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Memories of the 1950/60s

You could leave your door unlocked

I have nothing but good memories of living in Ingram Crescent. My family moved to number 153 around 1951/52 when I was 7/8 years old. It was a time when you could leave your front and back doors unlocked and not be frightened of being burgled. Those were the days when, if you were out, your neighbours would take your washing in off the line if it rained. Our back garden backed onto the Co-op Depot where many of their services ie milk, bakery, laundry, grocery distribution and later motor transport department, operated from. I cannot recall anyone at that time owning a car, in fact you were someone if you had a push bike.

Dad kept chickens and grew vegetables

The houses were basic but adequate, providing the family was not too large. It was a three bed-roomed house; two of these had open coal fires. There was a kitchen with a larder adjoining, a bathroom, and a semi outside toilet which was opposite the coal shed. The front room had a coal fire with back boiler for hot water. I believe there were several different designs of houses within the Crescent and Square complex. The back gardens were fairly large, and I can remember my father growing most of the vegetables that we had for dinner; he also kept chickens, so we were never short of eggs.

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Ingram Crescent

Ingram Crescent during 1970s demolition

Kids loved to play on the green

Ingram Crescent numbered 1 to 173 on the east side and 2 to 120 on the west side. Within the crescent and leading from Portland Road was Ingram Square, this was numbered 1 to 20 and was fronted by a green which was always very popular with us kids. Within Ingram Crescent there were two what we called ‘banjos’; the one our end of the crescent was numbered 131 to 143, and this is shown in one of the ‘demolition time’ photos here. The other was at the east side of the crescent and consisted of several four flat units. If I remember correctly, were numbered 21 to 73; I am not completely sure about this.

My mum putting the washing out: the Co-op Laundry tower is in the background

Backing onto the railway embankment

There was a footpath to Bolsover Road within this  east side ‘banjo’, and it is still there today. There were more of these four flat units on the west side starting 2 to 44, once again not absolutely certain on numbering. In later years, and I know it was there in 1964, the council built Ingram House on waste ground in front of 62 to 74. Also around this area of the crescent there were two further pathways leading to houses built at odd angles. The back gardens of the houses from 133 to the footpath to Bolsover Road, backed onto the railway embankment.

Remembering the local shops

We had a fair selection of local shops in the parade on Portland Road opposite Ingram Square. I remember an off licence, a dairy, a hairdressers, and a newsagents called Tyson’s for whom I did a paper round for three years. There was a greengrocer, a chemist, a wool shop, a sweet shop, Kirk`s vacuum cleaners, The Golden Cross public house, and a doctor’s surgery. I also remember the Co-op Store at the bottom of Olive Road for groceries and butchery. I moved out of Ingram Crescent when I married in 1965 but my father and mother continued to live in Ingram Crescent West at Jordan Court until their deaths in 1994 and 2011 respectively.

Do you have memories of Ingram Crescent?  What about the local shops? Did you use them? If you can share your memories or views, please post a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • I remember Ingram Crescent well. Mike Clark and I were mates, we had a cable running up to no 133 from no 153, along the fences that backed on to the Co-op and the railway fences, for voice communication.

    By Peter O'shea (29/06/2013)
  • I thought I might tax my brain and see how many family surnames I can remember for “our side” of the Crescent. This would be for around 1965 when I left to marry. Starting at 129 Freeman, 131 Lloyd, 133 O’Shea, 135 Witham, 137 Vye, 139 Christmas, 141 Keeble, 143 Wren, 145 Holman, 147 Coombe, 149 Shiers, 151 Styles, 153 Clark (my family) 155 Rider, 157 Mallett, 159 Phillips, 161 Butland, 163 Boniface, 165 Avey, 167 Watts, 169 ?, 171 ?, 173 ?. Other side from 92 Barker, 94 Rushton, 96 Murray, 98 Steer, 100 Budd, 102 Noakes, 104 ?, 106 Blackman, 108 Ford, 110 Voice, 112 Brooker, 114 Shiers, 116 Fensom, 118 Hebditch, 120 Tilley. Feel free to correct or add names to question marks.

