When the war was finally over a street party was arranged for all the children in Windmill Street, and invites were given to some children from the surrounding area. Flags and buntings stretched across the street, trestle tables and long benches for the children to sit on, set out half the length of the street; probably borrowed from the local Church.
It seemed like a banquet
Food did not seem a problem; I can only imagine that all of the mum’s, pooling all their ration coupons together, cooked the cakes and made the sandwiches. If there were blancmanges, jellies and jam tarts; where they would have come from I haven’t a clue. With wartime rationing still on, and a general shortage of ingredients, I can only guess that they were homemade and of doubtful ingredients. Never mind, as children that had just gone through a war, the spread was a banquet to us.
A very pretty street
Windmill Street was a very pretty street, with angular bay windows, ornate cornices and small, walled front gardens. Our house was at the end of the street where it meets with Richmond Street. The fronts of the houses were all painted in a variety of colours. Of course of this was before the planning regulations were relaxed in the 1970s. It was then that owners tried to change the facades with stick-a-brick, altering the bay fronts to look Regency style, or even altering the bay windows.
A shop on every corner
When I was a boy there was a shop on each corner. One shop was owned by a man named Reeves, selling groceries. On the other corner was a Thomas Owen a shoe repairer, later this become an antique shop. Opposite in Richmond Street was Hill’s, the butchers. There was even a fish and chip shop on the corner of Stanley Street, but this later became a printers. In actual fact there was everything that we needed within a few hundred yards. There was a dairy on the corner of Albion Hill and Windmill Terrace; ‘Peters’ the coal merchant and radio shop; an ironmongers was opposite, (on the corners of Queens Park Road and Richmond Street). Finally, there was the local public house, the ‘Montreal Arms’, very useful when I grew up.
I have never been back to Windmill Street since I sold it in 1998. I married an Essex girl who lived in Brighton and we eventually moved to Kent. Now I am retired and living in a village near Rye in East Sussex.