Steine Street

Southdown Motor Services buses

By Martin Nimmo

No 5 Steine Street was the legal address displayed on all Southdown Motor Services buses and coaches from 1916 till they moved the headquarters to Freshfield Road in the 1960's. The offices were adjacent to the coach station, which was very busy during the summer. The main routes from there were the London and then the South Coast Express services. The site of both the old Head Office and the coach station are now covered by flats.

Photo:A Southdown Leyland coach about to leave for London, summer 1967

A Southdown Leyland coach about to leave for London, summer 1967

From the private collection of Martin Nimmo

Added to the site on 05-01-05
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I worked in the Southdown head office in Steine Street from 1957 till 1960, in the audit section. The head of that section was Mr Sellers, the chairman was Mr Turner and the head of my office was Norman Killick. Peter Rees (whose uncle was resident organist at the Domeand a similar age to me) was in the same office.
By Glenys Roberts (nee Dyson) (21/02/2006)
Does anyone have any information on Peter Hornblow or a mechanic named Clensy. This will go back a long way?
By John Wall (27/02/2006)
Has anybody got any photos or video footage they're willing to share of the last day of Stagecoach Lewes & Seaford on the 24th September 2005? I was the clippie on Southdown No. 347 on the 12. If Jim Still is reading this, I'm George Nunn's nephew, I took you down to the depot. Anyway, it was a great day (until 347 brokedown).
By 'Inspector Blakey' (23/04/2006)

I have many times gone to London as a kid on a Southdown coach from Steine Street. I also met relations from London at the same depot. Does anybody remember where the "halfway house" was where the coaches stopped so we could all stretch our legs? I think that it was somewhere in Crawley.

By Mick Peirson (17/11/2006)

The half-way stop on the London to Brighton run was just north of Crawley Town at a place known as County Oak, which is now an out of town retail outlet.

By Pete Brown (15/12/2006)

Can anyone tell me exactly where the Southdown coach station was in Steine Street? Was it where the flats at No. 3 are now, or opposite? I have vague recollections of the inside of the building. Any other information would be most welcome.

By Michael Walter (22/01/2007)

As far as I remember the coaches would go up St. James Street, take the second right which was Manchester Street, then turn right about halfway down Manchester Street directly into the coach station. The coaches would exit the station into Steine Street, and then into Marine Drive. Hope this helps. Best wishes.

By Mick Peirson (03/02/2007)

In my photograph you can see the entrance to the Coach Station behind the Southdown coach; that was in Manchester Street. Space was, to say the least, limited, with room for one or two coaches to load and for perhaps three more to be parked up on the left. All coaches left by Steine Street, which was (and still is!) narrow and rather unsuited to the 8' wide and 36' long monsters of the Sixties! There was a small coach garage in Manchester Street, which held about four more vehicles, and then there was usually a traffic jam in St James's Street resulting from all the express services arriving at once! Not only was there a London service, but the "South Coast Express" which linked Eastbourne, Brighton and, ultimately, Bournemouth, plus seasonal express services run by other companies in the BET group (to which Southdown belonged) such as East Kent, Maidstone and District and Aldershot and District. The main coach garage was in Kemp Town at Park Street, a mecca for bus and coach spotters at weekends when many excursion coaches were stationed there during the day.

By Martin Nimmo (06/03/2007)

To John Wall: You asked about Peter Hornblow. Well, my father, Frank Price, worked for Southdown in the 1940s/50s - first in Brighton, then Bognor, then Portsmouth. Then in 1958 we moved to Zimbabwe (or Southern Rhodesia as it was then!) where Dad worked at Salisbury United bus company (don't know what that's called now?!). I remember Mr Hornblow coming out a few years later with his family (I think he was the Engineer?). As well as working for Salisbury United, he also ended up with a chinchilla farm. I was pretty young at the time so don't remember the why's or wherefore's, but do remember the chinchillas! In 1963 we moved to Johannesburg and I am almost certain that the Hornblows went to Perth, Australia. Don't know what happened after that, I'm afraid.

By Anne Morrison (nee Price) (27/04/2007)

Thank you Martin Nimmo for your information. Do you or anyone else, have photographs of any Southdown premises in Kemp Town. I am particularly interested in Steine Street,  Manchester Street; either interior or exterior shots.