    By Michael Clark (17/07/2014)
  • Hi to you. Yes i do remember this well. I was then Sylvia Avey living at 165. y step grand dad was the winkle man and in the summer would come around on a bike selling windmills which he made himself. Some names you might remember were the Albistons, Fosters and the Smicklers.

    By Sylvia Leach (05/08/2014)
  • It is with deep sadness that I add to this page the news that Peter O’Shea who lived with his family for a number of years at 133 Ingram Crescent has passed away on 14 August 2014 in the Philippines. My thoughts are with his wife and family and this sad time. RIP mate.

    By Michael Clark (15/08/2014)
  • Does anyone know when the original houses were built? We were at no. 78. Bill and Nellie Jackson were my parents. My grandparents, Packham, lived in Ingram Square. An old colleague told me that when he lived there as a child in the ’30s (I think) barefooted kids used to go down to Portland Road to see if they could spot a car!   

    By Ted Jackson (19/08/2014)
  • Hi Ted, nice to read your comment. If you check out there is interesting info and pictures on Ingram Crescent. It looks as if work was started on the Ingram Crescent complex circa 1921 and completed circa 1926. I remember your family when they lived in The Crescent, I had a paper round at Tyson’s Newagents in Portland Road from 1956 to 1959, and my round was Ingram Square, Portland Gate and Ingram Crescent. Your family house was reached from a short footpath in the right hand corner of the “banjo” that was behind the centre of Ingram Square, I never delivered to your house. I later met your mum, dad and brother Bob when my two daughter’s joined the Girls Brigade at Hounsom UR Church in Hangleton and had many memorable years knowing them until their passing.

    By Michael Clark (28/08/2014)
  • There will be a memorial service in rememberence of Peter O’Shea on Friday 10 October 2014 at St Richards, Church Hill, Slindon,West Sussex.Peter died on 14 August 2014 in the Phillipines.

    By Michael Clark (12/09/2014)
  • Does any reader have any recollections or memories of the Brighton Equitable Co-operative Society’s complex that was to the rear of houses in Ingram Crescent from numbers 173 to about 137. Did you work there? As far as I can recall the complex consisted mainly of the laundry, hence the large chimney that was a landmark until it was demolished around the mid 1970s, I believe. Also in that complex was the bakery, grocery warehousing and the dairy distribution depot.  All the milk floats were left overnight connected to battery chargers, ready for an early morning start. When the Co-op moved their milk distribution from the site the vehicle maintenance department took over their depot, until the final demise of the complex in the mid ’70s.

    By Michael Clark (15/02/2015)
  • My great-grandparents lived at number 3. Oakes was their name and they had four children, though Sheila the youngest born 1932-ish may be the only one easily remembered by those reading. 

    I’m particularly curious about Michael Clark’s recollection of the family name of Voice at Number 110, as this was my great-grandmother’s maiden name (not a common name) so I’m wondering if she had cousins living nearby.

    By Sasha Rampton (22/06/2015)
  • Hello Michael Clark, I was interested to read your list of neighbours at Ingram Crescent and although I lived in Mile Oak, I seem to remember being friendly with Ann and Margaret Blackman. Can you tell me if they were from the Blackman family at No. 106?

    By Dave Barcock (19/08/2015)
  • Anne and Margaret Blackman did live in Ingram. My brother Tony Allen went out briefly in the early 60s with Anne, we lived at 117. We lived next door to the Leaney family and Mrs Dunk and opposite were the Barkers at 92,  my brother has been married to Linda for 43 years. I married Norman Coombs but divorced four years later.

