'The Creche'

Edward Tilbury

Edward Tilbury was a wealthy London Merchant and had taken his son-in-law, Edwin Adolphus Tarner into business with him after his marriage to Letitia (nee Tilbury) in 1834. Tilbury resided at 1, Patriot Place during the 1830’s. It would appear that around the same time he built the tower and landscaped the gardens surrounding ‘the Lodge’, which in contemporary times became known as ‘the Creche’.

Change of name in 1859

After the death of Edward Tilbury in 1859, the Lodge was inherited by Edwin and his wife. The name for St. John’s Lodge was not conferred upon it until 1864, and the road was also renamed to Tilbury Place at this time, in honour of Edward Tilbury. For most part of the next 20 years the lodge was occupied by tenants, thereafter becoming the family home of Edwin Tilbury-Tarner.

Letitia Tilbury-Turner: patron

Edwin’s sister, Letitia Tilbury-Tarner was the last occupant of the Lodge and became one of the principal patrons of the area. Upon her death in 1933 she bequeathed the house and grounds to Brighton Corporation. The 1.24 acre grounds became the Tarner Recreation Ground in January 1934.

Nursery school in 1933

Margaret McMillan opened an open air nursery school on 9th October 1933 with its entrance in Sussex Street. In 1937 it was taken over by Brighton Corporation and renamed the Tarner Land Nursery School; it was rebuilt in 1960.

Historical research by Andy Grant

The Creche, on the south side of Sussex Street opposite Tarner Road
Photo by C. West
Another view of The Creche, photographed in 1978
Photo by C. West

Comments about this page

  • Memories. My playground in the late 40’s & early 50’s. Originally this park was an unkept piece of waste ground until the council revamped it sometime in the 50’s. In the top picture, the area of green in the foreground was developed to be a quiet area for the aged. You can still see the white square in the footpath which was one of two chess boards (the other is just going off the picture). There were seats by each board for the aged persons to sit and move the chess pieces with their sticks. Again veiwing the top picture, to the right of the swings, was a climbing frame. What fun we had with that – it beat climbing around the bombed-out buildings in the area. Passing the swings to the extreme bottom of the picture was a static old fire engine, which us children sat and steered at an imaginary speed, ringing the bell en-route. This item was later removed – early health and safety?! Does anyone remember the cricket nets by the western boundary? The park was administered by the park keeper from Queens Park and his office was in the Tower. A pity this park was left to deteriorate and become grafitti city in recent years, but thankfully it was rescued. I live too far away to see its restoration, but at least I have my memories.

    By Ron Burtenshaw (09/01/2011)
  • I lived in Tilbury from 1959 to 1965. I remember playing in this park. Us kids called it ‘The Creech’. There was an old green lorry in the lower level we climbed all over.

    By Mal Standing (10/01/2011)
  • I remember the old green truck but does anyone remember the horse that was always tied up on the lower level of the park?

    By John Eaton (12/01/2011)
  • Us girls lived in Elmore Road, and played all the time in the creech. I also was a member of the Brighton Girls Club, and we used to play netball there, very handy to have a park so close for parents. There was a family living in Elmore Road across the road to us, they had a horse and cart. I believe the horse belonged to them.

    By Joyce Blackman (19/01/2011)
  • I remember this being our old haunt. My elder brother Rodney and younger brother Mal, used to play here all the time. Carol Milner was my best friend and we used to play hide and seek with the boys! (nothing sinister here). The Creche also had a climbing frame which we called the jungle gym that had a sand base just in case we fell from it. I do not think the council would erect one these days because, looking back, it was quite high and quite dangerous. My brother Mal can testify to that! The best memories I have kept are those spent in the Creche.

    By Hannah Bauer (nee Nannette Standing) (30/01/2011)
  • I spent the whole of my childhood playing in this park and they are some of the best memories I have. I have recently been taking my children there and it is heartbreaking seeing the way it has been allowed to deteriorate over the years with the lack of maintenance, in particular the upper tier of the park. Hopefuly I will be able to upload some photos at a later date to show.

    By Dean Ruckman (24/04/2011)
  • This used to be a fun place when we were kids. We played there post war and into the 50s. We lived in Lennox Street so it was close by. We would go there and play rounders from the Brighton Girls Club. I remember the name Ruckman from my young days in Lennox Street. Any relation?

    By Iris Gilman (26/04/2011)
  • Hi there. Maybe you knew my grandad, his name was Bill, or my dad George, or Uncle William (known as Billy)?

