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Changes over the years

Crescent Drive in the early days of Woodingdean
From the private collection of Tony Drury

Baptist Hall Sunday School

On Sunday mornings I was sent off to Sunday School to the Baptist Hall at the top of Falmer Road, with our sisters Diana Pope (now Williams), and Kathleen Kitson (now Stevens), to give the parents some peace and quiet. After all these years, I can still remember Mr Richardson’s voice in the Baptist Hall, booming out from the back of the congregation. I also remember the two ex-missionary ladies who looked after the younger ones and generally kept them quiet during the sermon.

The local neighbourhood

Other neighbours at the time in Crescent Drive North included Miss Cuthbertson, Mrs Rodwell, Mrs Palmer, and Mr Vout.  I also remember Mr Bayliss who had two goats on a spare plot. There were several pig farms around, protected by electrical wire fencing and many people kept chickens in the extensive back gardens. Some of the older properties in Crescent Drive were simply converted railway carriages or huts.  There were many prefabs around Rudyard Road, Kipling Avenue and along the Warren Road until the South and North Woodingdean Estates were completed.

General events of interest

I also remember a bus tipping over on the corner of the Ridgeway by Balsdean Road as reported in another post, and frequent crashes at the main crossroads before traffic lights were installed.  The annual Carnival was well attended with many floats and fetes were held either on the School playing fields or in one of the larger gardens (e.g. rear of the Downs Hotel or Spears Walk area).

40 years of changes

There’s no doubt that Woodingdean has changed quite a lot in the 40 odd years I was away with most of the available land and housing fully developed now whilst traffic issues are currently the biggest problem.  But thanks to the efforts of many current residents, Councillors and our local MP it still retains its identity as a separate village for now. Currently members of the third and fourth generation of Popes are also residents of Woodingdean.

Comments about this page

  • Does anyone remember the Sunday School in Rudyard Road/Kipling Avenue run by Mr Sweetman? Went there for a while but can’t remember if it was on a morning or afternoon. We all sat in groups of six and discussed the bible, and did a play at Christmas. I remember the summer day trips in the blue van and Mr Sweetman handing out toffees.

    By Cheryl (17/05/2020)
  • I think Fred Roberts was driving the bus that turned over. He also used to deliver groceries for Stanbridge Grocers.

    By Tony Lenton (10/07/2020)
  • I do remember Mr Sweetman I went to the Sunday School which I think was held in the afternoon. He had three sons, Tim, David and John. I think Mr Sweetman owned a house opposite the Sunday School in Rudyard Road. The Sweetman were a lovely family and helped a lot of the local families.

    By Bernie Smith (01/05/2021)

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