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Hollingbury in the snow

© Copyright Simon Carey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

I remember when Hollingbury was cut off by a snow storm and in the morning the snow outside our flat window was up to the window sill and we were on the first floor so there was a twelve foot drop to the floor below. My brother David was in his pyjamas and opened the window and climbed out onto the sill to feel the snow but he slipped and fell down into the abyss. He was shouting at me to get him out, but I was in a fit of laughter. I grabbed a coal shovel and went down the stairs followed by my mum screaming out for me to get him out of the snow, it didn’t take long to get him out, he was ok, just a bit cold, but I was still laughing.

Adventures in the dark

That night we got some tin trays and we made our way up through the snow to the golf link at the top of Ditchling Road, we all sat on our trays and pushed off and slid on our way down to the tennis courts, but when we were half way down the hill there was a sudden power failure and the whole lights in Brighton went out. We were in total darkness, we tried to slow down when suddenly we hit the hedge at the bottom of the hill with a thud. Luckily, we were all ok, a few bruises and cuts but no broken bones.

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Comments about this page

  • Ben, great! what date was all this please? I live up in Hartfield Avenue and have to explain to disbelievers that we live above ‘the snow-line’…which, as I am a geography lecturer I hope they believe!

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (27/10/2020)
  • Hi Geoffrey.
    You can be assured that you are right, Hollingbury is definitely above the snow- line. The time that I wrote about was in the winter of 1961/63.
    Hollingbury was snowed under for three days, no buses could get in and no cars could get out.
    I remember that my dad had to get to work as he worked on the Brighton Belle. I can remember looking out of our flat window in Birch Grove Crescent waiting for him to come home , when he came into view struggling to stand upright with the snow up to three foot deep carrying, our Sunday roast.
    In 1988 I was working as a taxi driver . It was around five in the evening when it started snowing and the flakes were a big as a 50p coin and it was coming down very heavy. I got a job to take a fare out to Patcham, and by the time I had picked them up and arrived at the destination, cars were sliding everywhere ,everyone was abandoning the cars and walking. I was lucky to have a Ford Cavalier as a taxi which was a diesel car. It was snowing so hard that it was hard to see out of the windscreen, and the kerb had disappeared under the snow. I was given a job to pick up a girl who I was told was waiting on the junction of Carden Hill and Hartfield Avenue. I got there as quick as I could and luckily found her waving her arms in the middle of the road with a torch, completely smothered in snow. I got her in the car and she was frozen.
    We slowly climbed up Carden Hill at a snails pace, hoping not to go into a skid. We eventually reached Woodborne Garage and turned into Ditchling road , when believe it or not a man passed us with skis on and he waved as he went down the hill at a fast pace. So Hollingbury is definitely under the snow-line.

    By ben breeds (06/11/2020)
  • Ben, I have lived up here in Hartfield Avenue since 1992 and on more than a few occasions it has snowed hard in Hollingbury, but when you drive down to Fiveways you have a lot of people staring at the car with its covering of snow! As we have a double bus route in Carden Hill that does get gritted, but getting to it from the ungritted backwoods of Hartfield Ave can be problematic!

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (06/11/2020)
  • Hi Geoffrey.
    l see what you mean by the snow- line, you can be assured that Woodbourne garage is the highest part of Hollingbury, and most years when its very cold it snows , it may only be around a foot deep, but deep enough to get the sleds out. But as you walk down from the garage the snow gets less and less until it disappears . There has been several times when I have been working my taxi in the Hollingbury area and as I reach the top of Surrenden Road there was sometimes a few inches of snow on the ground. I have seen it so many times that I get used to it.

    By ben breeds (11/11/2020)

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