By Michael Walter (22/07/2007)

Re the Southdown coach station at CountyOak (Crawley). Has anyone any photos or other info about its opening and closing dates please?
I have some background and history to pass on about the County Oak Southdown coach station, their exclusive refreshment stop north of Crawley, on the London to Brighton express route. I lived close by as a child, during the war for a time and later in the 1950s to 1970s. tonee12@talk21.com

By Tony Scutt (26/08/2007)

I remember catching the coach to Maidstone from here on Sundays in the 1950s. My late father was in Preston Hall Sanitorium, and we used to go  visit him there. The driver always stopped at a fruit stall in Paddock Wood, where we could buy fresh fruit to take to my dad. Does anyone know the model of the coach used? I have just started collecting bus & coach memoribillia and would welcome any information. Please contact me at nico123@btinternet.com  Many Thanks.

By Nola Wilson (24/12/2007)

Does anyone remember the coachworks in Victoria Road, Portslade?  I worked there in the bodyshop from 1954 to 1956 and then from 1958 to about 1960.

By Brian Gage (28/01/2008)

I remember travelling from Brighton to London, firstly on the Tiger PS1/ECW's, usually 1243, then PSU Royal Tigers / Leyland bodies.  The worst trip I had was on one of the new Rootes TS3 / Beadles which was very noisy, and had none of the smoothness of the Royal Tigers. But my all time favourites were the PS1's. Magic! We used to alight at Brixton, and then get a tram to Kennington. Usually an E/1. Brilliant!

By John Boxell (24/07/2008)

There was a pub in Steine Street known as the King's Head. Its landlord in the 1920s was Henry Caleb Hiller who was the foster father of my wife's mother. I have a lot of information on Henry Caleb Hiller and his wife Edith Sarah Drew who was sister of Edmund Jury Drew who was successively landlord of the Russell Arms and the Hare & Hounds.

By Dudley Procter (04/09/2008)

Hi Brian, yes I remember the Southdown "central" Works in Victoria Street Portslade, although I only visited there once, durring an open day in the 1970s; I worked for a food suppliers firm in Lancing for many years and used to pass by at least twice a week. I am now a bus driver for Stagecoach locally and have an interest in the old Southdown company, and collect old photos of such. I am trying to find photos of the 3 Land Rovers that were owned by Southdown (which I believe spent most of thier time at Potslade Works) can anyone help with this?

By Martin Brown (01/02/2009)

The pub in Steine Street was the Queen's Head not King's Head and is now called Three and Ten. If anyone knows why I'd love to hear from them.

By Alan J Piatt (15/02/2009)
My Dad, Gwylim Allsopp, worked for Southdown from the early 1950s until his early retirement around 1982. He was a driver, spent several years as a driver/courier on Southdown's truly magnificent luxury tours, and then became an Inspector. He was based in Pool Valley. Southdown was very much a part of my growing up. Many of Mum and Dad's closest friends were also Southdown employees, some of whom Dad knew from when he served in the Royal Marines in WWII. The buses were clearly a cut above the others (BH&D) and the territory that Southdown commanded was truly an awesome thing to behold and contemplate as a young boy. It was such a pity when the uniqueness of Southdown with its apple green and cream livery was absorbed into an anonymous and completely mismanaged nationalised organisation in the late 1960s. Sadly Southdown's absorption into the greyness of nationalisation heralded one of the grimmest decades I can ever remember.
By Phil Allsopp (11/07/2009)

My dad Bill Ward worked at Victoria Road works for 40 years. He retired in the 60s and sadly passed away 1977. His best mates were Sid Kingscott and Jim Brown. He also drove the coaches off the sea front at weekends and he always put his tips in his driver's cap for me to count up. I remember good christmas parties. Does anyone remember my lovely dad?

By Brian Gage (16/08/2009)

I remember Bill Ward - he was quite a big man as far as I can remember and worked in the bodyshop as a gang leader. I was also in the bodyshop. We used to rebuild the bodies from the chassis up (good times) until the advent of plastic filler and fibreglass came along! I think Bill also drove the works' bus which picked us up in the mornings and took us home at night. I was actually in Sid Kingscott's gang as a young lad so I remember him as well.

By Brian Gage (21/08/2009)

The Southdown halfway house (cafe) in Crawley was located in Betts Way, Manor Royal, Crawley just off the roundabout in London Road (on the west side of London Road). Betts Way was built after the halfway house was demolished.

