Memories of Bevendean

Photo:Bevendean c1960s

Bevendean c1960s

From the private collection of C.F.Davies

Childhood memories of the 1960s

By Vernon Page

During the 1960s I lived with my parents at 26 Bevendean Crescent. Higher Bevendean was a friendly, quite close-knit community in those days. Certainly we knew the neighbours on both sides of our house and not just next door, but for 10 possibly 12 houses either side! I can still rememember the names of most of the inhabitants of nos. 2 to 42 Bevendean Crescent and a number othe people living on the other side of the road.

Endless childhood adventures
My brother Barry and I would play on the green in Bevendean Crescent and also on the open countryside behind. The back of our house gave onto the backs of the houses of Widdicombe Way. Only a narrow alleyway separated the back gardens. Our friends Michael and Johnny would join us in endless adventures on the rough ground at the end of the alleyway, which was also where the community bonfire was held each year on Guy Fawkes night. This land had formerly been used as allotments, probably during the war, and there was a plentiful supply of corrugated iron remaining from compost clamps with which we built wonderful camps. The summer months were filled with building hideouts for our 'gang' and if you flipped the sheets quickly as you picked them up from the ground you would, perchance, see lizards and slow-worms.

Policemen in Morris Minors
These days you will only see the occasional patrolling police car but, believe it or not, in that era there remained a police box at the end of Bevendean Crescent, almost adjacent to Cheeseman's Greengrocer's shop - yes, there was a greengrocer, butcher, baker, shoe shop with cobbler, chemists, grocers, hairdressers and a newsagent/sweetshop! Policemen would arrive on motor bikes or in panda cars, a two-tone light blue and white car, usually a Ford Zephyr or a Morris Minor.

A reward for honesty
One gloriously sunny summer's day in 1962 my brother and I found a £1 note near to the police box. This may not sound like a noteworthy event - please excuse the pun - but such a sum was worth a great deal then. You should be aware that the average house then cost £2,900. It is roughly equivalent to £30 in 2007 money. We took the note home and showed it to my mother who insisted that we should return to where we found it forthwith and then ask each passing adult if they had lost it! This we did and, believe it or not, no one claimed it and it ended up being taken to the police box. Unsurprisingly, or may it does come as a revelation, six months later the police summoned my brother and I to the police box and told us that, as no one had reported the lost cash, we could have it. It was ours legally and just in time for Christmas. How we hopped and skipped on the way home that December day. As L. P. Hartley wrote: The past is a foreign country, things are done differently there.

This page was added on 23/09/2007.
Comments about this page

Can anyone identify the area of Bevendean shown in the photograph at the top of Vernon Page's 'Childhood memories? Our family home was also in Higher Bevendean from the late 1940s until the late 1970s, but I can't equate the photo to my knowledge of the area.

John Hayes

By John Hayes (05/02/2008)

The picture John Hayes refers to is Jevington Drive which was a self build scheme. Building started in the early 1960s. I remember it well as I was the paper boy there from 1961 to 1963.

By John Sharp (02/04/2008)

My Mother had six children. Alan, Chunky, Julie where born in Hornby Road. I remember the first day of School opening in the early 50s. We had to get our daily milk from the farm in a tin can that fed the family. Television was un heard of but I do remember us crowded round a screen to watch the Queen being crowned, also collecting our mugs from the school- I still have that blue mug. The estate was only half finished in the 50s so buses went only to the farm. Our house in Hornby Road was one of six built, the rest followed. Our high light of the week was going to Schofields, and Skinners Fish shop, and yes Hawes grocers. We all had goods on the tick in those days. Once the prefabs came down the self build bungolows came in Heathill Avenue, and only for a £1.00 deposit. I shall be organising another get together in the summer so please email me your contacts, brianralfe@aol.com, or 07710946342

By Brian Ralfe (14/02/2011)

I too remember all the shops: Schofields, Sharps the Chemist, there was a drapers too. I was born in 1955 in Norwich Drive & my brother & sister, Dave & Maureen Cole, attended the school. When my mum 1st moved in there were no houses on the other side of the road which was mainly a dirt track but I do remember waking up to cows standing on the doorstep! Such good times & you didn't have to lock your doors either as your neighbours were also your friends & everyone looked out for each other. Parties were had & neighbours about 20 houses away were always there & the parties would go into everyone else's house

By Angie Darkin (05/10/2011)

The photo above is indeed Jevington Drive, which is actually part of the 'Meadowview' area rather than Bevendean.

By Vernon Page (03/05/2015)

Jevington Drive was built in the 1960s. The Meadowview estate was not built until approximately 1994, therefore I think you'll find Jevington Drive is still linked to Bevendean.

By Brenda Rogers (11/09/2015)

Hi Brenda, the problem is that various websites link Meadowview and Jevington Drive to Bevendean: "Meadowview in Brighton is in the South East region of England. The postcode is within the Moulsecoomb and Bevendean ward/electoral division". (Streetcheck)
I remember the houses in Jevington Road being built as my home was in Bevendean Crescent and our back windows faced over the valley toward Jevington Drive.

By Vernon Page (31/05/2016)

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