Newsletter No.14

By Vic Lander

East Brighton Bygones Local History Society

"Newsletter" Issue No 14 August 2009


As you will see, we have tried something different with this issue, including photographs. I hope this is acceptable to you and would value your comments. I would also like your opinions on the Newsletter as a whole. Is it helpful? Does it contain sufficient information and are there any changes you would like to see?

News of members

As was announced in our last Newsletter, our President Fred Netley was presented with his richly earned and rightly awarded M.B.E. on 15th July. As you will know, Fred was not fit enough to go to the palace so the official ceremony was made locally in the Mayor's Parlour. The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, made the Presentation.

Fred's family and friends joined him in the celebration and many photographs were taken recording the prestigious event. Fred and his family have given their permission for us to copy these and they will be shown to you at a later date.

I am sure we all congratulate Fred on receiving the award for all the tireless effort over a great many years the Fred has devoted to the community that he loves. Fred with the Lord Lieutenant, Peter Field Fred, Betty and their children, plus the M.B.E.

Ivy Porter has had to spend a short period in hospital and is still feeling under the weather. I am sure you all join me in sending our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Betty and Bob Nutley have returned from their holiday in France and the editor is delighted to have his main 'gopher' back in operation. Unfortunately for the editor Bob and Betty are off again in September until October.

We have not seen Flora for some time. This is mainly due to problems with transport. Until recently our stalwart member Keith gave Flora a lift to and from the meetings but with the demise of his car, he is no longer able to assist. The meetings are very important Flora for being unable to get around they become the centre of her social contact. If any kind member could offer assistance it would be most gratefully received.

General news

We are in the process of obtaining a new telephone system for the office. We were paying a considerable sum of money for very little use. In the future we are going to use a mobile phone, which the Chairman will carry. This will prove to be a much cheaper option. The new contact number will be announced once it is issued.

The Valley Social Club, like all other businesses, is suffering from the recession. Several redundancies have taken place and they need more business. If anyone can promote the venue or arrange functions at the Valley it would be appreciated.

Recent activities

On 15th July we had our annual outing. This year's location was the Weald and Downland museum at Singleton near Chichester. Eighteen members attended and all agreed that the day was very interesting and most enjoyable.

The weather was kind and the scenery was stunning. Demonstrations were taking place in several of the old buildings including cooking in one particular kitchen. In addition, a tour of the Clamshell Building proved most informative.

Our speaker at the July meeting was Harry Gaston. His subject was the history of the Royal Sussex County Hospital. Harry was a mine of information and members all agreed that the talk was extremely interesting. One interesting fact we all learned was that the term 'scrubber' was not as derogatory as many thought but referred to a valuable member of the nursing team.

Nine members attended the July 'Char and Chat' afternoon. Everyone attending felt that the afternoons were a great success and gave them the opportunity for general socialising for which there is not sufficient time at our monthly meetings

Forthcoming events

When the new school term commences in September there will be an increase in the number of tours of the air-raid shelters at the school. We need a few more volunteers to act as guides, but there is a need for other assistance also.

Apparently, when a school is booked for a tour the numbers entering the shelters is limited to a manageable group. The rest of the party, whilst awaiting their tour, go to the school library for talks and dressing up in clothes of the period. The school would like to have people on hand who can relate first-hand accounts of their lives and advise on the clothes. Sheila Coverdale is going to act as the co-ordinator of these activities so any volunteers should give her their names.

Before the tours start we intend to Spring clean and re-organise the shelters and volunteers are needed to help with this task. Some of the work is sedentary and will not require a great deal of physical effort. Therefore, if you can spare some time, please contact Charlie Coverdale who will lead this effort.

The next 'Char and Chat' afternoon will be on 26th August.

Members' Stories

Light of our lives.

By Vic Lander

Recently whilst browsing through our information archive I came across a photograph of a lamppost. I cannot describe adequately the thrill and emotion this discovery produced in me. Why, you may ask, was I so thrilled to find a photo of a lamppost? The answer was simple it was my lamppost, or rather it was the one that stood outside the house that I lived in for twenty-six years of my life. Finding the photograph brought memories of my childhood in Whitehawk flooding back

We lived at 25 Fletching Road. This was in, what was locally referred to, as 'old Fletching' being south of Lintott Avenue. My lamppost was positioned on the grass verge at the roadside.

The memories of my lamppost really started in late 1944 when street lighting was re-introduced. My friend, who lived at number 27, Roger Bennett and myself, spent a day sitting at the base of the lamppost waiting for a magic moment to occur. What was this magic moment? It was the illumination of the light. We had both been born in 1940 after the introduction of blackout precautions and had therefore never seen street lighting before! We would not be deterred from our vigil; demanding that our meals be brought to us so that we would not miss this fantastic event.

Later in childhood the lamppost became the catalyst for childhood activities. We climbed it, swung from it, used it to secure skipping ropes to (or rather the girls and Mums did). It was our cricket wicket. It was one of our goalposts. It was the safe haven we had to reach in games such as tin can wobbly. It was also the unofficial open-air youth club for the local kids. On evenings when there was nothing to do you stayed around the lamppost and eventually you were joined by someone else and then someone else until there were a group of you. When sufficient of you had gathered it was decided what the evening's activities would be.

Perhaps we would organise a game of cowboys and Indians or even Robin Hood. Sometimes we played marbles or, if the season was appropriate, a conkers' match was arranged.. In those days the games we played went very much by seasons.

As we grew older and neared puberty our thoughts began to turn to love (or maybe it was lust!) Then the lamppost became the meeting place for romantic trysts and, with a bit of luck, a game of doctors and nurses!

My lamppost was, as I have said, one of the kerbside types. Up market from this was the type that stood in the centre of a grassed triangular island. Especially in 'old Whitehawk' at the junction of some of the different roads, a grass island was positioned in the centre if which was a lamppost. This gave the local kids more scope for larger gatherings and often meetings with groups from foreign parts such as Twineham Road, Piltdown Road, Nuthurst Road or even the long-distance travellers from Wiston Road. When this occurred the competition within the activities became more intense and sometimes ended in a fight.

Sadly the days of the lamppost as a social gathering place ended with the increase of car-ownership when it became more dangerous to play in the road.

Vic Lander

Subject and date of next meeting

The next monthly meeting will be held on 9th September 2009 at the Whitehawk Valley Social Centre in Whitehawk Way commencing at 2 p.m. The subject of the talk will be 'My Family History'. The speaker will be Rueben Lanham

And finally ...... Last night my wife and I were sitting in the living room. I told her I never wanted to live in vegetative state, dependant on a machine or fluids from a bottle to sustain my life. She got up unplugged the T.V. and threw out my bottle of wine. She's such a b**ch!!

This page was added on 15/08/2009.