Childhood memories of the 1930s

I was born in 1928 at 17 Round Hill Street, a cul-de-sac halfway up Round Hill Road from the Round Hill Tavern. I cannot imagine a happier place for a boy to play in freedom amongst good companions with tolerant adults.

Local Family names
Family names which I recall were Shepherd, Packham, Horn, Padmore, Probert (early30’s), Stoner, Richardson, Marchant and Fellingham. We lived in a newly built house the garden of which overlooked the back of Mr.Franklin’s sweet shop in Ditchling Road. In the 1980’s the wall collapsed leaving a pretty pickle for the solicitors to sort out.

The Square
Opposite our house was a small concreted area called ‘The Square’ which fronted the garages and stores of E.J. Salvage, the builder of the house. I am still happy to be in touch with his grandson, a retired medical doctor living in Canada, and we were at school together from 5 – 18. We kids used  the space for games such as “Hot Rice” and “Off-Ground-Home”.

Remembering the lamp lighter
Traffic was non-existent save for the milkman and the short-lived dairy run by Mr. Waddington in one of the vacant garages. The illumination at night came from a single, gas-fired street lamp, up which we could climb. Each evening the lamp lighter came with his long pole and box of mantles. His task ended when before 1939 it was changed to electricity.

A treacherous corner in winter
In an icy winter there was always the hazard of turning the corner to go down to the tram or trolley bus, which stopped in Ditchling Road at St. Saviours Church, and many a rear end hit the deck.

Comments about this page

  • Many thanks Ken Why for your recollections of the Roundhill area. Although I didn’t live there, the memories of the lamp lighter are common to all of us who were children at that time. There was an arm on the top of the lamp standard for the lamp lighter to rest his ladder when necessary. This made an ideal place to fasten a rope so that it was possible to swing around the lamp. At this time of year, after school, when the lamp was lighted early, and the November fog was beginning to permeate the streets, I have a strong memory of we children playing and singing under the lamp light, ‘The Big Ship Sails Through the Alley Alley O,’ forming an arch at the lamp and a long line of children passing through it. The sound of the singing was deadened by the fog and we soon felt the chill air, and our mothers called us in to tea.

    By Rita Denman (18/11/2009)
  • I worked at the Roundhill Tavern for ten years about 30 years ago. Why no pictures of this great pub – the customers were like family – you knew what time and what day each and every one was coming in. A wonderful area and wonderful people.

    By Anne Hogbin (30/12/2010)

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