1950 memories of The Barn

The tithe barn: photographed in 2007
©Tony Mould: all images copyright protected

Happy memories

I have such happy memories of Ovingdean in the 1950’s. My grandparents lived at The Barn in Greenways, and we spent all our holidays there. We had total freedom to walk over the Downs, play in the woods making a den up in the copse at the top of the hill, or sledging down the field in winter narrowly avoiding the cows. In summer my brother and I walked the long road down to Ovingdean Gap, taking the St Dunstan’s tunnel under the main road to avoid the traffic, which at that time consisted of the occasional car.

School at Rottingdean

We would spend the day on the beach swimming off the groynes or crabbing when the tide was out. When it rained, we played in the cellars of The Barn, it is now called the Tythe Barn, and frightened each other with stories of smugglers and secret tunnels. We were lucky enough to live briefly in Ovingdean when I was 10 years old and I went to school at Rottingdean. What a wonderful school it was – I was so happy there but the memories are also sad, as our delightful teacher died suddenly of a heart attack while he was teaching us.

Do you have any Ovingdean memories? Please share them with us by posting a comment below.

Retained its charm

Every morning we were woken by the sound of the cows at Baker’s Farm going off to be milked and the mess they made along the road and the smell is so evocative of those wonderful times. My grandfather also kept chickens and in the evening we would walk across the field to call in “his girls” to tuck them safely up in the garage so the foxes didn’t get them. My son took my mother and I back to Ovingdean last year for a visit. The garden at The Barn was so changed but Ovingdean has still retained it’s charm and the views unspoilt by modern development.

Comments about this page

  • When I was a kid in the 50s I remember the St. Dunstan’s tunnel well. Occasionally myself and another lad whose name escapes me would go to St. Dunstan’s in Ovingdean on a Sunday morning and take a blind man for a walk along the seafront or the undercliff. I say “take them for a walk” lightly as the members of St. Dunstan’s knew their way around this area like the back of their hand. There were railings leading from the main building to the seafront tunnel. In reality they just loved to chat to us kids as we walked along wherever we were going. I do remember the horrific scars that the folk had as a result or the 2nd WW and I must say I had a lot of sympathy for the men, but I am sure they would not hear of sympathy or pity in any way at all, but as a young kid you did not see the reality between pity and what the men were feeling. I remember one chap I walked with that loved barley sugars, so I took barley sugars with me paid for by my pocket money from Saturday. One time I either forgot or could not afford the barley sugars and said to the man that I had none that Sunday. He surprised me and said that he always carried his own supply in his pocket, and we shared them on our walk. These were days never forgotten. I remember some years later that a BBC disabilities anchor who shall rename nameless said on air that visually impaired people did not appreciate being mollycoddled. I was a bit annoyed at this statement as I thought I was helping somebody that was worse off than me. I wrote to this individual via the BBC and explained the above story with pride but did not receive a reply. This person is still in the same role on the BBC. I still feel pride and still feel that I was doing something worthwhile.

    By Mick Peirson (26/10/2014)
  • I lived next door. Such lovely memories. Do you remember me?

    By Julia Lovell (04/09/2015)

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