Stapley Road, Hove

Photo:Mistakenly attributed in publication as Stapley Road, it is Olive Road

Mistakenly attributed in publication as Stapley Road, it is Olive Road

From the private collection of Peter Groves

Photo:Stapley Court 2008

Stapley Court 2008

Photo by Peter Groves

Photo:Stonework over portico, Stapley Road

Stonework over portico, Stapley Road

Photo by Peter Groves

Memories of 1930s medical care

By Peter Groves

In the early 1970's I worked with a chap who as a child was brought up in Stapley Road in the 1930's.  He was staunch labour supporter, and when I asked why he told me this story!

Illness in the family
In the early 1930s his family had just moved into Stapley Road.  His mother was suddenly taken very ill and confined to bed, so ill, she was unable to get out of bed.  Some days passed without improvement and eventually his father decided that they would have to call a doctor out to her.  The charge for the doctor to visit was 2 shillings (10p) but they didn't have the money.  His father sent him round to nearby neighbours to borrow a penny here and there.  Although they were new to the area, and most neighbours, like them struggled to make ends meet, he soon collected enough money.  The doctor was called, a diagnosis made and medicine sought.

NHS introduced in 1948
Years later, following WWII and being discharged from the navy.  He recalled that in 1948 the Labour administration and notably Aneurin Bevan introduced the NHS, with free health care for all!  He remembered his sick mother and the incident and humiliation of knocking on doors in Stapley Road to ask neighbours he barely knew for pennies.  It was then he said, I decided to join the Labour Party, and I've been a member ever since!

Drastic changes over time
This is a lovely story, and shows in terms of life span, just how drastically things can change.  It would have been impossible for that young lad to imagine, that within his life the houses in Stapley Road would be worth a quarter of a million pounds, especially as he knocked on doors asking for a penny!

Closely matched political parties
I don't know if he's still a member of the Labour Party, however it's pretty irrelevant with today's political parties so closely matched.  And actually the issue that set his path as a member of the Labour Party, the introduction of free health care, was one that both the major political parties at the time had schemes for, but the one adopted was that of the Labour administration (1945-51) under Clement Attlee.

Help with identification?
Looking at the 1946 bombing map of the area, it appears that three bombs fell near the Stapley Road and Old Shoreham Road junction, just south of Bellingham Crescent.  The photo shows the furthest house on the corner adjoining Old Shoreham Road.  I think I vaguely recall wasteland at the bottom of Stapley Road in the 1960s.  Was Stapley Court built on this land in the late 1960s or early 1970s?

Although the map shows that a bomb also fell towards the top end of Stapley Road, the map indicates that it was not near a corner or junction.  Additionally stonework of the porticos at the bottom end of Stapley Road match those in the photo, while the ones at the top end are a much simpler design.

Postscript

Peter Groves did further research on this subject and you can see it here

This page was added on 17/01/2008.
Comments about this page

My Mum and Dad moved into 26 Stapley Road the day before I was born in 1958. I was fourth in line and two more bubs were born in that house after me. We stayed there for sixteen years until my parents took me and my two younger sisters to Australia to live. I remember walking up to the park at the top of the road and going to the infant school where I loved my teacher Miss Carr. Many happy memories of climbing two large apple trees in the massive back yard.

By Olivia Mitchell (08/05/2008)

Olivia, I read your remember the park off of Stapley Road and my cousins who lived in Martin and Godwin Road. Also Christine Cree who lived at 6, Stapley Road. We not only went to the same school but share the same birthday. I remember that she had one older sister. I wonder if any one knows where the family moved to, as I was told that they had moved. If anyone knows please tell her that I was asking for her. The last time I saw her was in Woolworths with her mother.

By Cathy (11/06/2008)

My Nan & Grandad (Mr & Mrs Shirley: Flo & Charlie) lived at 92 Stapley Rd from the 30's till the 90's. Charlie was a dustman and died in 1985. He drank regularly in the May Tree and the Grenadier, as well as the Stadium on a Sunday lunchtime. I remember going to 92 for my lunch hour from the Knoll Boys School between 1972-77. I bought the house in 1989, and lived with my nan until her death in 1994. I went to the park and played in the sand pit as a kid, and visited the bowls club (uninvited), on several ocasions! Mrs Cosham lived at 90, and Mrs Simpson lived at 94 (or the other way round).