    By Dean Ruckman (03/05/2011)
  • I left Brighton in 1955 so my memory is a little rusty. For some reason I want to say Tony Ruckman. He had a sister called Anita. There were a number of families in the street that may have been related. Was your family related to the Luxfords? It has been decades since I thought about all our neighbours but I do remember the name Burtenshaw. We were lucky to have Tarner Park so close. Queen’s Park was only a few minutes away and The Level not too far to walk. Trouble with The Level was climbing the hill back home.

    By Iris Gilman (08/05/2011)
  • I knew a George Ruckman, and a Billy, they used to have several friends that I know such as the Coggins brothers, Ronnie and Mick, Bobby Whatman, John Dunkley, and the Mears family – too many to name but mostly from Manor Farm/Whitehawk area. They had a fruit/veg shop on the corner of High street/St James street.

    By Duffy Watkins (21/06/2011)
  • This is brillant reading this on here, however, I am too young to remember them, but my father and my relations lived in Lennox Street during the Second World War and then up to when the houses were demolished and it was turned in to what it is now. My great gran was called Granny Gunn and was Italian and my dad, James Marsh (also known as Demascio – this is the Italian meaning for ‘marsh’, as well as being called Gunn), lived with her. They used to have horses and pigs in Tarner Park, the horse was called Rosie, also chickens in their backyard. Been loving the stories I’ve been getting from my dad. Even though he has vascular dementia and alzheimers, he still remembers all the names of the old neighbours – some of who some people have said about on here. Would love to have some feedback please.

    By Louise Marsh (25/03/2013)
  • I remember the Tarner nursery very well. My youngest brother went to the nursery and I used to have to take him there before I went to school. I remember they had rabbits and other small animals, but what most sticks in my mind was the goat they had. It was kept on a long chain and the children loved him. The nursery was next to the park that I think was called the creche, we had great fun in there. I haven’t been around that way for a long time – is it still there does anyone know?

    By Kathleen Catt (nee Cornford) (26/03/2013)
  • Correction to my above posted comment: I found out today that my family had the horses and pigs in Riding School Lane and that my great uncle, Angelo Demascio, owned them even though my dad and his dad (also called James Marsh / Demascio / Gunn) used to look after them. They also had chickens which they kept in the back yard.

    By Louise Marsh (26/03/2013)
  • Louise, I was one of those neighbours. Very young during the war – 8 years old when it ended. I left Brighton in 1956 but my mother stayed in Lennox Street until the clearance. My maiden name was Trangmar. I remember a James Marsh, I think he had a motorbike.

    By Iris Gilman (27/03/2013)
  • Thanks for your reply Iris, sorry took so long to reply to it. Yes, that’s right, my father did have a motorbike, then was upgraded to a motorbike with a sidecart (which was a long box) as he used to work for quick deliveries when he was about 16 before he started driving a car at 17. I will mention your name to him, also I will let my auntie know, Pat Harvey, her mum was Kate Harvey (nee Marsh / Demascio / Gunn) my father’s auntie. They used to live at 43 Lennox Street and my nan and grandad lived at 54 Lennox Street.

    By Louise Marsh (21/06/2013)
  • Hello Louise, I do remember your dad and your auntie. They lived opposite the Hatley family and the Luxford family, I think. Also I have memories of your dad walking up the street in boots. Could always hear him coming. We lived two doors up from a little shop that sold sweets and papers among other things. Basic groceries. We were about four houses down from the top. Round the top of the street was Wildings, a greengrocer. Your dad and Pat must have the same memories of the bombings that I have, I am sorry he has this terrible illness. Please do say hello from me. I have one sister left from our family of four children.

    By Iris Gilman (24/07/2013)
  • Did any Marshes marry Micheal Regan ?

    By Shelly Regan (22/10/2013)
  • I was born in 1956 and lived in Hanover Terrace  in the late 50s. Mum sent me to Sussex Street Nursery which is now Morley Street. The nursery was demolished in about 1960 to make way for the Richmond Flats development and the ‘creche’ (we used to pronounce it creech) was next to the nursery as I remember it. I used to play there with my friends Lee and Kevin Town. I remember it as little more than a wasteland on a steep hill with some old vehicles dumped there , an old horse used to be tied up there too. We always thought it belonged to a local character called ‘ Spider ‘ Webb who was the local rag and bone man.

    By Peter Paolella (16/11/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *