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1963 in Woodingdean

This photograph of 57, Farm Hill Woodingdean, the right hand house, was taken January 1963.  We lived here from September 1961 to April 1964. At one time the snow was up to the top of the front gates. Anyone remember that big snow fall? We had just got back from a visit to Tunbridge Wells and found the front entrance blocked.

A strange thing that happened a few days earlier on our way to Kent, occurred just outside Uckfield. We were taking it easy due to the snow, and reached a straight bit of road when the car following tore by and rushed off into the distance. About a mile on there is a bad bend, and on the left of this was a very large wall of snow. To our surprise, sticking out of this snow was the rear of the car that had passed us, embedded into the snow as if in a tunnel up to the rear passenger door.

57, Farm Hill Woodingdean
From the private collection of Kenneth Ross

Comments about this page

  • I remember that snow of 1963 well Ken, although I was only 9 at the time! Probably the best age to be when there’s plenty of snow! I lived in Hangleton which was pretty much cut off from the rest of Hove. Regarding your story of the car, it reminds me that the odd car (they were few and far between in Hangleton) parked facing the Downs in Hangleton were completely covered with snow!

    By Peter Groves (26/01/2010)
  • Just a small correction to dates above photograph; we were there until April 1965 not 1964.

    By Ken Ross (26/01/2010)
  • 1963 SNOW. I remember the winter of 62/63, the snow started on the Saturday after Christmas and it was of the powdery variety. I was living in Cowly Drive at the time and I was aged 22. A no.2a bus got stuck on the steep hill outside my house and I and several other people helped to push it (backwards ) into Donnington Road, where the bus managed to go downhill. We read, in the next Monday’s Evening Argus, that the bus got stuck along Warren Rd, by the race course, with another bus going in Woodingdean direction and was not rescued until late sunday morning. Tried to walk to Rottingdean on the sunday afternoon, but the drifts were too deep - about 4 foot. I think the buses started to run again but only as far as Down’s Hotel on the Monday, and did not start to run to South Woodingdean for another 4-5 weeks. When the schools started back after the Christmas holidays, they all opened, unlike today where they close before the first flake of snow hits the ground. I used to work at Allen West at East Moulsecombe and had to walk to/from Down’s Hotel every day to catch the works bus.  Question: Is Allen West still open? I know Lewes Rd factories closed, but what about East Moulsecombe? I live at Torquay now and very seldom go to Brighton, but it is nice to know what has happened to Allen West.

    By John Todd (29/01/2010)
  • What a coincidence, only this week I read an article, I think in the Evening Argus, about Allen West. They are still going in Brighton, but very small now, I think only a handful of staff. I tried to find the article, but I think my wife has recycled it.

    By Peter Groves (29/01/2010)
  • Peter, thank you for the info. I managed to locate the story on the Argus website. Sad to see such a large comp decline but glad to see it is still go, if only just.

    By John Todd (02/02/2010)
  • It was fantastic to see a photo of 57 Farm Hill in the snow. We live next door and the scene was very reminiscant of the recent snow during January 10, when we and our neighbours had to dig out the road by the oval of green. Do you know who lived at 55? We have also been told these houses were built by German POWs during WW2.

    By A Rush (06/02/2010)
  • T A Rush, interested to hear you are now next to 57, when we moved in a very nice couple lived there who moved to open a shop, do not remember the type of shop, and another family moved in with teenage children who were a bit noisy at times, so much so you could hear bits of conversations and them running up and down the stairs. You will know how close you are when in the garden but they never spoke or passed the time of day. Do you still have the wonderful views across the back fields. It looks so from the google maps page of Farm Hill we put the concrete garage up is that still the same? The advert for the garage said all you needed to erect it was a friend, let me tell you, you ended up with a garage but lost a friend as it was hard labour, we laid all the hard core and base. The hard core came from the old houses they were knocking down in Carlton Hill because as I was driving past the demolition site I asked the lorry driver who was taking the rubble away to bring it over to Farm Hill and tipped him about 30 Bob (£1.50). It turned out to be about three and a half cubic feet or so and it was dropped just out side our gate and took me 6 hours in a small wheelbarrow to shift.

    By Ken Ross (08/02/2010)
  • Hi there. We lived at number 61, about 1971-1974 and remember being snowed in around 1972. We moved to New Zealand with our three children in 1974. It was a lovely area and I believe the fields are still there at the back, where the paper road is.

