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A 'four wheeler' - prized possession

Whitehawk estate photographed in 1958
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Highly desired pram wheels

I remember that the soap box cart was a prized possession in those far off days, although oddly enough we did not call it by that name. It was always referred to as a ‘four wheeler’ or a ‘four nag’. Pram wheels were highly prized as it meant that you had the basic requirements for a ‘four nag’.  It was essentially a floorboard with an axle front and back. The front axle would be on a cross bar that pivoted on a single bolt to facilitate steering.

The precursor to the skate board?

Our tools for building this thing were extremely limited, and I can clearly remember making the hole for the bolt by heating up an iron in a fire till it was red hot and then burning a hole through the wood with the iron. I can also remember fixing a piece of wood to a single roller skate and using it for coasting down slopes in the seated position. If only I had thought of standing up on it I would have invented the skateboard and may have been a multi-millionaire by now.

Do you remember these ‘four wheelers’? Please share your memories by posting a comment below

Adventures with my friends

My little circle of friends in those days included Colin, Janice, Betty, Winnie,  Deanna, Tony Morrel and Dennis Steyning. We must have been allowed a lot of freedom in those days because I can remember excursions on foot to Falmer pond where we would catch newts in a fishing net. We would also sometimes walk to Queens Park to catch tadpoles in the pond there. Another trek that I remember was over the East Brighton downs to Ovingdean where there was an orchard at the back of St Wulfrans church. It was only about three miles away but we felt like we had traveled to the ends of the earth. Best apples I ever tasted though!

Comments about this page

  • We used to call them ‘trollies’ in our neck of the woods (West Hove). Goodness knows why.

    By Geoff Stoner (20/12/2015)
  • I can remember making these as a kid, we called them trolleys as well, but we didn’t use pram wheels but ball races we scrounged from the local garage. We also made scooters in the same fashion.

    By John Wignall (24/03/2017)
  • Four nags was an important part of our growing up.Best place to get the best out of them was from East Brighton Golf Course down the hill behind Rodean School to Ovingdean.Speed was fantastic but a long walk back up the hill,but it was worth it.

    By Terry Marchant (06/05/2020)

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