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The bomb in September 1940

There are probably many people who live in White Street Brighton, or use it to get to Carlton Hill from Edward Street, who do not notice that the few houses, a third of the way up on the right hand side are different to all to the other homes. It is possible that those living in these properties are aware of why they are dissimilar to their neighbours but on the other hand this might not be the case. The reason why these homes are of a different style is due to the events of the evening of September 18th 1940.

An almighty explosion
At the time my family and I lived in the Little Globe public house in Edward Street. On the evening of that day, not long before my bedtime, I had hidden a copy of the Beano from my sister, under a pillow and we were exchanging somewhat heated words and a few light blows, with my other sister trying to come between us. Suddenly there was an almighty explosion. The pub seemed to move under us and all the windows crashed in. Fortunately, with the black out and the heavy curtains, none of the glass fragments came into the room.

A state of shock
Thinking about it now, I realise we must have been very shocked. Immediately we were taken to the cellar, where I can distinctly remember my mother coming down to us to say a very large bomb had hit White Street and there were people dead in the street outside. On a lighter note the air raid warden a Mr Stringer, who was very deaf, and who ran the sweet/paper shop across the road, had run out of the shop asking what all the noise was about.

A terrible loss of life
The bomb had taken out some 6 homes and killed 11 people. From the photograph, showing my father, sister and I taken on the corner by the pub looking up White Street only a month or two prior to the bombing, it is clear to see that all the houses were all of the same external design.  The bombing therefore, is the reason those houses on the right hand side have been unlike the others in the street, since the bomb damage was put right. From the picture you can also see what part of the road was before Edward Street was widened.

The author with his father and sister
From the private collection of Ken Ross

Comments about this page

  • I have a great photo of the bomb damage in White Street, taken on the 20th September, just 2 days after the bombing. It would be good to add it to your text, or you may just want it anyway. Let me know your email address and I’ll send it.

    By Peter Groves (20/01/2007)
  • I lived in 15 White Street from 1940 until 1949. I well remember playing on that bomb site after the war. I think they also built an air raid shelter there. I bought my first copy of Eagle comic from Mr Stringer and remember him well. My Dad, with Bob Taylor, had Welfares the greengrocers shop on the corner of Blaker St.

    By David Wickham (28/01/2007)
  • Hi David – Do you remember a family in Leicester Street by the name of Standing?

    By Julie Annets (31/01/2007)
  • Julie, I have to admit that Leicester Road did not ring any bells, but the name Standing does. However, if he attended St Johns School, Carlton Hill, then I do remember the name. If he didn’t then I must remember the name from elsewhere.

    By David Wickham (08/02/2007)
  • My family lived at No. 29 White Street. Does the house still stand?

    By Mrs Brown (08/07/2007)
  • David – I also went to St John’s School, Carlton Hill, in 1949. My name was Washer back then.

    By Patricia Wares (31/07/2007)
  • Mrs Brown, No 15 is still standing, so I imagine 29 is still there also. Patricia Wares, I left St. Johns in January 1949 on moving to Haywards Heath.

    By David Wickham (15/10/2007)
  • So interesting - I have just bought No 4 White Street, this is the last house left of the original houses ’till further up the road. Sadly the owner in 1940 died two days after the bombing. The people on the other side in no 2 also died. All very sad. I would be very pleased to receive more info and any pictures, we intend to put a book together and leave it in the house.

    By Jonathan Hill (31/08/2010)
  • I was born at No.4. No.14 is the first of the remaining original houses on that side of the road. Jonathan, I am not sure where you have got your information from but I I think you may be mistaken.

    By Dave Borley (15/05/2011)
  • I have the photo of the bombing of White Street, it is already published and you can find it if you click on the link to “A very strange tale” top RH side of this page!

    By Peter Groves (15/05/2011)
  • Peter Groves, I would love to use your photo on a new information board planned for White Street/Edward Street. Would this be possible?

    By Liz Neale (23/04/2021)
  • Yes no problem Liz, it came from a 1946 Southern Publishing book, pretty sure its out of copyright now as 75 years have passed since the book was published and over 80 years since the photo was taken! Do you have access to it or I can email it?

    By Mr Peter Groves (23/04/2021)

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