    By Ruby Wilson (22/01/2011)
  • I have always kept a diary and checked the date for the snow in 1967. I went to my friends house in Farm Hill no. 61 – a snow storm and six ft high drifts! Stranded there and no bread! Worst of all I was expecting and craving for Dairylea cheeses! Brighton was the worst hit area apparently. My husband walked with my friend to the one shop and took hours – Ruby had frostbite! Managed to get home on Saturday and freezing cold and not much coal.

    By Norma (01/02/2011)
  • Yes, Norma was correct, it was 1967 that we were all snowed in and, yes, I did get frostbite on my knees. If I remember we did manage to get the Dairylee cheese for Norma’s cravings. We lived at 61 Farm Hill for longer than I thought. Good job Norma kept a diary.

    By Ruby Wilson (15/08/2011)
  • Have to say that the 1967 snow has nothing to do with my photograph of 57, I am very sure of this because I also kept and still keep a diary and have diaries going back to 1953. In fact one of the other reasons I remember it was 1963 was due to the fact that my wife was pregnant and we returned through the snow from Tunbridge Wells in the small 2 day or so gap between snow falls and I was very worried about getting home with her in her pregnant state. Another point that makes the date correct for the photo is that we moved out of Farm Hill over Easter 1965. The snow in 1967 also created a problem for us because by then we had moved to Buckinghamshire to a new house from the one we moved to in 1965 and we were snowed in once again.

    By Ken Ross (17/08/2011)
  • 63 and 67 both had bad snowfall in the Brighton area.

    By John Cording (18/08/2011)
  • Interesting reading about our home we’ve been in for 48 years! Moved in in ’67 when my wife was pregnant with our first, Jane and then had Adam in ’70. One or two things getting muddled above; the views are still amazing.

    By Patsy and Jon Whitley (15/03/2015)
  • Only just seen this. We lived at no. 42 but by this winter were already in Channel View Road. I remember this winter well even though I was 6!

    By Liz Bolloten (11/01/2018)
  • Wonderful to see this thread. I used to live at 59 Farm Hill with my parents from about 1957 to 1967 (age 8 to 18). I moved to London in 1967 and my parents moved into Brighton not long after I left. I remember the snow of 1963 really well. I was a very keen student I suppose since, even though there were no buses I decided to walk to Varndean where I went to school. When I think back to it now it seems like a crazy decision.

    By Pat Field (05/05/2018)
  • Does anyone know of “Roysden” Farm Hill, Woodingdean, I presume it is a house name. My grandparents lived there for a time. My aunt and uncle were living there in 1939 and my parents were married from there in 1946.

    By Maureen Clement (28/06/2018)
  • I looked in Kelly’s Directory 1938 but can find no house of that name in Farm Hill. It sounds like it was named after the owner at one time -‘Roy’s den’, however there is no male name ‘Roy’ listed in 1938 and no ‘R’ initials either. There is a Ronald, but he is at ‘Iveron’ on the west side.

    By Geoffrey Mead (28/06/2018)
  • Hmm, I agree with Geoff Mead about Roysden, although there were 2 Roysden’s elsewhere in the town in 1939.  10 Farm Hill was, however, ‘The Den’ occupied by W MJ Roberts; could that be the house in question?

    By Geoff Robbins (29/06/2018)
  • Hi Maureen, Roysden was on the left side (starting from Warren Avenue), the 7th house after #17, with 3 others before #19 (there were 10 properties between #17 and #10). It derived its name from Roy Edwards, the occupant.

    By Andy Grant (01/07/2018)
  • Thanks Andy for your comment on Roysden. Why didn’t I work that one out! Roy Edwards was my Uncle!

    By Maureen (29/07/2019)
  • I’ve just stumbled across this fascinating thread. My parents, Ken & Sheila Bassett, lived at number 53 from the mid 50s to circa 1962 (by which time I’d arrived). From there we moved up to number 65 (downsizing), where my parents lived until the mid 80s. Shortly after we moved out of number 53, it was struck by lightning and I think the chimney came down into a bedroom. During the snows of 1963, a photo of my father’s Standard Vanguard was featured in the Argus, showing it driving past the racecourse.

    By Cliff Bassett (23/06/2020)
  • I remember the snow of 67 when I attended Woodingean Primary school we were sent home at lunch time and although I only lived in Vernon Avenue you could not make out the road from the pavement. My Brother had to walk home from Hove College and it took him 7 hours
    Just seen a comment from Liz Bolloten from Channel view road…you were my best friend until we left school along with Jane Baxter, Danuta Reynolds,& Joanna Jennings.

    By jane fines (09/12/2020)

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