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Undated photo looking north

Preston Road looking north
Image produced with permission from Brighton History Centre

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  • In the late 1940s to the early 50s, I lived at 245 Preston Road, right opposite Harrington Road. I was very friendly with Peter and David Mcenery, one became an actor and the other a well known photographer. They lived in Preston Drove. I also remember Anne Durrant. Her gran ran the sweet shop on the corner of Middle Road and she became a jazz singer. I used to work on Saturday mornings at the milk vessel recovery plant in North Road, washing bottles. I also remember the little crippled man at the beginning of the tunnel in South Road, who mended bikes. You had to pass your bike through the half door and he’d fix it for you. Do all you Prestonites remember the Downs Syndrome boy, Norman, who used to sit outside his house in Tongdean Lane? Every one who walked past his house passed the time of day with him.

    By Harry Atkins (29/09/2007)
  • Yes I do remember him very well

    By John Goodman (04/11/2007)
  • My fond memories of living at 243 Preston Road include a very long garden with old stables and a carriage shed at the top, a long garden at the front with high wall, trees and shrubs. Plenty of places to allow my young mind to conjure up secret places to hide, adventures to be undertaken and phantom enemies to fight. Our fellow residents in the top flat were a Miss Smith and a Miss Salmon both teachers and spinsters, I remember Miss Salmon giving private piano tuition on a Saturday morning, as I lay in bed listening to these girls from St Marys Hall trying to comply with Miss Salmons method of teaching. Another family lived in the basement flat for a short time before it was condemned as being damp and unfit for habitation, I knew them as Roy and June Allen.
    Catching the number five bus to and from Patcham Secondary School,leaving home to join the Army and eventually getting married from that house. Saddest moment was when I saw that the Council had turned this property into bedsits for the homeless and dug my garden up.
    I used to have to walk up to the Withdean Stadium for athletics training, always spoke to the man in the wheelchair, you said Norman was his name?

    By John Smith (19/01/2008)
  • I lived in Tongdean Lane from 1956 until 1966 or 1967. There was a man in a wheelchair outside his house all day. I think this was just the London Road side of the tunnel. I thought he was what we then called ‘spastic’, but would now be cerebral palsy. I vaguely remember him being called Tim. I don’t think it can be the same person as I am sure he wasn’t Downs Syndrome. My sister and I spent hours playing in the woods that separated Tongdean Lane from Tongdean Rise. We used to sit on the terrace of the Withdean Sportsman pub with crisps and a coca cola while our Dad had a pint.

    By Sue Baker (05/02/2008)
  • Hi John, what year did you live in 243? When I lived at 245, next door, your ground floor was owned by a very posh lady called Mrs Cambell-Kirby. My sister and I used to come in your garden, weed it and pick the walnuts when they dropped from the big tree. I always remember that she had almost black tulips in the garden.

    By Harry Atkins (17/08/2008)
  • I remember South Road very well as I walked / ran down every morning in the 1940s to catch a bus to school (Intermediate in York Place).  And I also remember the bicycle repairer, William Nichols, who we lads called Bill Nick. He often had a note on his door “Down the Crown” – Crown & Anchor pub.

    By Dave Blackford (16/11/2008)
  • I used to walk up Tongdean Lane on my way home from school and would always say hello to the chap in the wheelchair. Bus drivers always used to toot at him and he would wave at them. I thought his name was Roy.

    By Sally-Ann Bennett (nee Marshall) (22/11/2008)
  • I remember the chap in a wheelchair very well. He had a field day during school sports day at Withdean with several hundred kids all greeting him on their way to the Stadium.

    By Martin Scrace (24/12/2008)
  • Harry, my father used to be the manager of Milk Vessel Recovery in Brighton, from the early 50s to 1957. His name was Edward (Eddie) Hartfield. He rode a little moped type cycle. You had to peddle like crazy, throw the switch and the engine fired. I used go to the depot in my school holidays and wash or sort bottles.

    By Roger Hartfield (27/04/2009)
  • Roger, my late brother Patrick White used to work here until he joined the Army. At the time we lived at 26 Middle Road – five of us youngsters in a two bedroom house. Family now far flung. Regards.

    By Mike White (11/07/2009)
  • The disabled man who sat in his wheelchair in Tongdean Lane on the right hand side just before the bridge, was always known to me and my friends as Roy.

    By Steve Mann (17/10/2009)
  • Hi Mike, you knew me very well I used to knock about with your brother Patrick and if I remember rightly your sister was called Sheila. Patrick used to work with me at the milk vessel place. Do you remember Freddie and Tommy who used to live at the top of the road in the old cottage? Also Geoffrey Ballard who lived in South Road, but his back entrance was almost opposite your house? I think he had a sister in a wheelchair. You knew me, and my sister Pearl too.

    By Harry Atkins (12/05/2010)
  • Hi John( Smith). I have just walked past 243 and 245 Preston Road, where we once lived. 245, is in a truly dilapidated state, gardens unkempt, two scruffy and broken down caravans in the front. It really made me want to weep. If the council own this property, they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. As you know, there were lovely gardens at the back, with apple, pear and even quince trees. I wish you could take a walk round there to see the disgraceful mess. People have no pride.

    By Harry Atkins (19/05/2010)
  • My Nan, Mrs Lallyett lived at 46 Middle Rd known as Craven Cottage with my Uncle Frank who ran a green grocers stall in the open market . The house was always very dark inside and was gas lit, the loo was outside in the back garden. Nan had an enormous scary cat called Tinker who used to sit on top of the stone pillar near the front gate. I recall the name of old Nick the bicycle repair man and a man called Mozzy Collings who ran a Green Grocers in a lockup just round the corner from Nans. There was a lockup garage down from Nans full of old Motorcycles. Through the back gate was a garage owned by Mr Johnson who had some small scale Southdown buses. Nan would sometimes give me 3d or 6d and watch me go down to Mrs Durrant’s to buy sweets, I remember the Old Lady wore glasses with very thick lenses. Sometimes I would look over the wall of Corals coal yard at the ex army Bedford coal trucks.

    By Alan Spicer (13/06/2011)
  • I also thought the boy in the wheelchair was named Roy, because we always said hello to him if he was there when we walked home from school. He could seem a bit scary when you’re little but I remember my mother telling us that we should be nice to him because he was just like us.

    By Thelma Mitchell (12/12/2013)
  • I lived over the butcher’s shop at 221 Preston Road, which my family owned through the 1960s to the mid 70s. After leaving Varndean GS I worked in the family business. One of my duties was delivering to customers in the Withdean / Westdean / Brangwyn area. Most days I would deliver to customers on Tongdean Court and then drive under the railway bridge to Withdean Road. I always thought the chap mentioned was called Roy. He was outside in all weathers and always gave a cheery wave if I sounded my hooter. One of our customers was a Miss Roberts who was the curator of Preston Manor. She told me that the butcher at 221 used the well at the Manor to store his meat in hot weather. She said that meat was slaughtered in North Road where Tony Robinson had his motor repair business. She kindly gave me copies of the original sausage recipes that were made in the Manor kitchens, using meat from the Home Farm’

    By Tim Baker (18/01/2020)
  • As regards Miss Roberts mentioned by Tim, I was taking a guided walk one evening around Preston village many years ago. One older lady knew a great deal about the village, and the Manor in particular. I thought that as I grew up at the other end of the Park in Dyke Rd Drive and as I was a lecturer in geography and local history, that I knew a deal about the area…but it was as nothing to this lady’s knowledge! I asked how she knew so much and found she was Miss Roberts who lived at the Manor! Her father was Henry Roberts, Director of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Library and it was he that had persuaded the Thomas-Stanfords to bequeath the Manor to the town. The Roberts moved to the Manor in 1933 and remained there until Henry died in 1951.

    By Geoffrey Mead (21/01/2020)

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