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The streets were our playground

Streets were safe and friendly

I lived at number 66 Hollingbury Road, from when I was born in 1950 until 1964 when we left for Australia. There were a lot less vehicles in the road than the photograph here shows. So much so that when the Brighton Races were on, coaches returning home to London had enough space to race up the road and overtake each other, I would like to see them do that these days! When that ‘race’ was on Hollingbury Road was left under a thick black blanket of smoke, thanks to the not so green eco friendly diesel engines that were around back then. As with a lot of streets back in the fifties, Hollingbury Road was safe, friendly and us kids had lots of ‘aunties and uncles’ in the road where we could visit have a ‘pit stop’ get refreshed and get back out into the street.

‘Book and skate’ racing

The street was our playground and we enjoyed playing there. One of our pastimes as a group was ‘book and skate’ racing. If course you need to remember that skateboards did not exist then. What you did was grab your current Beano, Dandy, or Eagle annual placing it onto one of your roller skates, sit on it at the top of Hollingbury Road (eastern side) and when the word was given, push off with your hands as hard and as fast as you could. Of course you had to remember to lean back to reduce wind resistance, and pity any poor unsuspecting neighbour who should be leaving via their front gate. The knee high flash of boy, book, and skate would usually, if  the rider was skilful enough, terminate in a pile up of kit against the wall of Quicks Fish and Chip Shop in Upper Hollingdean Road. Happy days.

Hollingbury Road
Photo by Tony Mould

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