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.
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.