By Neil Thacker (29/07/2008)

My mum Joy Hodges, nee Knight, lived at 113 Stapley Road with her brother Alan and sister Vera, my grandmother Emily and my well-known grandfather John (Mossy) who I sadly never met! Any one remember them?
Neil - Are you Marion (Maff) Shirley's son?  My mum remembers your grandparents and it's possible your granddad drank with mine in the Grenadier!

By Tim Hodges (08/09/2008)

Hi Tim,
Yes, I am Marion (Maff) Shirley's son. Marion's still alive, well and living in Hangleton Way with my Dad, Alan Thacker, who is ageing rapidly. I know my Grandad Charlie drank with a lot of people in the Grenadier, so no doubt he did drink with your Grandad, Tim. I know the Maytree Pub was the favourite watering hole for my Grandad, too.
More to come.
Take Care.

By Neil Thacker (10/09/2008)

The photo referred to regarding the bombed houses is definitely Olive Road. My Mum and Uncle Alan (Knight) used to walk past this daily on their way to school and recall it to this day!

By Tim Hodges (15/09/2008)

Re. the bombing of Stapley Road. The photograph shown was taken from a small book 'Brighton & Hove under Fire' published by the Brighton & Hove Gazette in 1946. It states correctly that these houses were in Olive Road.
In fact they were numbers 21 to 15 on the east side from Old Shoreham Road. These houses had four windows on their frontage were as all the houses in Stapley Road had one window up and down. I lived at 113 Stapley Road from 1934 to 1958. Does anyone remember the big green with swings that occupied the site where houses were built in 1946-47. This was from the corner of Martin Road up to Godwin Road and along to what is now Knoll Close

By Alan Knight (25/09/2008)

Hi Alan, thanks for your comment about 'The Bombing of Stapley Road'. You are quite correct that the photo was taken from .Brighton & Hove Under Fire. published by the Brighton Gazette , and 1946 looks to be correct as the calendar for 1946 is printed on the back. However the caption under the photo states, Stapley Road, Hove - no double about that, I have the booklet here in front of me! It sounds like you know the area and the bombsites, perhaps the caption is incorrect, due to war censorship, and then a mistake! Perhaps I was misled by the caption, as I tried to compare the photo (houses on the corner, looking downhill) with Stapley Road, the only view that would fit was the bottom LH end of Stapley Road, where Stapley Court now stands. Additionally, as you will see from the Bombing Map, 3 bombs did fall on the bottom LH end of Stapley Road. These are all the reasons why I thought it must be bottom LH end of Stapley Road! I'll visit Olive Road to compare the view there. The Bombing Map does also show a cluster of 6 bombs landed on the top end of Olive Road!. I can assure you that the caption under the photo does say Stapley Road, however perhaps you are correct. Will report my findings after a visit to Olive Road!

By Peter Groves (27/09/2008)

Hello Peter. I can only assume there may have been two printings of this book as mine definitely states Olive Rd. Hove. The houses angled off on the right of the photo were Nos.13 & 11 Olive Rd. leading into Isabel Crescent. The houses at the bottom of Stapley Rd. met at right angles to the four terraced houses in Old Shoreham Rd. These were demolished for road widening and flats were built there. The only house bombed in Stapley Rd. was at No. 84 when the house was destroyed by a high explosive bomb which failed to detonate. An old lady named Mrs. Monro was killed. Every one in that area was evacuated including us until things were made safe. You are quite right about the bombing map and I'm thinking they may have been incendiary bombs as many were dropped in this area. Good luck with your trip to Olive Road!

By Alan Knight (28/09/2008)

Hi Alan, I've had my visit to Olive Road and found it very interesting. I'm just in the process of writing a short article about Olive Road, would you mind looking at it before it goes onto the site? Possibly you could check and or add to it! Let me know your email address or email me on:  pedro.groves@googlemail.com

By Peter Groves (08/10/2008)

Hello Peter, I have sent you an e-mail, but have constant trouble sending these. I think you have a good idea with Olive Road, and could contribute the same if needed. My e-mail is alan.j.knight@ntlworld.com

By Alan Knight (09/10/2008)

Hi Alan, I didn't receive your email, also I sent you one but no reply, perhaps your email is playing up? Call me on 01273 779114.