    By Sue (20/08/2015)
  • As a kid I lived in Ingram Crescent but cannot remember which number although some of the names mentioned here I do remember especially Budd, as I was a great friend of Steven & Paul Budd. I also remember someone named Barry, he used to have a motor bike, not sure if it was a Norton or BSA but have great memories. Our row of houses were left last to knock down but I do remember playing on the building site and cutting my thumb open throwing a piece of car glass. My school was West Hove Junior School, But when we moved to Mile Oak I was sent to Portslade Community College Lower School which was at the top of Chalky Road, funny how I remember all that but can’t remember my house number in Ingram Crescent. I will add this page to my bookmarks and will keep reading with great interest.

    By Michael (25/09/2015)
  • I had quite a lot of friends in Ingram Crescent during the 60s when I was at Knoll School for Girls. Carol Peacock, Brenda Steer and Lillian Albiston amongst others and a message for Sasha Rampton- yes, I remember the Voice family. Joy is my age and was still working in Tesco at Holmbush (fruit n veg) up to a couple of years ago. She worked there for years so someone will remember her if you’re trying to make contact. Who remembers the sweetie shop in either Grange or Bolsover Rd.? Tiny tiny little shop in someone’s front parlor but packed from ceiling to floor with treasures of every kind. However poor we were, by 4.05 p.m. that shop had a queue going back to the corner of Portland Rd! Kind regards to all

    By Lesley Brett (Sheminant) (18/01/2016)
  • Hi Lesley Brett (sheminent). I remember you well. I lived at 72 Stapley Road and went to the Knoll school for boys. You may remember me as being disabled. During the day we used to hang out together around Brighton. Do you remember the flat you shared in Lewes Road? I think the last time I saw you was with John Brett at a house on the left of the Knoll school. I would love to hear from you again and catch up on the past. Kind regards


    By Dave Collings (02/11/2016)
  • Hello all, very interesting to hear Michael’s perspective on life at Ingram Crescent as a young man and also to shed some light on its history. I too grew up in Ingram Crescent (East) but had a difficult time there during the early 2000s. Towards the end, it became critical for me and my mother to leave as things became deeply hostile within our immediate community. I’m now a documentary photographer, still living locally. I would be very interested in hearing more about all of your experiences within the Crescent. Does anyone have any relatives still living there and would be willing to speak with me?  Best Wishes

    By Jesse Williams (04/06/2017)
  • Hi, my mum used to live in Ingram Cres. Her name is Sylvia Simmonds, had brothers Brian and Ronald.

    By Maria Flower (08/08/2017)
  • I used live at 169 Ingram Crescent up to 1957, does anyone remember me? I was friends with Wendy Philips, I remember the Averys who lived a couple of doors down. If anyone has any photos of 169 Ingram crescent I would be so pleased to see them. Thanks you. 

    By Annette Smickler (17/02/2018)
  • Hi, I used to live at 133 Ingram Crescent with my mum and dad, Lil and Arthur Tester and my sister Lesley, two nieces Sharon and Sandra and nephew Stephen. I remember growing up with David Budd, Mark Nichols, the Holmans, Nicky, Roy and family. It  was a nice place to live. Everyone was friendly. Sadly mum and dad died in 1992 and my sister Lesley passed away too. I married at 17, moved out and had four children myself.  I lost my husband eight years ago and I now live in Ingram Crescent in the flats. I love it here. My brother, Ian Tester lived in Ingram too in old houses but sadly he passed away too. I remember as a child I used to sit on Mrs Freeman’s wall with my friends who lived in the cul a sac. I miss those days.

    By Mrs Patricia Back (02/04/2018)
  • Hi, I was looking for details about the shop in Bolsover Road which (apparently) at one time was run by my Grandparents John & Minnie Harwood although I have found no written record of that. I used to live in Florence Avenue and go to school firstly at Stapely Rd infants, then Portland Road Juniors and Knoll Girls. On our way home from Portland Road School we would run up and down the edge of the steps on the green at Ingram Crescent. I remember a Sheila Steer from school but not Brenda. We also used to do the ‘Harry Worth’ thing on the Coop Windows. We laughed a lot then about very little and it was fun.
    I was Sylvia Harwood and I have three older sisters, Daphne, Diane and Valerie so our school days will have spanned between 1948ish to 1969. I have enjoyed reading everyone’s memories, I had completely forgotten the laundry tower. Thanks everyone for sharing your memories.

