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Childhood memories of the 1950s

Stephens Road
Photo by Tony Mould

Clean respectful community

I lived in Stephens Road from 1953 until I married in 1964; my parents and sisters remained a few more years after I had left. It was a clean and respectful community. By that I mean that residents were proud of their environment and took care of it. If we had dared be rude to our elders, our mum would have come down like a ton of bricks. We were not rude to grown ups of course, it would never have crossed our minds. Every garden was worked and produce for the table was cultivated and eaten.

Picking blackberries

We were able to play in the street and often had a rope across the road where we would spend hours skipping and playing happily. We also played another, pretty revolting game, that involved spitting and then standing on the deposit allowing us to move forward. The object of the game being to arrive first at the other side of the road, it was it called ‘watering can’. We went to the field – a grassed area at the top of Brentwood Road (which, incidentally was a close at this stage). We could, and often did, walk to the Wild Park, picking and eating blackberries on the way. It was accessed by passing allotments and then walking alongside the golf course.

Prisoners working in the fields

Sometimes, prisoners from Lewes Prison worked in the cornfields nearby, guarded by officers with dogs. Interestingly, a huge leafed species of clover was planted in these fields, to put nitrogen into the ground in the fallow period. My sisters and I used to feed our rabbits some of this luscious crop! How times have changed, since fertilizers for the most part are artificially manufactured and now come in sacks. I remember those days and the people I knew with great affection.


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