By Paul Dunnell (13/11/2009)

I worked with Gwylim Allsopp for years. I was a driver on Southdown. We used to call him Bill. He was one of the nicest men you could meet. He was always cheerful. I worked on there until I took early retirement in 1981.

By Joe Spring (20/06/2010)

My family used to own East Grinstead Motor Coaches and Sargents of East Grinstead. In 1937 we sold some of the routes to Southdown, I am looking for a copy of the 1937 agreement between Southdown and East Grinstead Motor which resulted in Fred Sargent going to work for Southdown from 1937 to the end of the war. If anyone has any information on this agreement or any other agreements between Southdown and East Grinstead Motor Coaches / Sargents of East Grinstead please email me on home2968@yahoo.co.uk

By Paul Sargent (16/07/2010)

I also worked with Bill Allsopp, I believe he was an inspector then, and I remember Joe Spring at Edward St depot, where I worked till about 1986. I moved to Newcastle in 1993 and worked for Go North East till 2007, when I had a stroke and had to give up driving.

By Peter Bradick (17/10/2010)

Hi Joe, I worked at Edward St depot from 1970 till 1986 and I remember Bill Allsopp, a true gent.I remember you were in the special group. I have so many memories of Edward St, the dog tray next to the garage, Jack Wheeler would know where the spare drivers would be. Would love to get in touch with you Joe, as so much to reminisce. My e-mail address is peter_pb2801@hotmail.com

By Peter Bradick (17/10/2010)

I worked for Southdown Motor Services when I left School at sixteen as a trainee in the architects in offices above the Manchester street coach station. I remember hearing the coaches pulling in to the coach station, the entrance was right under our office. I remember an incident one weekend where the floor of the coach station gave way when a coach pulled in to Manchester street, the investigation after found there were huge basement voids below the floor of the coach station that had collapsed. We moved in 1980 to a new building at the bottom of Freshfied Road, which later became a telephone exchange, ah happy days. Does anyone remember the miniature Southdown coaches that use to run round a track at Peter Pan's playground on the sea front?

By Robin Berry (08/01/2011)

Does anyone remember George Owen Holloway? He was a bus conductor at the Whitehawk garage. He clocked up 47 yrs there. His nick name was Titch. Those days you normally stayed on one route. The current 1 route, my wife thinks it was the number 3 then. He was my grandad. He died in 1979 which was a very sad time, as he was a wonderful man who had loads of stories to tell. Working on the Buses seems to be in the family as I worked for Southdown for 5 yrs in the 60s, and worked out of Edward Street garage, Charlie Trott was the manager then, and my son Simon has now been on B&HB for 7yrs, at Whitehawk and now at Newhaven.

By David M Hicks (03/02/2011)

Help please, I worked for Southdown in the 1960s, and was based at Edward Street. Does anyone remember a chap called Charlie Trott, he was the garage manager. Always wore a long coat with a trilby hat, also there was a fitter who looked like the Incredible Hulk. As you went in the gararge on the left was the bus schedules on the walls and a partition in the middle. When we had chance we used the snooker tables in Manchester street. My bus routes were mostly out in the country with the occasional 49s, 110,13, 22 to Steyning. 18 Hawkhurst, Tonbridge Wells bus no? We use to swap buses with Maidstone & District in those days. I loved the A.E.C buses they used. The old Guy buses with the five cylinder Gardner engines were somethig else. The old Queen Mary's. Single deckers Leyland Leapards, the Cubs and the old commer two stroke were great, mostly the sound. I'm not sure but I think Eastbourne routes were 112. Many happy times were had, great bunch of lads. My son works @ B&H in Newhaven dept on the coast routes. Cheers David M Hicks.

By David M Hicks (03/02/2011)

Hi David, I was a driver at Edward St from 1970 until 1985. I remember Charlie Trott. Do you remember Charlie Virgo, Bubbles Funnel, Ernie Archer all in despatch? I remember Manchester St with all the coach seats round the snooker tables. Do you remember the Queen Mary with the wrap around windscreen? I think the fleet no was 315. It was a good job, as you say a great bunch of lads, it was the 12 to Eastbourne,12a to Peacehaven annexe and the 12B and C to Seaford. Cheers, Peter Bradick.