By Peter Groves (12/10/2008)

I remember my parents had a booklet with pictures of bomb damage in the area, my brother may still have it. I was born in the front bedroom of no. 101 and I remember some of the people who lived around us. Mrs Emsley lived at 99 with her son, the Tews and their 3 boys at 97, the Bridgers at 103, the family at 105 had a garage, most unusual then, the lady worked in the greengrocers in Hangleton Road, the Clares at 107, he had an invalid carriage and he mended shoes. I remember the Shirleys at 92, (and their Ford Anglia) and was there a lady called Audrey at 90 - was she Mrs Simpson? I remember the Coshams at 94 and the Coles at 102 who moved into our house when my mother died. I remember Mrs Doughty but can't quite place her. I went to Knoll Infants at the top of the road, and I remember the lovely Mrs Carr as well. I'm not sure that this is quite what you want, but it was good to have my memory jogged, and these recollections might jog someone else's. Catherine Webb (as I was then).

By Cathy Howard (26/01/2009)

Can I just join in the big bomb debate? I was born in the upstairs front bedroom of 92, Rowan Avenue in 1936 so lived through the WWII. I remember walking to school at the Knolll Infants one morning and when I reached the top of Olive Road the last three houses on the east side had been hit by bombs. I was told by bystanders that they may not have gone off. In the pavement outside the last house mentioned was a large hole with a tri-pod over it with a chain going down into it. There were people with tin hats on and one said a bomb had gone through the roof and out of the side wall and into the pavement without going off. As to the one at the bottom of Stapley Road, there were houses from the east junction with Old Shoreham Road along the north side as far as Olive Road. These were knocked down when the Old Shoreham Road was doubled in width. On the corner house were the Addisons, next to them were the Stewart family with their children Beryl and Derek. The last house was lived in by a family the Bisickers who had two boys. I have spelt the name only as it sounds. I don't remember any of these being bombed but the reported bomb near the top of Stapley may have been the one in Rowan Avenue that completely destroyed numbers 62 and 64. I always knew 62 as that of Mr and Mrs Pate with their two children John and Margaret and I mention it only as it is a very short distance east and next to Stapley Road and when shown as a dot on a map may look as though it was in Stapley Road.

By David Smart (08/03/2009)

Hi David, many thanks for your good memory and comments. Since I wrote this story more evdience has come to light, please look at my story on Olive Road, which your experience during WWII confirms. As you will see on that page (Olive Road) the map also tallies with your recollection. I've found the 1946 Brighton and Hove Bombing Map to be mostly accurate, you will see from both maps that it does appear that bombs fell at both the bottom of Stapley Road and top of Olive Road. Additionally if you visit the bottom of Stapley Road, mismatching brickwork also indicates bomb damage there. Regarding Rowan Avenue, neither of these (Stapley and Olive) two maps show the Rowan Ave bombs, but my original map does, a story (with your help) for later perhaps.

By Peter Groves (11/03/2009)

I lived at 84 Rowan Avenue from 1983-2008 and my neighbour at 86 lived there from when they were built in 1933. She was Mrs Boniface and her husband used to walk through the park and cemetery to get to the gas works where he worked. She used to tell me about the bombs at the lower end of the even side of Rowan Ave, but I can't remember the number. This area is in the parish of Aldrington, by the way, not Hangleton.

By Renia Simmonds nee Lambor (02/05/2009)