    By Sylvia Thompson (19/05/2019)
  • My sister just sent me this link and I see there have been comments about Ingram Crescent for many years. My family lived at number 86. We were the Steer family. My dad Charles was a fireman and he used to organise a fantastic firework display in our garden every year on 5th November. Many children in the neighbourhood came to watch. My mum Mary worked at the Co-op in the office through the 1960’s. I’m Teresa the second of four daughters. My sisters are Brenda, Sheila and Julia. My first job at 14 years was packing hot cross buns in the Co-op warehouse. I’ve never touched a hot cross bun since lol!! We felt rich as children because our parents created a good life with trips to the beach, countryside, seeing bluebells in the Spring, picking blackberries in September and giving us a wonderful childhood. You look at the photos of Ingram Crescent now and the housing looks poor compared to today’s housing but we were so free and independent, playing safely in the street, reliving the big film from Saturday morning pictures!! I look back with nostalgia, love and happiness!!
    Teresa (Terry) Steer (now Trusler)

    By TERESA STEER (10/08/2019)
  • Hi all
    We lived at 86 Ingram, I’m Sheila Steer now Johnson , we had happy days there, our Grandma lived in the banjo leading to bolsover where we used to go and get her 5 weights in the tuck shop as we called it and she would give us money for an everlasting strip toffee.
    The other end we called the keyhole as it was much smaller, I have memories of so many people, the Aylings and Noakes that are cousins lived golden cross side, the pub was dads local.
    Times were hard but we had fun,
    I went to West Hove school.
    Then on to Davigdor secondary.
    I live in Portslade now so have never moved far.

    By Sheila Johnson (10/08/2019)
  • I’m the youngest of the Steer family, Julia and I were brought up at number 86 until we had to move for the houses to be pulled down and the flats to be built. By then my 3 sisters had left home and I moved back to live in the new flats with mum and dad. They both continued to live there until their passing. I have happy memories of playing in the street growing up, lots of other families and kids my age. One of my closest friends still to this day is Linda Sweeney who lived there with her sisters and brother. I went to West Hove infants and juniors and Knoll School for girls.

    By Julia Lloyd (17/08/2019)
  • I lived at the end of the keyhole on the left. I think it was 132 but not sure. We left 1972 or 3 ish to old shoreham road at the top of olive road. There is a photo of me as a small boy infront of the old cast iron lampost just in front of our house. I look like a right tearaway. I had two brothers and four sisters. Cliff, Theresa, Susan, Angela, Marjorie and Sasha.

    By james patterson (05/11/2019)
  • Mum’s family: Tilley lived on the west side near the Portland Road. Some might recall my uncles – twins John and Fred, and their garden with the roses and ornaments, that was their hobby. Looking for pictures…

    By David Bradley (16/04/2020)
  • Hi all , I lived at 80 Ingram crescent but left in 79ish,my step dad Patrick Matless had a railway around our back garden,I would love to hear if anyone remembers this.

    By graham matless (23/04/2020)
  • I used to live, I think in 111 Ingram crescent when I was younger, angela hayward with my brothers Ian and Robert and my mum called Susan we lived next to Budds there was also the Taylors , Jackson’s ,Galleas,Testers,Clarkings,Feelys just to name a few we used to live opposite the old people’s flats ,I remember when they had a fire.We had great memories of living there.

