The happiest days of my life

In 1931 I went to live in Park Street and they became the happiest days of my life. It was the families of the street who made life so rich with warmth and happiness.

My father, Alf Lindsay, was in charge of the Corporation depot in the street, and our house was inside the depot. Many years ago our house might have been a farm, as in the scullery, as it was known in those days, we had rafters where they hung the carcasses, but my father had all that altered. The town’s mortuary was in the depot; Sir Bernard Spilsbury came down to do the post-mortems. I remember particularly the trunk crime murder, which kept my dad busy keeping the reporters out. Next to our depot there was a family who used to sell their greengrocery from their horse and cart.

We had public baths in Park Street as not many people had bathrooms; they were nice and clean, and I remember Ada who worked there for years. At the bottom of Park Street there was a small Salvation Army Hall. During the last war when my dad had to take his rescue ARP team out, the Major there was always on hand with his team to give drink and food to people who were bombed out.

Comments about this page

  • I do recall a Pig Farmer there or thereabouts as the smell used to hit me on the way to Queens Park Infants school. My father used to breed chickens and at Christmas often swapped two birds (properly plucked and dressed) for a leg of pork thus getting over rationing.We then had chicken AND pork for the Christmas feast, still a favoured combination of mine.

    By Dennis Parrett (08/02/2007)
  • My family lived in Park Street for many years and we left in 1959. I too remember Ada, also Rose and my Mum worked in the baths on Saturdays. We used to go there on Friday nights for our weekly baths! We had to shout out for more hot water as this was controlled from outside each cubicle.

    By Wendy Read (Nee Broomfield) (13/02/2007)
  • I remember I had my first “non” tin bath on the scullery floor at those public baths in the late 1940s. My uncle Alf Gravett who was married to Peg (nee) Spicer from, I think it was, Sloane St just round the corner from the baths took me. I was frightened to death because you had to shout for more hot or cold water and I was worried that the attendant would shout at me if I got it wrong. I think I sat on the stool for ages before I took the plunge and then I was out in about 1 minute flat. Oh mucky days! I always was a scruffy urchin!

    By Patrick Collins (Catswhiskas) (14/02/2007)
  • I don’t know where this pig farm of Dennis Parrett’s was, as nothing resembling a pig farm existed in this area! I’m sure I would have noticed it as I lived in Park Street for the best part of 25 years. Perhaps he could enlighten me?

    By Barry Broomfield (30/03/2009)
  • I should think that Dennis Parrett’s account of a pig farm in Park Street is way out.  Where was it? I lived in Park Street for many years and have no knowledge of it.

    By John Marshall (16/06/2009)
  • Please can anyone help me? I was born in Park Street, in 1956. I lived with my family of 9 children, mum, dad and nan, in number 52. We lived there for many years before it was all pulled down, and we were moved to Mount Pleasant. I have tried to explain to my husband and daughter the lay out of the area then. Has anyone got more information please?

    By Sally Mather nee Thorpe (22/06/2009)
  • My memory of someone who kept pigs goes back more than 60 years so I cannot be precise about location or size. I thought it was somewhere on the right hand side going towards Queens Park, on the same side as a bus garage. I vaguely recall a turning into a yard but this is a long time ago now. I cannot say how big it was. The story of my father swapping meat was correct. If I am wrong about the piggery then I cannot think where else I would have been thinking of. Next time I visit Brighton, I will try Kelly’s Directories if I get a chance.

    By Dennis Parrett (23/06/2009)
  • Further to my previous comment, I notice on an old map that there was a corporation yard situated somewhere between Park Street and Freshfield Road. I do have a recollection of there being an entrance to a yard on the eastern side of Park Street which may be consistent with the corporation yard shown on the map. I cannot recall precisely, but the entrance might have been at the side of a bus garage. I think that is what I remember and I believed that part of it was at one time used by someone to keep the pigs that I previously mentioned. How long this went on for, if at all, I do not know. If I am correct, I assume rent was paid to the council for the use of part of the yard. I cannot imagine it was that economical, especially after rationing ended, and it probably lasted for only a short while. Although I also used to walk up Freshfield, I cannot remember whether there was also an entrance to the yard from there. I think that is the only light I can shed on this subject. At least there was a yard somewhere in that vicinity.

