When the war was over

Windmill Street party
From the private collection of Ron Burtenshaw

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.

Comments about this page

  • During and after the war my grandparents ran The Millers Ams public house on the corner of Windmill Street and Sussex Street.They were Harry and Lou Bristow. If you are interested I do have a photo of the street party at the end of the war. I am in the photo with my mother and grandmother. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers those days.

    By Ann Round (03/01/2011)
  • I live at number 27 Windmill Street and am involved in organising a street party on 29th April. We would love to have your stories and memories of life on the street to display to all the neighbours on a memory board during the day. Please do get in touch!

    By Jenny McCall (09/02/2011)
  • Hi Jenny, if you contact me on burte@freeuk.com I will try to help you.

    By Ron Burtenshaw (28/03/2011)
  • Hi Jenny, I agree Windmill Street was a really pretty street even in the 70s and 80s when I lived there at no 18. I did hear that one of the houses at the Sussex Street end, the one on the end on the right, had the grinding wheel from the old windmill in their basement. I’m coming back here soon as a photographer- I’m getting inspired. Cheers

    By Mike Peckett (22/06/2011)
  • Hi I lived at number 36 with my mum, dad and two brothers Rob and Steve, until about 1976ish. Anyone remember us? My dad used to go in the Millers pub on the corner.

    By Debbie Jordan (18/11/2011)
  • What great memories your photo brings back to me. The lady with white hair 3rd from left behind the little girl with the white hair ribbons, is my grandmother Mrs Florence Paris who lived at 20 Windmill Street. I was born under her bed during an air raid in October 1940, as my mother refused to go to the air raid shelter. You can contact me at ladybee@vodafone.co.nz

    By Barbara Cousins-Sterling (17/12/2011)
  • Lovely to read the latest from ex-neighbours. We’re having another street party on the 15th July – all old Windmill Street inhabitants welcome. If you have any photos or memories to add to my history board send them over. Ron’s fanatastic memories about growing up on the street in the 40s and 50s were just fascinating for all the children (and adults) at our party last year – thanks so much Ron!

    By Jenny McCall (06/06/2012)

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