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King Alfred Centre

King Alfred Centre
Photo by Tony Mould

Memories of my best friend

I am including the King Alfred because of my memories of my best friend Diane. We met when we both started at the Downs School in the early 1950s and remained friends until she died of cancer at the age of forty.

Learning to swim

She had moved from St Andrews Road near the school to Nevill Avenue in Hove when she was about ten years old, and I used to stay with her during the summer holidays. We both started going to swimming lessons and I can remember being terrified of jumping into the water. So my mother asked a couple of young girls to ‘teach me’. They held my hands and simply jumped in – from then on I knew no fear in the water.

Always had a milk shake

I eventually joined the Shiverers swimming club and I can remember my mother sewing the badge onto my plain black swimsuit, a proud moment. I remember also the café, which used to be at the front of the building to the right of the main entrance. I think it was run by Fortes. We always had a milkshake before going home.

Memories of Diane

I learnt to ride a bike with Diane in Hove Park and I went on many holidays with her family, including my first holiday abroad when I was about fourteen – camping in the South of France. I think of her often.



Comments about this page

  • As a small child at the end of the war, I remember visiting Fortes Cafe somewhere behind the King Alfred baths. It was before the wartime defenses were removed and I think it was about as close as you could get to the seafront then. The view out of the cafe was of barbed wire and concrete blocks, and you had to walk ’round the corner’ to get to it. I seem to remember an old lady sitting in the corner who I was told was Mrs Forte. We lived in Tudor close at the time. See my comment re Montpelier College.

    By Alan Pendlington (31/10/2012)

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