    By Angela Limbachia ( Hayward ) (25/05/2020)
  • This is a message for Sylvia Thompson who wrote about a shop she was looking for in Bolsover Road run by her grandparents. If my memory serves me right it was in Grange Road not far up on the left. We used to go in every Saturday morning to get our sweets to take to Saturday morning pictures at the Granada.The lady made lovely black currant ice lollies which we often brought to dip in to a bag of sherbet powder. I always remember the couple being very kind and often letting us have more sweets than we had money for. Just a little extra they used to say. There was also another sweet shop opposite theirs which was more expensive and we couldn’t afford their sweets. I think it backed onto West Hove School. This would have been in the 1950’s. I hope this helps you trace the shop and details of your grandparents.

    By Doreen Brown now Young (10/06/2020)
  • Just some updates on recent comments, first for David Bradley. The Tilley family lived in the last house on the East side of Ingram Crescent, No. 120, always had an immaculate front garden and I also remember the twins, both very quiet, keep themselves to themselves, and I believe one or both worked for Hove Borough Council. Second, Doreen Brown now Young, you are right, there were no shops in Bolsover Road, I believe the sweet shop in Grange Road was just up on the right and the owner was a Mrs Beck, made her own ice lollies and fizzy drinks, cost all of a 1d each. The other shop in Grange Road which I believe was immediately opposite the sweet shop was, if my memory serves me well, a haberdashery shop, my mum used to buy bit and pieces from there. The more expensive sweet shop that you talk about was probably Robinson’s in Portland Road, which was opposite Grange Road, next door to the Clock Garage on their east side. I attended Portland Road Infants and Juniors from 1949 to 1955.

    By Michael Clark (14/06/2020)
  • Does anyone have any photos of Ingram crescent in the mid 70s? I lived in between the Budds and the Greens.

    By Angela (05/05/2021)
  • I lived at 169 Ingram crescent between 1967 to 1978. My mother left us when I was five so my dad and I moved back in with my grandmother, my aunt and my cousin. Tough times. Lived next door to a boy called Michael who was the same age as me and The lovely Roy family. There was an Irish woman called Mrs Barrett two doors up and I used to love her. She just had a really good vibe. She’d always pop into the kitchen for a cup of tea and a gossip with my grandmother. I was only a child but always liked it when she came round and would sit in the corner of the kitchen sipping sugared tea at the age of five listening to the chatter. She had loads of children and was always cooking. From September my grandmother used to start saving for Christmas bits in a new dustbin that was chained. We would open it Christmas Eve and eat like kings for four days or more and Mrs Barrett would always pop in for Sherry. I can remember that open dustbin was the most exciting thing I ever saw.
    There was the Golden Cross pub, the VG, Sayers the news agents, Barbara’s the hair dresser and an Unwins off licence. I think there was a chemist and fruit and veg shop too. All the essentials in one tiny row of shops. My grandmother was always short of cash so some of the shopkeepers would let her have stuff on tick. None of us had telephones so we’d queue to make a phone call if we needed to. There was one red telephone box opposite the shops. There was a sense of community and all the children used to play in the street. Often I wasn’t allowed and used to look out my bedroom window longing to go out to play up the key hole. Gradually as I got older I was allowed out but was given boundaries. When I was a teenager I got a stereo and I remember in the hot summer of 76 I’d perch the speakers on my bedroom window sill and the music would boom out and we’d gather in the front garden secretly smoking and drinking cider. One night I put on Donna Summer ‘love to love you baby’ and my father hit the roof when he heard it and snapped the record in front of all of us. I was so ashamed.
    When my grandmother died. All the neighbours came to help with making food for the funeral. I have never lived anywhere else quite like it. All your friends in one spot. You couldn’t get lonely living there. There was always someone around. We were very poor but I can remember feeling surrounded and cosy. My father is still alive and reminisces that he was very happy living there. The only things I didn’t miss was the outside loo in winter, next to the kitchen opposite the coal shed and having to find a shilling for the meter every five minutes. Money really isn’t everything.

    By Sharon Gavin (10/05/2021)

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