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A fantastic childhood

Happy Valley
©Tony Mould: all images copyrighted

Stirring memories

So many memories have been stirred looking through this website. I lived at 92 Stanstead Crescent from the time it was built in about 1955 until 1971. I spent a year at Woodingdean School until Rudyard Kipling was built. I remember Miss Tamkin and Mr Bridden as well as Mr. Kipling, Mr Bridgeland and Miss Furner.

Football success

Our football team won the second division title in my last year 1962 and shared the Baker cup after a 3 all draw with Moulescoomb. We did not lose a game all season. I remember Buster Bishop (my next door neighbour), Christopher Wilson in goal, David Crunden, Neil Shepherd, Arthur Downer, Keith Somerville, Arthur Downer, Billy Potter and myself.

My paper round

I worked at Hammonds delivering papers from The Toby pub down to Falmer Road and back again for 17/6d a week. Roger Newman, who went to Varndean School, marked up the papers. I later worked as a washer up at the Bedford Hotel. My best mate was Ron Griffiths from the top of Bexhill Road near the Sunblest factory.

We were all very fit

We had a fantastic childhood over The Downs or at Happy Valley, or else just wandering around Ovingdean and Rottingdean. No wonder we were so fit. My sister Valerie went to LonghillSchool, and her friends were Susan Brooks, Leslie Reid, Zoe Harris and Sandra Budgen. Loads of other names spring to mind and I have really enjoyed this site. I still love the Downs and though I now live in Broadstairs, I return from time to time to walk the places of my childhood.

Comments about this page

  • Happy Valley was a great little park. My sister and I often walked there via Falmer Road from Sandhurst Avenue where we lived. I remember Roger Newman very well as I was in the same class at Woodingdean School until 1961 when he went to Varndean and I to Westlain. My Aunt, Jessie McGlone, who lived in Downs Valley Road, was a dinner lady at Longhill School when it was first built. Does anyone remember her?

    By Dave Crockatt (08/02/2017)
  • I loved this park. We lived in Falmer Road then moved up to the top of Woodingdean by the racecourse. However we went at least once a week while growing up.

    By Joanne Burgess (06/06/2017)
  • Hi! This is going to sound daft but just like you I lived on Stanstead Crescent and went to Rudyard Kipling and I even inherited your paper round! Brian Hammond was lovely and I only ever hear nice things about his dad. My Nan’s lived there since the sixties.

    By Shaun (26/03/2019)
  • I’ve just found this section whilst surfing the web during this lockdown,and what a trip down memory lane! I also lived in Stanstead Crescent, no. 95, from 1955. I can’t find where it gives the author of this piece called ‘A Fantastic Childhood’ but as he says he lived at no. 92 it must be Anthony Lenton. You will remember me and my sister Barbara, who was friends with Valerie.
    I also did exactly the same paper round as you and Shaun, from Hammonds down to the bottom of Cowley. I also remember going to Woodingdean school whilst Rudyard was being built, and also some time being taught in one of the ‘cottages’ before that.
    Nice to hear some of the old names from the School, I remember most of them.

    By David Shirley (11/05/2020)
  • David Shirley

    I’ll tell my brother, Tony Lenton, you commented on his post. Do you remember the picnics and the parties? I remember your Dad boiling the kettle on a Primus Stove, fueled by methylated spirits, I can almost smell it now. I met up with your sister Barbara a few years back but lost contact. Very happy memories, hope you are well.

    By Valerie Chaney (nee Lenton) (10/07/2020)
  • My sister brought these comments to my attention. It was great to hear from David Shirley. Our families were very friendly and our mothers were pregnant at the same time with our youngest siblings, as we say now. David and I used to get the bus from the Toby to Woodingdean School. He must have been about five and I would have been 4 or 5. Such things are unthinkable these days but it seemed pretty normal then. I suspect we were quite robust as I remember break at Woodingdean when all the kids would charge across the field, tripping one another up. I assume the game had a name but I’ve forgotten it.

    By Tony Lenton (10/07/2020)
  • Hello, my name is Stephen Blunt does anyone remember me ? I was in the same school football team as Anthony Lenton along with the other names mentioned I am still in contact with Keith Somerville and Alan Wood. I still live in Woodingdean in the Ridgway . It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers me.

    By stephenblunt Blunt (27/04/2021)
  • Still go down to Happy Valley now to walk the dog. Its changed a lot now but you can still see the foundations of the sweet kiosk and slide etc at the Southern end by the football changing rooms. When a scout with the 19th, we did Archery badge down there and I remember winning a competition getting some arrows as a prize.
    The scouts had church parade at the Methodist Church in Ridgeway and we were sent one day up to Warren Road and got involved in the search for the Keith Lyons murder weapon walking in line down the fields.
    Does anyone remember the old bus services? I am sure the 38 once came over and turned around Cowley Drive, Bexhill Rd junction. It had slow rear sliding doors. Then we had the 45 which ran from Cowley Drive shops up Cowley and Bexhill Road round to Warren Rd and into town. The 48 came via Bear Road down Falmer and up to Cowley, Bexhill a road, and was run by Southdown. When it went back it had to negotiate the steep climb from Falmer into Warren Rd, which was impossible in snowy weather.
    Between 67 and 72 I think, two BHD buses, no. 2s turning from Crescent Drive South into Shipley Road, misjudged the turn, hit the curb, and crashed into the corner house opposite the old doctors surgery. Unlikely nowadays with power steering.

    By Colin fines (27/06/2021)
  • Does anyone remember Susan Rayner and Ishbel Moffat from Cowley Drive?

    By Isa Cumming (21/07/2021)
  • I have lived in Woodingdean from May 1955 and I am still here. I was born in Brighton General and went to Rudyard Kipling and Longhill. I remember Brian Hammond very well. Does anyone remember the Cowley Drive shops? Think there were 2 shops,Munden and Crunden, One was a Butcher and other was a Chemist[ it was always that, not a Pharmacy]. There were empty spaces all over Woodingdean and easy to get onto the Downs. The Bateman’s estate was wild and over grown until the 60s or 70s. I remember there was a small shop near the top of Bexhill Road.
    In the early 60s I used to buy the ex juke box singles from Hammonds, still have a lot of them. There wasn’t a lot of money around so we went to Hammonds for a bag of sweets and got 4 or5 only. Also was often sent to Off Licence at the Toby to buy a bottle of Rich Ruby [some type of poor quality sherry].

    By chris witcher (11/10/2021)
  • Greetings from Texas. I noticed the last name Tamkin. Albert Tamkin I understand was from Brighton. His son was Alec. He would of been my great great grandfather. They owned a hotel in Bedford The Kings Arms. My dad was born in 1953 and lived in Bedford. My Grandmother Pat Tamkin who is still alive and about to be 97. I was trying to find more History on the Tamkin family.

    By Andrew Tamkin (02/10/2023)
  • We lived in Ravenswood Drive from 1954 until the early 70s. We all went to Rudyard Kipling and Longhill School.
    Have so many great memories living in Woodingdean.
    Often go to see my sister, she’s the only one still living there.
    The Plummer family.

    By Alan Plummer (11/12/2023)
  • I remember as a kid going to that park to play,walking across the fields to get there with my sister Pat.

    By Linda Wallace (03/02/2024)

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