Memories of Whitehawk in the 1950s
It’s good to be alive in 1955!
“It’s good to be alive in 1955!” That was said by Eccles in the Goon Show. How true it was! In the 50s I lived in Whitehawk Road. Irrespective of what people say, Whitehawk was a great place to live in those days. People’s doors were never locked and if you wanted to get to another road the quick way, you could go through their gardens.
Down at the Broadway, you had two coffee bars. The Appletime (opposite the bus depot), which was quite small but opened late because of the buses, and Stan’s at the other end. Stan’s used to get so busy that you could go in there after the pub or pictures, order a sausage sandwich, eat it, and shout “Where’s my sausage sandwich?” and he’d bring another one, forgetting you’d had one already.
I had some great friends in Whitehawk. A lot of them had motorbikes and periodically we’d go to Barcombe Mills. We would go there, hire boats and have a great time having stand up fights and always ending up in the river. The boys and girls were all mates and not boy and girl friends, so everybody mucked in and had great fun. Some of the lads used to ride their motorbikes over tree trunks placed across the river, and we would have to pull them out and wait for the bikes to dry out before we could go home.
Up at Sheepcote Valley, there was, and still is, a camping site. Some of my mates and I would wander up there on cabaret nights and chat the girls up. We never used to get anywhere because we acted too flash. Still, never mind! Sometime, perhaps…!
Just along the road in Kemptown was the Langham Café. I suppose you would call it a latter day bikers’ café because most of the youngsters that used the place were motorcyclists. They also used the Little Chef at the bottom of North Road. They were hardly any foreign bikes, and most of the bikes that were parked outside were Nortons, B.S.A, Triumphs, Ariels and Matchless, all gleaming with their chrome exhausts and tanks. Most of the lads who owned the bikes did their own maintenance, so obviously they were their pride and joy. Opposite the Rock Inn there was a motorcycle and sidecar delivery service, and the delivery boys used to come roaring out like bats out of hell, because they were such good riders. I used to envy them.