First of all may I just correct a small error in my contribution of 08.03.09. Being born in 1936 it was WW2 and not WW1 that I lived through - sorry folks. With ref to Mr and Mrs Boniface their children were my second cousins. The oldest was Derek then Alan, Ivan. and Gill. Derek went abroad to Canada I think and has made a few visits home but I have not seen him for many years. Gill is still working local at the Post Office at the Grenadier shopping parade but I think she lives at Albourne just over the Downs. My earliest memory of 84 Rowan Avenue was when it was occupied by two spinster sisters who at that time semed to be the oldest people in the world to us children. Next door was a very nice kind old gent named Mr Godard and at the end of that block in 78 I think, was a lady called Mrs Lone (spelt as it sounds) She was for ever shouting at us when we used to climb the trees at the back of her house on the west side of the railway cutting that led up to the Dyke. Next door to her downwards were the Dival family. Their son Michael was about my age and went to the County Grammer School in Homes Avenue. His dad was in the navy. Next down from them were the Popes. The son was Harry and his dad at one time sold fish from a small van. I recall Harry kept ferrets and at that time if you went to what is now the corner of Hangleton Lane at Towns Corner in Hangleton Way there was a bank that was just full of rabbits.

By David Smart (24/05/2009)

Hi Cathy,The person you are are talking about is my Mother; I'm her son John. Her older sister is called Marie. Sadly their parents are no longer with us. My Mum now lives in Worthing while Marie lives in Bedfont, Middlesex. I  hope this helps.

By John Cree (13/04/2010)

Does anyone remember Beryl Bibby, Winnie Cotes, Pam Odling,and their families in Stapely Road?

By Malcolm Citrone (13/09/2010)

Hello: I am moving to 56 Stapley Road and I was just wondering if anyone had any history either on this house or who used to live here. I am just curious and love reading up on history of Brighton. When I viewed this house the things that stuck out the most was that it still has the old 'larder' in the front room. It is such a wonderful feature and will never take it out or change it. I would love to hear on any information that anyone has please. Thanks in anticipation.

Editor's note: If you want to find out about the history of your house it would be a good idea to visit the Brighton History Centre, in the Brighton Museum. The staff there will help you find the information you are interested in.

By Sarah (13/12/2010)

I was born in 1949 at 104 Stapley Road. I have two sisters Marion and Doreen (Yeend) who went to Stapley Road school. I remember the Coshams, Mrs. Doughty and also the Picketts?

By Janet Pike (nee Brown) (17/06/2011)

My dear grandparents Jack and Rose Wood lived at 57 Stapley Road, for nearly 50 years until shortly before their deaths in 1985, my Father John and his brother Robert were brought up there. Their neighbours were Mr and Mrs Humphries at 59 and Mr and Mrs Elliott on the other side at 55. My grandad Jack worked for the Co-op as a milkman for over 30 years, on his retirement he had a number of part time jobs including at the Greyhound Stadium. My dad, John, worked at the CVA in Portland Road later Kerney and Trecker. If anybody has memories of them, my dad John and I will be pleased to hear them.

By Philip Wood (21/08/2011)

How lovely to read so many comments about Stapley Road. Firstly, Stapley Court was build mid-'70s. I remember it well; I lived at number 68 for many years, from the '70s until my mum moved early 2000. I have many fond memories: playing in Knoll park, going to Knoll. In fact, its weird seeing the houses there instead of the school; not the same, but I do go to Stapley now and again. I would love to knock on 68 and ask if I could have a look inside, but I think they would think I'm weird!

By Nicola Gunn (29/10/2012)

