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Preston Park Rotunda

The Rotunda, Preston Park
Photo by Tony Mould

Moved from Shropshire

During the early 1950s, I lived with my parents, aunt, uncle and cousin, in a large house in Ditchling Road, on the corner of Semley Road. We were all Shropshire ‘born and bred’ but when my father left the Army in 1949, my uncle persuaded my parents to move down here to live. My uncle was an antique dealer and had apparently been buying antiques in Shropshire and bringing them down to Brighton to sell, and realised it was a very nice place to live.

Father’s favourite

Blakers Park was one of my playgrounds but my parent’s favourite was Preston Park. We enjoyed many picnics there and always walked around admiring the flower beds. My father’s particular favourite was the rose garden in front of the Rotunda café. It really was a riot of colour then, I remember each rose bush had a small metal plate in front of it with the name of the rose. Some of the roses had quite fantastic names.

A cup of tea and an ice-cream

Around the tennis courts were other masses of flowers and of course, there were the large square flower beds alongside the London Road. Each one had the name of another  town or city, they were all of different design and colour and were really spectacular – there was a real sense of competition there. It was exciting then to jump across the stepping stones, surrounded by water, and go into the Rotunda for a cup of tea for my parents and a large ice-cream for me.

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