Hove Sea Front

Happy beach days in the 1950s

By Lee Pryor

Photo:Hove seafront showing King Alfred Centre 1945

Hove seafront showing King Alfred Centre 1945

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

My homemade costume

I lived in Goldstone Road in the early 1950s and learned to swim off the beach by the King Alfred Centre. In the summer my mother used to take me down to the beach and we would be there at 8.30 in the morning and stay all day sometimes until 6 or 7pm. We had very little money and she made my bathing costume out of some old curtains I seem to remember. It was a fantastic place to play.

Was this beach one of your favourites? If you can share your memories, please post a comment below

Strange suntan oil

When I was a little older I favoured the beaches either side of the Medina groyne. When the tide came in we used to imagine that the groyne, it used to have railings then, was the deck of a submarine. In those days at high tide the sea came right up to the wall on the eastern side and was about three or four feet deep. We could jump straight off the promenade into the water, and there would always be about a dozen of us playing around there. We always used to see the same crowd sunbathing down there and some of them were 'nut brown' and I remember they used something that smelled like liquid paraffin as a sun tan oil.

Still an emotional pull

When I was about seven or eight years old, I took up spear fishing and used to snorkel up and down just offshore with my spear-gun. The flat fish used to collect around the eastern sides of the ends of the wooden groynes at high tide and the water seemed so clear then. One day I found a ten bob note floating just above the shingle in about 8ft of water and couldn't believe my luck! Happy days, I still feel an emotional tug if I walk past the groyne today.

This page was added on 02/05/2015.
Comments about this page

Lee's story made me smile. I lived in Wordsworth street from the mid 1950s and all my childhood summers were spent on the beach with my parents, always with sandwiches and a flask of tea for them and squash for me. I can just imagine his swimming trunks made from curtains. I really wanted a cape like Supermans, and my mum made me one from red Paisley curtains! Not what I'd hoped for but I still had great fun running around the house holding the ends of the Cape out behind me. Great times.

By Martin Self (03/05/2015)

The beaches either side of the Medina groyne were also my favourites as a teenager in the mid to late 1960s!  I think that same crowd of 'nut brown' sun worshipers were still there at that time. Jumping off the groyne and prom at high tide, always brought a crowd of onlookers, but thinking back now was quite dangerous!

By Peter Groves (03/05/2015)

Clothes made from old curtains? Pull yourselves together guys. Curtains apart, the article and photo are very interesting. In front of the King Alfred, you can see the two sets of ramps leading to and from the underground area. The eastern side used to house a car wash, where I worked at weekends in the 1960s for 4 shillings an hour. This was better than the one in Wilbury Grove, which paid only 2s 9d!

By Alan Hobden (05/05/2015)

Thanks Alan, you have reminded me; and the western ramp led down towards the rear exit of the bowling alley and the golf-o-tron!

By Peter Groves (06/05/2015)

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