Memories from the 40s and 50s
Do you remember Windy Bill?
In the late 40s to early 50s there used to be an old man (to me) who did weightlifting by the trolleybus stop at the paper shop on Lewes Road, at the bottom of Richmond Street. He used to collect pennies in his hat and also used to run behind the trollies making a whistling/wheezing sound. My mum said his name was Windy Bill. Anyone else remember him?
My favourite street sellers
I remember just after the war an Italian man used to come up Sussex Terrace pushing an ice cream barrow. Because it was hard work pushing the barrow up Richmond Street hill, he used to let us kids, who helped him a few times, have a small cornet free. There were also the French onion sellers, with their old bikes and their bodies strung up with strings of onions. But my favourite street seller was the barrow filled with winkles. I remember sharing a pint of them with the rest of my family, picking them out with an old safety pin.
Sussex Terrace in World War II
After the street was bombed, the uphill side had lost both ends. The car repair garage had gone, our house had gone, and on the Richmond Street end just the wall holding up the hillside remained. On the downhill side of the street a few houses were left standing about halfway along. I don’t know if these were bombed or taken down because of damage.
Charlie whistling a tuneless tune!
Charlie Payne (or Paine?) had a coal merchants and greengrocers shop. I remember he was always whistling a tuneless sound and used crutches. I think he only had one leg. He was a nice bloke and let people have lots of stuff on tick. At the end of the war we were taken on our first holiday ever to a farm at Odiham where we stayed in old gypsy caravans. He took us all there and collected us, aunts and friends as well, all riding on the back of his flat back lorry. I don’t think the police would allow it now as it must have been very unsafe.
Other people living in the street were The Hubbards with their sons Roystone and David (Ginger). There were also the Sullivants, D’agastinos, Bryants, Mrs Cooper and son, and a lodger who was a fantastic painter called Mr Calvo. Also the Smiths with two sons and a daughter.
Long gone shops
My mother knew Fred Hills, who had the butchers shop on Richmond Street. By World War II this was owned by Nicholls (a family grocers). On the corner of Dinapore St below the railings, there was also a fish shop just after World War II called Breeds. You used to get a threepenny bit of fish and a pennarth of chips plus a free Big Pickled Onion if you took your own newspaper.
Dinapore Street fish shop
Round the corner of the other end of Dinapore St was another fish shop in Albion Hill. It was owned after the war by the Warnett (or Warner?) family. Their son Dave joined the army the same day on National Service as my brother Mick and was his best man a few years later.