Childhood memories

Rochester Street
Photo by Josie Campbell: used under Creative Commons licence

Two up – two down

My childhood home was in Rochester Street; the house was a two up two down with a bath in the scullery and an outside loo. We had no hot water, only what mum boiled in the kettle. Baths, which were far and few between, were on a Saturday evening. Mum would fill the gas copper using a bucket, get the water hot then use a bucket to fill the bath. The first one in the bath water was the cleanest of us; unfortunately it was never me.

Dad drove the last trolley bus

Prior to the war my dad had worked as an upholsterer at Hills of Hove. After being demobbed in 1945, he became a bus conductor, and after a few years he was upgraded to a bus driver. He actually drove the last trolley bus to run in Brighton in 1961. At last, in about 1968 he was promoted to a bus inspector, after working since 1945 for Brighton Corporation buses.

Unhappy schooldays

Mum used to shop at Chapman’s greengrocers shop in Bute Street, Capper’s grocery shop, also in Bute Street and the local butchers at the top of Hendon Street. I went to St Luke’s primary and junior school. Unfortunately passed my 11 plus, and I had to go to Varndean Grammar School For Girls. I was not happy there at all; I left without any qualifications and started work at W H Smith and Son in Frederick Place.

Comments about this page

  • I used to live in Sutherland Rd in the railway houses. Do you remember the Church on the corner of College Terrace and when they tried to demolish it they had problems due to the thickness of the walls. I also remember going into the Sutherland Arms for a penny arrowroot biscuit.

    By David Gillam (13/02/2012)
  • My father-in-law grew up in this street and the Townsends were all around this area- Reg, Gladys, Bert and Henry Townsend.

    By Claire Townsend (16/02/2012)
  • Hi Claire, who was your father-in-law? As a child I played with Henry’s children. If my memory serves me right Henry three daughters and twin boys. I am the same age as Andrea. My maiden name was Levett. I have returned to Rochester Street but it’s not the same.

    By Maureen Howell (17/02/2012)
  • Hi David, Iremember The Railway Cottages. The church was St. Matthews and I think the vicar was Mr.Taylor. Flats were built on the site of the church, I think it’s called St. Matthews Court. I also recall buying penny arrowroots from The Sutherland Arms. You don’t say where you went to school but your name rings a bell.

    By Maureen Howell (17/02/2012)
  • My wife, Teresa (Terry) Dibley, nee Edmondson, lived for a while in Rochester Street as a child with her Mum (Elsie) and Dad (Harry) and she often used to reminisce about the times she spent with her friends, I think also the Townsends were related, but I may be wrong, it would be interesting if anyone remembers her, she later moved to Queens Park Rise, that is when I first met her. Sadly she passed away in 2007, but Queens Park area still holds happy memories for me, as I know it used to for her.

    By Roy Dibley (04/03/2012)
  • My husband’s family, the Townsends, seem to be related to many in the Brighton area! Will mention your wife’s name to my father-in-law and see if he knows!

    By Claire Townsend (19/03/2012)
  • Many thanks, have made contact with a friend from bygone days.

    By Maureen Howell (28/03/2012)
  • Hi Maureen, I moved to Sutherland Rd in about 1964/5, from Maresfield Rd. I went to Whitehawk seniors. I also had a morning paper round at the shop on St Georges Rd for a short while. I can’t remember the name of the shop but two brothers ran it, the round was aroung Burlington St, Bloomsbury Place, the college etc.

    By David Gillam (30/03/2012)
  • Hi David, your name rings a bell with me. I can recall the paper shop you are talking about but, like you, I can’t recall the name. My maiden name was Levett – hope this rings a bell. Other names from our era are – Grover, Townsend, Byrne, Colwell. Hope this rings a bell with you. Would like to take this further if either of us can recall the name of the paper shop.

    By Maureen Howell (01/04/2012)
  • Hello Maureen, I read with great interest the information on here. As a child I’ve sat and listened to many a story of Roggy Street. My father is Ray Byrne, who I will pass this onto.

    By Julie Byrne (11/02/2013)
  • I used to live in Rochester Street in the sixties through to the early eighties. My father was Frank and my mothers name was Rosa. I had a sister called Marina and my cousin and aunt and uncle lived across the road. Anyone remember? It looks very different now.

    By Anita Winsor (10/09/2013)
  • Hi Anita, I remember you and your Mum and Dad. I lived at 39 Rochester St with Mum and Dad Reg and Eileen Laycock. My aunt and uncle, Pete and Jeanette Stedman, lived at 48 with my cousins Nicky and Carol. I do remember Carl and Kevin Windsor and I think they had a sister Janine? We moved away in 1966 but I still have very fond memories of Kemp Town and attend St Luke’s reunion every year in July.

    By Tina Mitchell (04/10/2013)
  • Hi all. My mum and several members of her family lived in Rochester St from the 1920s. The family’s name was Page and I believe my grandfather had a coal round. My mum’s name was Gladys, she had a twin named Jessie and 6 other siblings. She used to tell me lots of stories of what sounded like really happy days .

    By Angie Martin (25/03/2016)

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