Happy memories of hard times

A row of four houses in Newick Road, North Moulsecoomb. This estate of 390 houses was built between 1926-30. Photograph Copyright Evening Argus.
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council
Ron and Joy Spicer at their wedding in 1952
From the private collection of Ron Spicer

Newick Road is in the Moulsecoomb housing estate and ends where Ringmer Road begins. Just round the corner to the left at the end of the road, there used to be a wooden paling fence separating it from the lane leading from the main Falmer road, and under the railway arch to the fields beyond. The fence was never complete! It was always broken at some point to afford access.

The Webb family
36 Newick Road was the Webb’s house. Harry Webb worked at Brighton Railway Station for the Southern Railway Company and later in life his youngest son Gordon also worked there, eventually becoming the Station Master. The oldest child, Eileen, I know little of. The other brother, George, was one of the Allen West wartime employees. George became a friend of mine for many years until I joined the Fleet Air Arm then afterwards moved to Eastbourne.

Money in short supply
George was my best man at our wedding in Falmer Church. He arranged for whatever drinks were left over to be returned to the Swan pub on a cash return basis. At that time, money was still in short supply! The reception was in the village school hall where a wood fire had been lit to help warm the guests. It was freezing with snow on the ground outside at the end of March. We were smoked out, because there was something wrong with the chimney. I had the occasional phone chat with George over the years. Unfortunately, without me having been close enough to him for his last moments, he died

A calamitous loss
Across from Newick Road was the ‘Cinder Path’. However, it wasn’t a cinder path at all because it had been tarred over, but the name persisted. I remember one of the girls from the Washington family at Ringmer Road was running down the Cinder Path when she dropped a florin that was to be used to get shopping and couldn’t find it. Calamity. That was a lot of money. Many people turned out looking for it and dad Jack joined in when he returned home with his old motor bike that had carbide gas lighting. It was all to no avail, and the florin was never found.

Comments about this page

  • Whilst visiting Moulsecoomb again the other day, I recognised the houses shown in that top photgraph. They are situated opposite the junction in Newick Road leading out to the main Brighton road, diagonally opposite Coldean Lane. In the end one on the right lived Peter Hunt and next door to him towards the middle lived “Boy” Mitchell. Are you there, Peter or “Boy”?

    By Ron Spicer (14/10/2009)
  • Hi Ron. Were not the numbers of those four houses 27,29,31 and 33? I knew of a Fred Salvage who lived in No 33 in the Forties, are you still about Fred?

    By Fred Woolven (06/01/2010)
  • Hi Fred. Thanks for you response. Peter Hunt would have lived in 33 if that’s the number. Probably well before the time of your knowledge.

    By Ron Spicer (07/02/2010)
  • Hi Ron. It would appear that Fred Salvage must have lived at No 35 because I would hardly think it was before my time as now being in my eighties I was referring to the late 30s / early 40s!

    By Fred Woolven (19/02/2010)
  • Hi again Fred. Not before your time after all I see! I can remember Tubby Smith who would have probably lived in number 27 as well as Peter Hunt in 33. ‘Boy’ Mitchell would also probably have lived at 31? I’m also in my eighties. I do so wish I could be much clearer with the identities and memory of addresses . . .

    By Ron Spicer (27/02/2010)
  • I’ve just come across site again via Facebook – quite a surprise. First saw the photo of myself as a child and didn’t reconcile the photo it accompanied with myself so looked further. Ah – memories!

    By Ron Spicer (19/02/2014)
  • In the late 50s early 60s I knocked about with a lad that lived in Newick Road, can’t remember the number. The house was just around the corner from a little parade of shops including a post office if I remember. We worked together at Peter Lacroix near Black Rock. Peter Lacroix was a grocery wholesalers. The lad was Robert (Bob) Coe. He had brothers and sisters. One of his brothers was Peter, I forget the names of the others. and his sisters were Pauline married to Charlie who was doing military service at the time, Betty, and another sister whose name I forget but will probably remember when I have written this, I remember that she was married to a fireman. Mrs. the mum  Coe was called Lil, Mr. Coe had sadly died. They had a dog called Gus. I loved this family and would ride my bike from Black Rock and stay with Bob. In the morning we would cycle to work at Lacroix with our bikes with cowhorn handlebars squeezing between the trolley buses on our way to work. Later on Bob got a Lambretta which we went everywhere on. I also got a motor bike, a BSA Bantham 175cc. I remember one (naughty) night we had been drinking that filth VP rich Ruby Red wine. There were a few of us riding along Lewes road on a rainy and windy night. Our faculties were not as they should have been owing to the drink. We all had a rear ender with a trolley bus that was turning if I remember rightly go up the Avenue in Bevendean. Really stupid drinking and riding a bike. Thankfully we got out of OK and laughing with some bent bits on our bikes. Never have ridden a bike or driven a car or lorry if I had been drinking after that incident. Lesson learnt. After that he got a Morris Mini and we zoomed around in that. After we both got married we drifted apart. I did see his sister Pauline when I worked at Harrimond in the Hyde at Bevendean where she also worked at the time. I know Bob became an antique dealer later on. When we were skint we used to hire a a barrow from Diplocks in upper Gardener Street and go totting. Good days they were. I wonder if Ron Spicer remembers this family at all.

