Newsletter No.8

By Vic Lander

East Brighton Bygones Local History Society


Issue No 8 February 2009


Members will see a change to the newsletter this month. The development committee thought it would be a good idea to publish details of the monthly activities from our website. We have realised for some time that the website can only be used by those members who have access to a computer and are computer literate. By adding the web activities to the newsletter we feel we are bringing the web alive to more members.

We are naming the new section "Bygones on the Web" and this will appear as an appendix attached to the back of each issue.

Another suggestion that we are taking forward is to publish the newsletter onto the web so that the information is available worldwide.

News of members

Marion Brookes has been poorly and we hope she will be well enough to join us at our monthly meeting.

General news

Tricia, Keith and Vic have been busy attempting to tidy up our website, getting rid of a great deal of dross which was of little interest. Tricia and Vic were very relieved and delighted when Keith agreed to be the main editor for publishing items to our web. This will mean that our three colleagues can all edit items but the final publication will be by Keith.

Once the web is completely tidied we plan to use one of our meetings to show members what we have on the web and stored in our archive.

In our No 7 issue we reported on our forthcoming meeting with Dudley Button and the staff at Whitehawk Primary School. This meeting took place and the possibility of us becoming involved with the running of the visits to the old air-raid shelters was discussed.

There was agreement that we would become more involved with the project and the school welcomed this. We would provide guides for the tours and set out the displays before visits.

This new activity offers a great deal of potential to both the school and us and will further demonstrate our commitment to the local community.

Training sessions are planned to show how a tour is conducted and the location of artefacts that are stored. Our involvement with the project will require volunteers and a commitment to the success of the venture.

Recent activities

The speaker at the January meeting was our own chairman, Bob Cristofoli. Assisted by a Power Point presentation of photographs, Bob enthralled the members with the history of his family from their arrival in Britain from Italy to the present day.

Seven members attended the January "Char and Chat" afternoon. Once again all felt that the function was a success with much animated discussion on various subjects of interest.

External contacts

As reported above, our external contacts were with the staff of the Whitehawk Primary School. The air-raid shelter project comes under the umbrella of the Parent Teachers Association and, to enable us to liase with them, we are to be represented on their committee.

Forthcoming events

The next 'Char and Chat' get-together will be on 25 January commencing at 2.00 p.m.

Requests for information

Members will be able to see any contacts that have been made via our website in the new appendix "Bygones on the Web".

Through our e-mail address a person named Keith Blades has asked us whether we can furnish any information on his wife's relative, Charles Alfred Bone. If any member has any information please contact Keith, Trish or Vic.

Members' Stories

Memories came flooding back

By Vic Lander

As members will remember my brother John sadly died recently. I have been helping my sister-in-law sift through his belongings and put them into some sort of order. One of the items I was going through was a bag containing some artefacts, letters, diaries and other bits and pieces. Amongst these I found an item that many of us will remember, an old cardboard milk bottle top, the type with the press out hole in the middle.

As you may remember from my earlier ramblings, my dad was a milk roundsman for Percy Filkins at Ovingdean Grange Farm. One of his jobs was the bottling of the milk and putting the tops in place. I am told my dad was very adept at this operation and very rarely made a mistake. Like me, my brother was extremely fond of my dad, so it looks as if when he went into the R.A.F. in 1941 he took this memento of my dad and home with him.

For my part, I remember as a very small lad utilising those bottle tops in the making of pom-pom balls. You placed two bottle tops back to back and pressed out the centre section; you then wound wool round and round the tops and through the middle hole. When the hole was full you took some scissors and cut the wool between the two tops. You then tied wool or string around the gap in the tops and when this was secure you took the tops of leaving you with a pom-pom.

I also remember these bottle tops from the school milk bottles received by every child. The bottles were much smaller than the usual ones containing just one third of a pint. At milk time you took a bottle and a drinking straw, pressed out the middle section inserted the straw and sucked. Happy days!

Amongst the letters I found were two very poignant ones. One was from my mother to my brother written in 1942. In it she is looking forward to her 'big son's' first leave from the R.A.F. She also gives an up-date of the progress of her 'young son' (me) telling my brother that I keep asking where he is.

During this leave my brother apparently offered to look after me while my mother had a break to spend some time to go into central Brighton. John decided to take me out in my pushchair. On travelling on the bus back to Whitehawk Road my mother noticed a familiar looking pushchair and child outside of the Rock Inn in Rock Street. It was me! She immediately demanded that the bus driver stop the bus, she then got off and entered the pub to find my brother having a drink with friends. My dear old mum was one of a kind and absolutely great but she did have a temper and it was my brother on the receiving end after this adventure. I can imagine his embarrassment in front of his mates!

The second letter was from my dad to my brother written in 1944 just after my Grandmother had died. My dad tells my brother how much he is missing his mum and reports on a visit he made to her grave in Rottingdean cemetery. He tells John that he took 'little Vic' with him and how this has made me tired and how at the time of writing I have fallen asleep on the sofa. He also adds that I am a good little lad.

Happy memories!!

Subject and date of next meeting.

The next monthly meeting will be held on 11 March when Tricia will host an event we are calling, 'History Hurdles'. This will consist of setting up approximately five tables. Trish will dish out topics for discussion; the time given for each topic will be 15 minutes and then, rather like speed dating, some of us will leap from table to table ready for the next topic, on a different table with a different group of colleagues.

And finally

A motto to live by

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "Woo Hoo what a ride!!"

Have a happy one!


This page was added on 20/02/2009.