WWII Bomb mystery now solved

Mystery Solved, definitely Olive Road
Photos merged by Peter Groves
Top end of Isabel Crescent, behind Olive Road, under close examination poorly matching brickwork, evdience of past destruction!
Photo by Peter Groves
Hove Cemetery, peaceful times
Photo by Peter Groves
The old flint wall indicates the original route before the developement of Olive Road
Photo by Peter Groves

As can be seen from the merged photo, although the bomb damage appears to be in Stapley Road, this is now proved to be incorrect.  The photo was originally published in the Brighton Gazette booklet “Brighton and Hove Under Fire” in 1946.  My investigation, and article about Stapley Road had difficulty in identifying the exact spot where the photo was taken.  The only  area (in Stapley Road) that could have possibly matched the photo was the bottom left hand corner, where Stapley Court now stands.  However Alan Knight kindly pointed out that his booklet of “Brighton and Hove Under Fire” stated that the photo was showing Olive Road, just a short distance away!  He also lived in that area between 1934 – 1958, and his recollection was that it was Olive Road!

The Mystery Solved
Following Alan’s comments I felt that a visit to the suggested site was required.  As can be seen from my merged photos, there is no doubt, Alan is correct, it is Olive Road.  The two photos match, with the exception of the changes that 60 plus years between them brings!  Seemingly there must have been more than one edition of “Brighton and Hove Under Fire”, and Alan’s edition had the incorrect caption corrected.

Brighton Bombing Map
As an additional check, by examining the Brighton Bombing Map, it’s clear that a number of bombs did fall on the north end of Olive Road, and adjacent Hove Cemetery.  Closer examination indicates that 4 bombs landed in the cemetery and 2 in the northeast corner of Olive Road and Isabel Crescent.  Probably the south coast railway line, or near-by CVA factory which was involved in war work, was the intended target!

More about Olive Road
By looking at the old Ordnance Survey map (1914-1916  3rd revision), it shows that prior to the development of Olive Road, the track that led from the Old Shoreham Road, down to Portland Road, was far more dog-legged than now.  The old Ordnance Survey map shows that heading south, immediately over the railway bridge, the track turned sharply west.  The original track didn’t join Portland Road as Olive Road now does, but headed at an angle almost parallel to the railway line.  Remnants of the flint wall that bounded the track can still be seen now.  It was in this area, during the First World War, plans for factory buildings and a munitions shop were approved by Hove Council.  These were for Messrs. C. A. Vandervell of Acton London, who were connected to the electrical company Lucas.  Following the war the name became CAV and around 1934 it became CVA.  Although by 1946 Olive Road had been straightened, the original track can still be identified on the old Brighton Bombing Map.

Mr Hallyburton
Another story that I heard about this area is that it was built in the late 1920’s by a Mr Hallyburton,  hence Hallyburton Road.  He named the 6 surrounding roads after his daughters, Olive (Road), Isabel (Crescent), Florence (Avenue), Margery (Road), Dorothy (Road), Gladys (Road).  An excellent story, I hope its true!

Comments about this page

  • I came across the Brighton and Hove Bomb Map in the local history part of Brighton Library (in the old Reference Library in the Museum Building) and was most surprised to see a big black Bomb Spot on top of the house where I have a flat, on the corner of Titian Road and Lawrence Road in Hove – and there is one marked on a house across the road. Both houses look completely original and unrepaired, so how accurate is the Bomb Map?

    By Ken Standing (20/10/2009)
  • My experience is that the 1946 one I have seems very accurate. I visited a number of sites marked as where bombs dropped and did find evidence of rebuilding. It’s such a long time ago that refurbishment in later years may have hidden ‘most’ of the the original repairs. The above photo of Olive Road is a good example, the frontage of the two houses in Olive Road show no signs at all, due to having been refaced with render/plaster, and a new roof. However go round the back into Isabel Crescent and the bricks show large patches of replacement. This is typical evidence that I have seen when you look hard. Another good example to confirm the accuracy is where buildings were destroyed completely, and then replaced with 1950s constructions. Examples of this are Kemptown (near Chesham Place) and Brunswick (opposite Norfolk Square). Try also White Street where the new buildings stick out like a sore thumb. If you have a copy of the Bombing Map, and a spare Sunday afternoon it can be quite good fun.

    By Peter Groves (27/10/2009)
  • Hi Ken, I’ve just checked my bombing map and it shows five bombs in total in that area. I’m going to try and get the whole 1946 map published on this site soon. Oh, also I suspect if you look closely evidence will be there, I’ll probably go and have a look myself. If you want to meet me there with the map, one nice evening, email me on: pedrogroves@googlemail.com

    By Peter Groves (19/04/2010)
  • An online link (that’s what this page needs) to a map of bombfalls in Brighton. http://www.culture24.org.uk/places+to+go/south+east/brighton+%26+hove/art29725. I will keep looking for a more comprehensive one.

    By Nick Pannett (07/12/2012)
  • The Stretton family owned part of Aldrington in the 1880s. Joseph Harris Stretton (born in Leicester) died in 1889 leaving a young family, including a son, Hallyburton Tom Stretton (a mining engineer who lived and died in Eastbourne), and three daughters, Gladys, Dorothy and Margery, who were probably the inspiration behind the names of some of the roads in the area.

    By Renia (26/03/2014)
  • I believe he had five daughters; as you mention Renia, Gladys, Dorothy and Margery, and also Florence and Isabel.  To the best of my knowledge he did not have any daughters named Carlton or Ingram!

    By Peter Groves (26/03/2014)
  • The identities of the inspiration for the other adjacent roads, Florence, Isabel and Olive, remain unclear except that a Florence May Stretton was born in 1903, possibly a daughter of Hallyburton Tom Stretton. Perhaps Olive and Isabel were born abroad? Part of Aldrington was owned by Hugh Ingram, Rector of Aldrington. Carlton Terrace is the name of the road in Portslade which is called Boundary Road in Aldrington in Hove. The boundary between the two old parishes is in the middle of the road!

    By Renia (24/04/2014)
  • Renia’s comment of 26/3/2014 re the Stretton family is correct.  My grandfather was Hallyburton Tom Stretton. He had an elder brother Joseph and three younger sisters named Gladys, Dorothy and Margery, the latter two were twins. I think the land was sold by the Sackville Estate on 8 August 1882. The 6th Duke of Portland was also involved with loaning funds for mortgages on the land. The land was partitioned to the four purchasers on 9 August 1882. 

    By mary haliburton withall (06/03/2018)

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