    By Mick Peirson (21/02/2014)
  • Hi Mick. Better late than never in answering, eh? Apologies. Thank you for contributing to this Moulsecoomb page. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember the Coe family. It was obviously way after my time. In the early fifties I was married and living at Eastbourne to where I’d moved after getting my demob from the Fleet Air Arm; and that was some time before National Service came into being. I’m at a fair age now yet, peculiarly, I can remember my first day at school in 1932, probably because I ran home at playtime thinking it was home time and the matter had been fairly regularly mentioned over the years as I grew up.

    By Ron Spicer (20/12/2014)
  • Hello Ron,

    Thanks for message. I have since had a look at Newick Road on Google Earth. My how things have changed from when my mate lived there in the 50s and 60s. I saw the house which turned out to be number 106 which was just around the corner from the parade of shops opposite the main Lewes road. It looked like the houses have been converted to flats. That’s progress I suppose.

    Best wishes.

    By Mick Peirson (22/12/2014)
  • Hi Mick. I hope you enjoyed Christmas. Have a happy New Year with many to follow. Those houses in the area you mention  leading to the shops from Newick Road, I vaguely recall were ‘special houses’ or flats for ex-servicemen?   One of them was occupied by, I think, a Mr. Turner who was the local British Legion man?   He regularly collected the subscriptions from many  in the area.   Maybe someone can recall better than me?

    By Ron Spicer (28/12/2014)
  • Hello Ron. Thanks for seasonal greetings, I wish the same to you and yours.

    By Mick Peirson (30/12/2014)
  • Hi Ron, I wondered whether anyone has any history of  number 31 Newick Road. I’ve been resident since 1993 and before me  there was a couple that lived here – I think he worked for British Rail  I don’t know anything but I’m looking into the history of Newick Road pre-war.  If you can help it would be  much appreciated.

    Many thanks

    By Lisa Barnard (10/06/2015)
  • Hello Lisa, just come across your request. I think the family Mitchell lived at number 31 and had a son whose christian name was never mentioned because he was always called Boy Mitchell! Quite the lad, full of humour and easy to get on with. If still alive he would be around 89 years old now.

    By Ron Spicer (09/08/2015)
  • Thanks Ron for the information. Do you know whether there was any photos of the family? Thank you again.

    By Lisa Barnard (15/09/2015)
  • I will ask my mother for more details and photos as Peter L Lacroix was my great grand father. 

    By Anna Cristina Lacroix Arena (24/04/2017)
  • Hi Ron, what a great wedding photo of You and Joy, what a small world we live in, we are now neighbours in Eastbourne. Great reading memories of Moulsecoombe and hearing names from such a long time ago. I grew up in Ringmer Road in the fifties and sixties, the eldest son of 10 children, tough times but happy ones. I remember the Coes family and played golf with Bob at Hollingbury, we were both low handicappers. I spoke with him recently and he now lives the good life in Portugal still playing to a good standard! We used to have to get our hair cut when kids by Mr Hammond who lived a few doors along from the Coes – good old fashioned basin cut! Hated it! I was reading an article on Moulsecoombe past from the daughter of Mr Galyer, one of my teachers at Moulsecoombe junior school, so interesting,he was a p.o.w. after being shot down prior to becoming a teacher, you would never have known, fond memories eh?

    By Geoff Long (07/05/2019)
  • Hi Geoff. Quite a coincidence … you know the rest! I guess we don’t have to write each other here when we can just chat with the next door neighbour!

    By Ron Spicer (28/08/2019)
  • Does anyone know about 75 Newick Road? A woman called Mary lived there in the 80s with her son. In the house next door lived a woman called Linda with her son, Mark. I think Linda was from Margate. Newick Road was as rough as hell. In the back street behind it they used to strip cars and use them for stock car racing! The area had a horrible vibe to it.

    By Julius (16/05/2023)
  • Hi I’m James Patrick I lived at 108 Newick Road with my parents and 6 sisters also I had 3 other brothers. I remember it well, the shops round the corner also the wild park where I climbed trees which has a coffee shop now they were happy days it had community spirit. I.used to do paper rounds for Hills newsagents. I also helped a man called Harry each sat selling logs and apples in the summer and helped deliver milk etc it was fun but we were on a tight leash which I understood why later. I lived there till I was 18 and moved into Brighton I remember Allen West’s also the bacon factory in Moulsecoombe Way I went to all 3 of the schools and left those in 74. I remember the two cottages by the bridge at the bottom of
    Moulsecoombe Way to where I used to run Woolens shop on the bates estate for them on my way to school nice people, there were also a lot of nice people on the estate too I have so many memories of the estate even the park warden on duty in the park which had a couple of bowls courts till vandals destroyed them at the entrance to the park on the left side ? Comments welcome. Im James Patrick.

    By James Michael Patrick (01/12/2023)

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