I recall so many you all have mentioned,I have been in contact with Mike Graysmark and Freddie Lankstead,I have not been using f/b since about2015.

    By Michael Rumble (24/02/2018)
  • I do have some memories of Finsbury road as I started about 1946-1959 my brother John and sister Cec also went there just before me ,I am still learning f/book etc so will attempt to learn how send photos.

    By MICHAELRUMBLE (20/04/2018)
  • I was at Finsbury School from 1942 to 1946. And lived in Grove Street.
    Is there anyone still alive who remembers me?
    Does anyone know what happened to another pupil in my class called Jean Redgrave?
    I have a list of the pupils in my class- all 47 of them.

    By David Rowland (24/04/2020)

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