By Peter Bradick (05/03/2011)

Hi Peter, Just seen your reply today, its really great you worked at Edward Street as well for Southdown. I do remember Ernie Archer & Bubbles Funnell, Charlie sounds familiar too. I don't really remember the Queen Mary with the wrap-around screen. I do remember some of the Queen Marys were fitted with air / pre-select gearboxes, they were terrible on steep hills (like the clutch was slipping). My one great memory I have was driving the first Maidstone & District Daimler fleetline D/D fitted with the Gardner 6LXB engine into Pool Valley. You should have seen the other Bus drivers' faces (the bus was brand new as well). Lots of great times were had.

By David M Hicks (15/03/2011)

My Dad, Leonard Stafford, worked for Southdown for about 40 years, he was a driver, worked in the garages and when much older on the ticket machines at Portslade. He worked in Manchester street and Freshfield. There used to be a club room in Manchester Street oppposite the main garage entrance and Dad took me in there and I had a few goes on the billiard table they had in there. I also remember he had a friend called Reg Avery who worked at Freshfield depot and the name Kingscott mentioned earlier- I seem to recall him. Dad passed away in 1982 aged approx 72 so would have been at Southdown from the 30s up to about 1972, having left slightly early due to ill health. What lovely coaches and buses they were.

By Keith Stafford (25/03/2011)

Hi Peter Bradick, God - a name from the past! I remember you from Edward Street and Moulsecoomb days. You must remember Boo Boo, Eddie Calvert, and Bill Allsopp. How about Roger (rent-a-tent) MacMullan?

By Graham Maskell (05/06/2011)

Hi Graham, yeah it was a long time ago! I remember all the inspectors you mentioned. Do you remember Denis Crowe, Jimmy Brown and 'Fearless' Frank Swaysland? So how are you keeping Graham? I moved to Newcastle in 1993 and worked for 'Go Ahead' as a driver. Had a slight stroke in 2007 and lost my pcv license. Nice to hear from you, my e-mail address is peter.bradick@live.co.uk. There are so many more characters - Eddie Shrub, John Wild....hope to hear from you

By Peter Bradick (07/06/2011)

My Father, Len Morris, now sadly gone, worked for many years at the Victoria road garage. Its difficult for me to remember dates, but it was well over 50 years ago. He drove a bus for many years and eventually worked in the shopbuilding and maint section. Remember so well the Christmas parties, which ended usually with a tour around the garage. What a treat for a 10 year old. Remember so well the minature coaches that went up and down Brighton seafront. I wonder what happened to them. My Father did have the honour to occasionally drive the coach for the Brighton Tigers Ice Hockey Team. When the team finished, I became the proud owner of the tiger emblem, that was put on the front of the coach when the team was driven around. Had the emblem for many years. A wonderfull tigers head in many colours. Sadly, as the years went by, I lost it, or it was swapped for something boy-ish. It would have been very collectable now. Strange how you remember some things and not others. Remember his red and black drivers badge, (KK and some numbers) and also the day he came home from work and announced, that bus drivers will eventually have to take the bus fares as well. How times have changed.

By John Morris (17/06/2011)

I worked for Southdown from 1969 til 1991 at Eastbourne depot so regularly visited Pool Valley on the 12 later 712 road and also the 25 road, also on South Coast Express and London services. I well remember a few of the names mentioned particularly Bill Allsopp, Jimmy Brown and Denis Crowe who always dressed immaculately even when the rest of us were sweaty and/or wet through. Talking of looking smart does anyone remember at the start of the NBC era when the crew room was downstairs in Pool Valley a glass case was put up with a dummy dressed in full NBC uniform inside upon which somebody ingeniously stuck notice saying SPARE DRIVER, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS. Absolutely brilliant,ah Happy days.

By David Lennard (22/11/2011)

I am trying to find anyone who knew my beloved uncle, Lionel Coleman. I think he joined Southdown as a conductor in 1963, and stayed doing a job he loved until they changed to one man operation in the 80s. He carried on working for Southdown counting the money until 1990. I spent all my holidays as a kid going to see him. I would by a £1 day rider ticket and come up on the 700 from Portsmouth to Brighton on Bristol vr's which I love, sometimes they would use Atlanteans which was exciting. I would then change at Poole Valley and go to Old Steine to get the 37 to Southwick and get off at Overhill. I would wait at my grandparents' house watching the number 37 going up and down, which later changed to the 25a, I loved Southdown buses, and then I would go to work and ride the buses all day with him. I loved going up on the Downs and sitting on the grass looking down at Mile Oak watching the NBC buses going round on a summers day. Great days, great childhood. Wish Southdown NBC green buses were still here. If they were I would stop being a lorry driver and be a Southdown driver. So if anyone remembers my uncle, Lionel Coleman, please contact me and if anyone has any pictures of him at work even better. Thank you.

