Remembering the shops
When I was about six years old, we moved to Crescent Drive North when my father Albert (John to most people except family), joined our new neighbour Cyril Kitson as a business partner at Warren Fruiterers and Fisheries along Warren Road, now a carpet shop. Two others, Ivy Bradshaw, wife of coach driver Jim, and Eva (Powell?) also worked at the shop. Cyril’s father, Samuel Kitson, lived in a little bungalow with a dog called Prince at the top of Crescent Drive North. There were several other traditional shops of that era along Warren Road (electrical, grocer, butcher, baker, chemist and my favourite, the toy shop). From a young boy’s perspective shopping was also a daily social activity where our parents (mums mainly) would have the opportunity to chat with other customers while queuing at each shop.
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Freedom and open spaces
Cyril Kitson’s son, Alan, became my best friend for many years and, like many others of that time, we enjoyed the freedom of the Downs and local open spaces. Particular favourites were the dewponds and dumps plus various barns and during construction of the North Woodingdean estate there were always houses under construction to explore when the builders were absent. Alan and I went to different primary schools (Woodingdean and Rottingdean) and cub packs (23rd and 49th Brighton) respectively so also had additional friends from there.
Packed off with sandwiches and a drink
Alan and I were often packed off with sandwiches and a drink for various expeditions to Lewes, Newhaven, Falmer and Stanmer Park for the day and sometimes hitched a lift home. It seemed like winters were more fun for kids then with plenty of snowy days for downhill sledging and skating on ponds, particularly Falmer Pond. In the absence of Xboxes and video games in general, we were very content to form collections (match box labels, stamps, reptiles including adders and old WW2 relics from the fields around Balsdean Valley) or play with bows and arrows or air guns. Any live ammo found was placed in a bucket and reported to the Police for collection