    By Dennis Parrett (11/07/2009)
  • I have more information about the pigs from Bill Dainty. The Dainty family lived in the area and went to St Mary’s Junior School in Mount Street and Queens Park Infants and Senior Schools. Bill says that, before the telephone exchange was built opposite their house in Freshfield Road, there used to be a flint wall which formed the eastern boundary to what his dad called the Corporation Dust Yard. The Southdown Coach Depot formed the northern boundary, the rear gardens of Sloane St the south and Park St to the west. The entrance to this site was in Park St. Within this site, at the Freshfield Road end, were some pig pens which could be seen if you climbed on to the flint wall. The old dust carts had those side sliding doors and the corporation assigned some of these vehicles to be used exclusively to collect pig swill from schools etc. These vehicles were based within this site so it made sense to keep pigs in order to utilize, in a profitable way, the waste food. When the site was later used for the building of the telephone exchange the corporation moved its dust carts to Upper Hollingdean Road where they are still kept. Having received this information from Bill, it does bring back some more memories for me and I do recall this. I think I must have gone someway into the Park Street entrance at one time, possibly with my dad, and seen the pig pens. But I do remember the smell that was sometimes there when walking past.

    By Dennis Parrett (17/07/2009)
  • Ive just seen a comment from Sally Thorpe and it brought back so many memories. I was friends with her sister Rosie and spent a lot of time with her at Queens Park and sitting in Mrs Barnett’s shop when I should have been at school!

    By Susan Andrew (16/10/2009)
  • I lived at No. 54 and I think your mother’s name was Connie and your nan was Mrs Stringer and your father was in the army. Hope I’m right…?

    By John Marshall (16/10/2009)
  • My parents Samuel and Dorothy (also may have been known as Emily) Scott lived in Park Street. I spend my early years along with my brother Geoffrey. I revisited Park Street many years ago and saw our surname SCOTT engraved on the door. Does anyone remember this?

    By Christine Staines (03/03/2010)
  • I forgot to add the number of the house. It was no. 45.

    By Christine Staines (04/03/2010)
  • Oh what wonderful memories. I lived in Freshfield Place from birth (1954) until 1959 and used to play with all the Thorpe children in Queen’s Park and remember them well, I went to St. John the Baptist school. I remember the public baths, the railway, brewery, mantle factory, and the bus depot - but definitely not the pig farm.

    By Elsa Gillio (09/06/2010)
  • To Christine Staines – I lived at 54 Part Street and went to Park Street School with David Scott.

    By John Marshall (01/07/2010)
  • I lived in Park Street in the 50s at number 8. My mum and dad’s names are Joyce and Ron. The landlady’s name was Mrs Lange. I lived across the road from the Thorpe family. I remember the little shop, the baths, the corporation yard and school, but no pig farm.

    By Janet Seabourne (12/09/2010)
  • We lived at 9 Freshfield Road. We had to move so they could build the telephone building. I went to the baths at Park Street – what a luxury over the tin bath. Our back yard backed onto the corporation site I think, we had the flint wall which also went up Freshfield from our house, I think to the corner. I went to Queen’s Park Infants and so did my sister Leeta. My other sisters and brothers (Dorothy, Pamela, David and Eddie Cruttenden) all went to Queen’s Park Seniors. I am seeing and remembering things I had forgotten. I may have some photos of the old place – how do we post them? What a great thread this is – smiles.
    [Editor: If you need help posting photos to the site, just email us at t]

    By Linda Batchelor-Ballew (nee Andrews) (18/09/2010)
  • My grandad lived in Park Street. All I know they had Dave, my dad, Christine and Geoffery. Dave lives in Seaford. I don’t see any family. Funny how things change.

    By Christine Coleman (06/02/2011)
  • An uncle of mine lived in Park Street, his name was Walter Newman, but he was known as Wally Patch – don’t know why! He was found to have passed away after sitting in front of his electric fire for quite some time.

    By Duffy Watkins (04/04/2011)
  • Before I went to Brighton Poly I worked very briefly at the old Park Street Public Baths. I’d been working as a lifeguard during the summer at Rottingdean Pool and needed a winter job. It looked ideal until I discovered it involved putting your hands in someone else’s bathwater! There was also a requirement upon opening in the morning to dispatch the cockroaches who had fallen from the pipes overhead into the bathtubs – I lasted about 4 days! Strangely, upon graduating from the Poly, my first job was as the Pool Manager at St Luke’s Pool just up the road! However this was an altogether more rewarding experience!

    By Martin Scrace (02/05/2012)
  • I lived in Leicester Street, two streets away from Park Street. I had a friend called Julie Collins who lived at 18, Park Street. We used to play in the park. I went to St. Mary’s Junior School and left Brighton with my family in 1950 to join my father in the airforce in Egypt.

    By Mary Gambier (16/05/2012)
  • I lived in Somerset Street, and went to Park Street School. Later I went St Mary’s in Mount Street, (what a lovely school that was ). Remember Mr Cooper the head master. I remember the public baths very well. Don’t get to Brighton very often these days, but lots of happy memories. My brother was Billy White who had the accident in Mount Street. He was badly injured but made a full recovery. He lives in Lincolnshire these days.

    By Barbara Barlow (22/07/2012)
  • Hi to all. My nan and grandad lived in the old corporation house in Park Street, their name was Mr and Mrs Hornsbury. Also they brought my father up in the house. My dad went to Queens Park School, his name was Thomas Hornsbury known as Little Tommy.

    By Jason (29/08/2012)
  • Hi Christine, you won’t remember me, I don’t think  – John Parks. I used to come to your nans house with Dave Scott, your dad. I used to stay at Dave’s weekends and go fishing with him. You were only small then, this must have been back in the late sixties or very early seventies. Do you remember me?

    By John Parks (23/11/2012)
  • I remember the baths quite well. And Ada. There were big black iron wheels outside each bathroom, and you had to shout for more hot. They were big baths I think, seemed so as a kid anyway. We lived in Hendon Street before moving to Coldean when I was 6, in 1951.

    By David Trangmar (29/10/2014)
  • I lived at 43 Sloane Street, also went to Queen’s Park infants, St Mary’s in Mount Street and remember Mr Cooper well. Later I went to Queen’s Park senior school, but had my bath in Park Street, Saturday morning. Happy memories.

    By John Sims (06/02/2015)
  • Hi, my Grandfather used to live in the corporation depot, some time before and after 1960. His name was Bill Paris, and I have a photo of him with a piglet. Is he the man with the pigs?

    By Paul Freeman (29/10/2015)
  • I lived at number 24 Sloane Street from birth in 1959 until demolition of the street circa 1966-7. I remember as a very small child setting fire to the upstairs curtains. Luckily there lived a fireman opposite who saved me. whilst mum was in basement kitchen. I have tried to find some newspaper cuttings but to no avail. I can remember Mills convenience store on corner of Park Street. The Thorpes family lived opposite. Think it was Sally who babysat me at times and i played with David and Rosie around my age. we lived next door to a single man called Dennis. @Patrick Collins (catswiskers) My mum was best friends with Alf Gravett and Peggy who had two girls Gillian and Debs. Mum stayed friends with them until Peggy sadly passed away with cancer

    By Simon Pattenden (31/01/2016)
  • My Uncle and Auntie – Bill and Greta Paris – used to live in the old cottage within the Corporation yard and my sister Jane and I have lovely memories of climbing up the mounds of gravel and sitting in the lorries and dustcarts. An adventure playground for a kid. I also remember the wooden latched door which was always closed leading upstairs from the front lounge and the grapes and tomatoes Bill and Greta used to grow in a small greenhouse at the back – the smell as you stepped in was wonderful!  Happy days indeed.

    By John Elderkin (15/02/2016)
  • I remember visiting the baths just before they closed around 1974 when I was about 4 or 5 years old. We lived in Preston Circus in a ground floor flat and it was a huge deal to walk to Queens Park to the public baths and have a bath. It’s been nice to read the comments as I was telling my husband about it and wanted to check the facts.  

    By Diana Wilks (nee Bovingdon) (09/12/2016)
  • I lived at 25 Park Street when I was born in 1954 & we lived there until 1959 before moving to Coldean. My Auntie Ivy Barnett had the sweet shop in Park Street opposite the depot & my brother and I were taken weekly for a “tubbing” at the public baths. Interesting to see a contribution by Dennis Parrett, unusual surname & was my mothers maiden name. My Grandad Jim Parrett lived in Tillstone St & was the boiler man & stoker at the Kemp Town brewery. Although I was very young I remember playing in Queens Park with my brother & there was a man there who often put a fantastic model ship on the pond with lights on it & a motor. (well I suppose a little boy would remember such a thing!)

    The rest of the family were also in the area in Queens Park Terrace & West Drive. Nice memories.

    By Rob(Bob) Tasker (20/11/2017)
  • My nanny Cooper lived at 16 Park Street, I remember spending our summers there in the 1970s. The baths were still there, directly opposite as I remember. We used to go there as a treat. Beautiful memories of the park and the baths.