Hi everybody, I lived at No 2 Stapley from about 1964 until I left home a few years later, and prior to that we were at No 5 in one of the 'bombed' houses in the photos in question. Peter, I did discuss this with you a few years back but I 'drifted off' and forgot about it. The houses in the photo are definitely not numbers 1-7 Stapley. The block which was demolished to make way for Stapley Court was a block of four terraced houses as you can see from the numbering of 1-7. In the late '50s the Elliots were in 1 (children Fay and Clifford), the Coates in No 3 (children Derek and his brother), then our family (my brother Anthony and I), then the Taylor/Kind/Kensits in No7 with their twins Lenny and Susan - there were more later but their names escape me. The Cranes were on No 9, Beryl being Beryl Bibby as mentioned above. I can remember nearly everybody in the lower half of Stapley and often bump into the Chapmans or the Wrens or one of the Higgs girls. Mary King who moved in when the Addisons moved out, emigrated to Spain in the late '80s as did I. (I'm back but she isn't). The house on the Old Shoreham Road didn't quite go all the way to opposite the top of Olive. After the houses was a Waterboard building behind which was a small allotment tended by 'Uncle Tom' - no relation at all; this came up as far as our back fence and Mum used to give Tom cups of (stewed) tea and he would give us vegetables. The W/board place and Tom's garden went to make space for the Jewish Cemetery. What fun we had on that estate as kids. A car was so rare we could play in the street without danger. The twittens between the roads made the perfect setting for games of 'tracking' and we used chalk - nicked from anyone's front garden to leave signs on the pavement for our allies and to confuse the enemy. I remember once I hid so well that no-one could find me. I waited and waited and as it was getting dark I emerged from my niche to find everyone had gone home ages before. We played over in the cemetery - not irreverently - it was mostly empty on the half nearest to Stapley, or on the green in front of the Knoll. At the bottom of the cemetery where the Fire Station now is, there was a large nursery - Greenwoods (?), and in between the rear of Elm Drive and the cemetery perimeter was the long ditch we called 'the second railway'- the remains of the old railway to the Dyke and the very best place to find the biggest juicest blackberries I have ever seen. A sharp end was brought to our scavenging when someone said they had seen bones from a human foot/leg sticking out of the ground there. Almost certainly a ploy by a parent to keep us out of there. My Mum was the 'lollipop' lady at the crossing - to my huge embarrassment - in the mid '60s. Poor old Rosie Sole eh? Loads of memories, no more space.  A hug to all my old friends.

By Lesley Brett (Sheminant) (01/06/2014)

I lived at 16 Stapley Road with my parents Lucy and Leonard (known as Max), and my sister Susan from about 1954 until 1972. I have very fond memories of playing in the street with my neighbours (usually hopscotch) or playing football, cricket or tennis at the Knoll Park with my friends .... we occasionally played bowls too, if we spoke nicely to the Park-keeper! I can also remember some of my neighbours ...
At number 13 - the Higgs family
At number 14 - the Harwood family
At number 15 - the Rogers family
At number 16 - the Weller family
At number 18 - the Hawkes family
At number 20 - the Chapman family
At number 21 - the Wren family
At number 22 - the Soul/Sole? family
At number 25 - the Whelan family
At number 27 - the Sadler family
At number 94 - the Cosham family
At number 96 - the Penton family (my grandmother and Uncle Bert!)
Thank you

By Michael Weller (06/12/2014)

To Mike Weller: It's been a long time since we last saw each other Mike. I still have a copy of the photo taken at MB Metals Ltd when we finished our apprenticeships together. That was in January 1970! Do you still live in the Brighton & Hove area? It would be good to see you again. You can get in touch on ...alme.phillips@gmail.com... (making sure to leave out the three full stops at the beginning and end - they are only there to stop e-mail trawlers picking up my address). Best regards.

By Alan Phillips (09/12/2014)

The Shirleys lived at No 92, Stapley Road. 

By Neil Thacker (30/08/2015)

I am a newcomer to this site and I see that its peak of activity seems to have been 4 to 6 years ago. I have not contributed before now because I was concerned that general interest might have moved on from any recollections I might have. However, I think I can add something to the many earlier, excellent contributions - at least I hope so!
I lived in Wilfrid Road (No. 11) and then Old Shoreham Road (No. 319), throughout WW2 until 1962.  Wilfrid Road runs parallel with Stapley Road.  Re bombs which fell in this area:  as I recall, the distance between the bottom of Stapley Road and the top of Olive Road was about 3-400 yards at the time of WW2. On the same night the bomb fell severely damaging the houses at the top end of Olive Road, another bomb fell in Old Shoreham Road in front of the Water Company's building. The nearest house to the crater was occupied at the time by the Bisickers - see David Smart's post of 8/3/2009. This was about halfway between the south end of Stapley Road and the north end of Olive Road. In view of the short distance  between these two roads, my guess is that this bomb is the one recorded as having fallen at the bottom of Stapley Road.  I am certain that no bomb fell exactly at the bottom of Stapley Road, although the one I remember, fell only about 150-200 yards away from there.  The effects of this bomb which stick particularly in my mind are that there was a tall metal street lamp pole close to the bomb crater and there were quite a large number of shrapnel holes which appeared in the lower to middle section of this lamp post after the air raid. Also, there was a large bushy tree either in the Bisicker's front garden or at the side of O.S. Rd., between the crater and the Bisicker's house. This tree had all its leaves blown off by the bomb blast. The tree survived but every year after that very few leaves appeared on the side of the tree which had been nearest to the bomb blast. There was, however, a full bushy, display of leaves each year afterwards on the side furthest away from where the bomb had fallen. I think this tree saved the house and possibly the people inside from much more damage and potentially more serious consequences.  On the same night of the raid - I think - bombs fell at the edge of the Knoll Infants' School playground and in Hove Park and outside the Goldstone Ground.
I have gone on for too long now but if there is any interest, I can write a bit more about my early years on the Knoll estate.

