Well worn steps from the Knoll

Houses in Old Shoreham Road
© Tony Mould

My parents lived in Godwin Road, no 46 I think, when I was born. We moved to Old Shoreham Road the year of my birth. I started school at Knoll Infants in Bellingham Crescent and remember the name Miss Lelliot. It was during my early school days the new infants’ school opened at the top of Stapley Road and I remember Miss Spearing a teacher of this time who came to school on a scooter. I think the headmaster at Portland Road was Mr Gale and the head at the Knoll Girls school was Miss Shields.

Our house in Old Shoreham Road was directly opposite and looking up Stapley Road and it was from Stapley Road a horse bolted that was delivering milk, the milk went everywhere and the horse ended up looking in our back door.
I have written a poem about my life in Old Shoreham Road, hope it brings back some good memories of life in the ’50s and ’60s from the Knoll Estate.

Our Front Steps

The steps from pavement went down four
Onto the path that led to our door.
First, in my pram, the steps were taken
Mother was strong, I was not shaken.
Later I would sit and play
Upon these steps for hours a day.

Coal and milk all carried down the steps
A bolted horse down our path once leapt.
The dustman with the bin on his back
Up those steps he would track

My father used a scaffold plank
To wheel his moped down this step bank
Bicycles up and bicycles down
The only transport used for town.

Home from the pub my dad would shout
Hey Molly! get my plank out.
The wheelchair was the toughest one
But to take Nan out it had to be done.

A thousand times these steps were trod
In various shoes my feet were shod
Sandals and shoes, boots or wellies
Platforms, flip flops and stilettos.

Rushing for busses, greeting the aunties,
the life of our steps saw all the parties.
People coming in all tipsy from the pub
Mum going off to the bingo club.
Uncle Mart and Auntie May
For holidays would come to stay.

In silken shoes and bridal gown
I trod these steps to go into town.
I pushed my own kids down those steps
A simple circle of birth, marriage, death.

And now another family in our stead
Their steps to the door we use to tread
I have my memories, though some are sad
For most of the steps, my heart was glad.

I don’t forget Paddy, next door’s mangy dog
Or the cats they called Ginger and Mog.
I don’t forget the peonies and the roses
The Lily of the Valley so gay for noses.
The chickens, the rabbits, the pigeon shed
All these forever stored in my head.

A solo child I would while away
The hours of my childhood day to day.
I’d pluck an apple from the tree
Cared not that it was sour as sour can be.
It wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t all good
A pretty average childhood.

Thank you for joining me on my tour
I hope you did not find it a bore
Those well trod steps to our front door.


Comments about this page

  • I can’t see who the author was, but very well done and a brilliant poem!

    Sorry Peter – author now noted. Jennifer

    By Mr Peter Groves (30/06/2019)
  • What a brilliant contribution! I lived on the opposite side of Old Shoreham Road from Dorothy between 1951 and 1962. I remember the steps down to all the houses on the south side of the road between about Olive Road and the shops – remember the Green Hut? Even in its unwidened state, the busy road was always a barrier to knowing many people on the other side of it. I think that our times living in O.S.Road must have overlapped a bit. As a teenager, I played football and cricket on the green on the north side of the road, most of which was lost when the road was widened. Sorry, the next bit is a bit nit-picky. Tony Mould’s picture is, I think, a section of O.S.Rd. about 1 to 2 miles west of Stapley Road, possibly the junction between Applesham Way and O.S.Rd in Portslade, Fishersgate or even, Southwick? I have lived away from Hove for almost 60 years now and my memory of local geography is wearing a bit thin! There is a clue, I think, in the electricity pylons on the left of the picture. These are likely to be connected into the Fishersgate substation just south of O.S.Rd. and just across the harbour from what was Brighton B Power station. I am sure local experts will correct me if I am wrong on this. Now a note to Peter Groves. If you are still interested in the rather ancient discussions of Bombs at the bottom of Stapley Road (circa 2011/2) I think I can add a bit to those discussions.

    Hi David – I should have explained that the OSR photo was only a general shot I could get my hands on – and in no way intended to represent the writer’s address. Sorry. Jennifer 🙂

    By David Robertson (01/07/2019)
  • Thanks for your footnote Jennifer. There was no need for an apology. I put that comment in about the location in the photograph mainly to test the accuracy, or otherwise, of my memory. From time to time you post very interesting pictures of places in Brighton, Hove etc. and invite readers to identify the location. This usually results in an active discussion. I was hoping to prompt something similar. Thanks again.

    Thanks David – nice idea – shame it didn’t take off. But I am still looking for ideas for ‘mystery photos’.
    Jennifer ;0)

    By David Robertson (05/07/2019)

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