    By Vicky Buckland (02/12/2017)
  • Hi, I am preparing a family memories board in time for my mother-in-laws’ birthday. She was living at 37 Sloane Street with her mother, Mabel Morley nee Dawson (Fears), and her three siblings, June, Brian and George according to the 1939 Register. They were all below the age of 8. She moved there after the death of her father and younger brother from TB. Also living there were George Dawson and Maud (nee Moon) and their children. Does anyone have any information that would help.

    By Gill Crowter (17/07/2018)
  • Did anybody know of the Bligh family at 20, Sloane Street, there from the 1950s to late ’60s? 

    By Michael Lower (29/07/2018)
  • Visiting my ‘Granny & Grandpa’ at their flat in Egremont Place was always a treat for me and my brothers in the mid-sixties and exploring Queen’s Park was such a neat way to spend an afternoon. Reading all of your memories of the ‘Park Street’ area has triggered a flood of my own. In several of the comments about the baths the name Ada pops up. Does anyone remember Ada’s last name? Was it Coppard by chance?

    By Paul Cecil (05/10/2019)
  • I read a post on Facebook about the baths and then found this page. I’m sure I recall visiting the baths with my Mum and then lo and behold I see my Mums comment and many recollections of the Thorpe family. I lived in Mount Pleasant with my Nan Connie and have many fond memories of the area. As my Mum passed seven years ago it was lovely to see this thread.

    By Kate Connors (14/01/2020)
  • I’ve just stumbled across this page and what a revelation!! So many names I recognise. I lived at 24 Park Street from 1956 until 1973 my name is Carol Morris nee Martin. I lived with my Mum Stella, my Dad Ted, and my brother Robert. I went to Queens Park infants and secondary and also St Mary’s Junior School. I remember the Corporation yard and the bus depot. I played with the Thorpe children and Mrs Barnett’s shop was a favourite place. Happy memories everyone.

    By Carol Morris nee Martin (22/05/2020)
  • Hello Carol Morris, I was born at 25 Park Street & we lived there until 1959 renting from my Godmother who was Mrs Ivy Barnett who had the sweet shop further down the road. My dad was a taxi driver mum took me & my brother to the public baths across & down the road from the bus depot which was opposite our house. we moved in 1959 to Coldean. I used to play a lot in Queens Park & my Granddad lived in Tillstone St. I was 2 years old when you moved in next door so forgive me if I don’t remember you !

    By Rob Tasker (25/05/2020)
  • My grandparents grew up and met in Park Street . My grandad Frank Harrop moved there when he was a baby in 1920 (12) and my nan Queenie Chatfield moved there with her mother when she 11 in 1933 to live with her grand father (14).

    By Julie Marriott (26/05/2020)
  • Hello Julie Marriott – I was sure I knew the name Chatfield &asked my mum last night, (she is 92 now) & Mrs Chatfield used to babysit me at 25 Park Street – I have a memory of her wearing a coat with a big fur collar. As per previous posts my Godmother who was also my Aunt was Mrs Ivy Barnett who had the sweet shop which I believe was more or less next door to your Nan’s house. We lived in Park St until 1959, I was born there in 1954. My Mum remembers you nan well, she used to enjoy coming to our house & apparently used to get me up to play so that when mum & dad got home I was wide awake ! Long time ago now.

    By Rob Tasker (28/05/2020)
  • Hi Rob just saw your message thanks for sharing that memory of my nan or possible great grandmother. My grandparents got married in 1947 at the time you were born they had moved to Hollingbury. Her mum stayed in Park Street until her death.

    By Julie Marriott (04/11/2020)
  • Hi all, just found this page while looking for some old photos of the corporation depot. My Uncle and Aunt, Bill and Greta Paris lived in the cottage. My Mum used to visit her sister in -law most weeks with me tagging along before I was school age. I used to love the trip there across Queens Park. We used to have family gatherings there on Boxing Day and I remember the excitement of being let into the yard through a small gate set in the big ones. Also the excitement of being allowed to wander around the yard and the treat of being allowed to stand inside the garden gate and watch the machines return. I seem to remember road rollers as well as dust carts, lots of stray cats in the yard and I am convinced I used to visit the pigs! Only two or three of them but I guess they had a lot to do with Bill, would love to see the photo of him with a piglet!
    Susan Hodgson ( nee Elderkin)

    By Susan Hodgson (08/01/2021)

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