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Stanford Road

Stanford Road and railway
Photo by Brian Dungate

Overlooking the railway

Most of the east side of Stanford Road overlooks the railway at its broadest point and there used to be a large marshalling yard there, with engines shunting trucks full of livestock, coal and other goods to and fro all day.

Virtually endless interest

For a child it provided virtually endless interest and, as my father was the school caretaker, I often had the best seat in town for the show. Farther away, the huge plume of black smoke from the Dust Destructor (as it was called) at Hollingdean showed the wind’s direction.

Variety of sounds

Though there was little road traffic, the variety of day-to-day sounds at that time was astonishing. There were planes during the war, air-raid sirens, factory sirens (Allen West 7:30am) and poultry; chickens and cockerels were kept between Exeter Street and Coventry Street. Radios were always to be heard; but of course only two stations, Home and Light.

Usual street sounds

I remember hearing pianos and wind-up gramophones being played, children singing and saying their tables in classes and playing in the playgrounds. Then there were the usual street sounds of the rag-and-bone men, knife-grinders and horse delivery carts. Horses might seem unlikely in the 1940s, but the dairyman, the baker and the coalman still used this mode of transport then.

Childhood injury

My earlier enthusiasm for looking out of windows was dampened somewhat by being injured by falling glass following an air-raid. When I was injured, my father carried me all the way to the Children’s Hospital in Dyke Road. The subsequent scar on my scalp is still visible.

Comments about this page

  • Stanford Road. My old school from 1954-1960! I always think this is a neglected area of the city (probably a good thing), off the beaten track but full of charm. I bought my first chess set from the second hand shop in Upper Hamilton Road, sold cheaply as a knight was missing replaced with a small block of wood. Perrys the bakers on the corner of Coventry St did fantastic iced buns, there was a ‘bun monitor’ who was allowed to go to the bakers each playtime for supplies. My brother Philip Mead went there in the war as he was born 1939 so probably Brian’s group or a tad younger. We lived in Dyke Road Drive, below the railway yards.

    By Geoffrey Mead (24/05/2010)
  • Wow….my comment relates to Geoffrey Mead’s comment. Guess what? I attended Stanford Road and I had a primary school “boyfriend”, Phillip Mead. I bumped into Phillip some years later at the Regent Dance Hall in the late 1950s. Phillip was on leave; we went to the pictures. That was the last I saw of Phillip. Now here is his brother on the Internet all these years later (surely there could only be one Phillip Mead born in my birth year 1939 ). Brighton and Hove are now distant memories because I live in Australia. I wonder will Geoffrey read this and pass it onto Phillip?

    By Ann McCluskie nee Avis (05/08/2010)
  • What memories the photo brings back. I would spend hours in the late 40s watching the trains, without any worries of being accosted. A highlight was watching a tank engine coming up the slope from the lower goods yard with about 36 loose coupled wagons on which it would then shunt, usually one at a time, with clang, clang as the loose coupled wagons compressed. Magic memories.  Incidentally, I was interested to see mention of Philip Mead as I was at Fawcett School (York Place) with him, and occasionally walked home with him. We are now both in our mid seventies. Is he still around? I now live in Essex.

    By John Boxell (26/01/2015)
  • Philip Mead is indeed my big brother! and is hale and very hearty and living in Hailsham. He had 22 years in the Royal Sussex and its successors, serving in the Aden and Ulster war hot-spots and the Sudan which was a very temperature hot spot! He ended up working at the University of Sussex almost in sight of my office! I will pass on this info to him.

    By Geoffrey Mead (31/01/2015)

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