By David Robertson (19/12/2015)

I lived at 104 Stapley Road in the 1940s with my sisters Marion and Janet. Does anyone remember the day the bakers horse and cart bolted and ran down the road into Old Shoreham Road and through the garden wall of a house opposite Stapley Road? I don't know if the horse survived but I do remember a very cross baker quizzing all of us children to find out what had spooked the horse. We all got a good telling off by our parents although none of us knew the reason the horse took off. We lived next door to the Doughtys and Mrs Cottenham. I went to the Knoll Infants and on my way to school had to take a bag of  old food to put in the bin in Wilfred Road for the pigs. The farmer used to come round and collect it in an old lorry to feed his pigs. I never told my mum but I used to eat some of it before I got there as rationing was still happening and we were always hungry. I am surprised I wasn't ill as it was often mouldy. I can't remember much else about my time in Stapley Road as I had moved by 1950. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else remembers the horse. 

By Doreen Young/nee Yeend (08/01/2016)

Doreen, I remember the horse, the cart and the baker. However, I don't remember the sad, runaway incident in Stapley Road. I lived in Wilfrid Road then and it seems, possibly, that news did not travel that far among us children.  I presume the baker you wrote about was the same one who delivered bread to us in Wilfrid Rd. close by.  I recall that this baker, his horse and cart were from the Co-op. bakery at the bottom corner of Olive Road where it meets Portland Road. If you ever walked past the bakery say, on your way to Portland Road Junior School, do you remember the lovely smell of bread baking? If you weren't hungry beforehand it certainly made me feel very peckish then.  I think the horse was a whiteish, light grey colour. It was built for its pulling power rather than speed. It was just a little bit like a shire horse although I didn't know that then. I remember its coat was long from its ankles to its hooves. The cart it had to pull was a heavy covered wagon - not the style seen in western films - but shaped a bit like an old-fashioned gypsy caravan but nowhere as fancy in its design.  The baker would stop to deliver bread to a group of houses and he then operated a large handbrake on one of the cart's wheels. He would then place large metal weights closely in front, and then behind, one of the cart's wheels to act as a back up for the hand operated brake.  The paving slabs on the pavements in Wilfrid Rd. then only covered about half of the distance between the kerb and the garden fences, perhaps Stapley Road pavements were similar.  The outer half of the "pavement" was a tatty mix of fine gravel, clumps of rough grass and weeds. When it had stopped the horse sometimes started to eat the grass and weeds on the "pavement". If there was a particularly tasty clump of grass just out the horse's reach it could, sometimes give a tug and move the cart and weights a small amount. 

I also remember the pig bins in Wilfrid Rd. They were placed by some of the lamp posts. Our nearest pig bin was outside number 6 Wilfrid Rd. This might have been the one you used if you walked up from Bellingham Crescent on your way to the Knoll Infants School.

I have a few other Knoll estate memories. As they don't relate particularly, to Stapley Rd. it will probably be better if I add them to the Hangleton and Knoll Project address.  However, that address doesn't seem to have been used as much as this one so I am hoping for the best! 

By David Robertson (10/01/2016)

My father lived in Stapley Road as a boy. His name is John Bibby (snr). My grandparents lived here too with their other kids, my late Auntie Sheila, and Aunt Beryl. My grandparents moved to Poynings Drive. My father is 89 now and lives with my mum in Sompting. Many of my cousins came from Stapley Road, but their names escape me, except for Nick who died decades ago from Hodgkin's lymphoma. I don't know what number in Stapley Road my father was raised in.

By John Bibby (17/11/2016)

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