By Stephen Bennett (08/02/2012)

John Wild lining the buses up in fleet number order up Mouslecoomb Way and his Wolsley.

By T (07/03/2012)

My dad, John Friend, worked at Portslade for many years until it closed down, as a chassis fitter. Remember the Christmas parties well - Dad took all the photos of the families each year. Few years ago went to a friends house and she had one of Dad's photos on her wall taken at a Christmas party! I remember the summer outings as well to Chessington (when it was just a zoo) and later to London Zoo.

By Gill Friend (20/03/2012)

Does anybody who worked at Edward Street depot remember the old breakdown tender parked in the corner? I bought it from an estate agent in Guildford who was a classic bus dealer. It was towed because of a seized engine to Milford by 0182 (the Hilsea breakdown tender) and left in a pub car park. Mays Motors at Elstead overhauled the engine but the bill was too big to pay so I got it without an engine. It was fully restored and taken back to the garage much to the delight of Basil the fitter who had looked after it for years and called it Betsy? I owned Leisurelink in later years and ended up as an inspector at Conway Street on the rapid response car and saw Basil at Whitehawk.

By Clifford Jones (04/07/2012)

Hi Stephen, I worked at Edward St. depot as a driver from 1970 until 1986.I remember Lionel very well.and we often worked together, until I went as a driver on the one man buses (omo). I remember Lionel working in the cashiers in Pool Valley,we often worked on the dog buses, (Woodingdean to the track at Hove, always having a free pie and pint. This was before the breathaliser lol.You're right about southdown Buses, they had character and a pleasure to drive. I now live in Newcastle, but please feel free to contact me at peter.bradick@live.co.uk. Bye for now.

By Peter Bradick (07/07/2012)

Hi anybody in Southdown land. I worked as a conductor in the mid to late 70s from Pool Valley -  I hope there are some of you with tales to tell. I would love to meet up and look back.

By Fred Jelley (03/08/2013)

I hope I can find any conductors who worked on Southdown in mid 70s to late 70s, or drivers from Pool Valley Brighton. Please can you contact me on fredj61@live.co.uk   Thanks

By Conductor Fred Jelley (12/08/2013)

Hi all. I was a driver on Southdown. Firstly at Moulsecoomb, then Edward Street. From 1970 to 78. I remember most of those names mentioned above and all of the buses. We were all very young then, most of us around 23-25. They were certainly great times, had some good laughs. Larry Holloway, Mick Clifford, Terry Matthews, Paul Archer, Hovis Brown, Dave Westgate, Bootsy, Micky Webb, Ziggy, and many others were all great guys to work with. The first four on the list and myself meet up on occasion for a night out, usually a very good night out too!                  

Barry Plank. KK 53159 (you never forget!)   redvilleplank@ntlworld.com

By Barry Plank (25/11/2013)

1970. As a young lad fresh from school, I started my apprenticeship at Portslade works. After 4 years moved. Under the watchful eye of Colin Cornford, I worked in the unit overhaul shop with Spud Taylor, George Tavenor, Vic Horn, Vic Coomber and many others; best years of my working career. Technical Assistant to garage Foreman, Worthing and Edward Street. Closing the door finally on the closure of Edward Street. 43 years and still working in the industry.

By Derek Beck (09/12/2013)

Hi to all you lovely ex southdowners and a happy new year. I worked at Victoria Road for twentyfive years and I remember some of the people very well; John friend (Popie) to his friends even after he had the eye fixed was a good friend and he and myself ran the sports club for about ten years. He always won the walking race you just couldn't keep up with him, the family must have trophies coming out of every corner. Sadly not many of us left.   Chris.

By Chris White (05/01/2014)

I worked for Southdown from January 1964 for 4 years. Initially I worked as an accounts clerk for £7.0s.0d p.w. (I still have my employment letter) at the offices in Freshfield Road. I was employed in the Tours office dealing with the sales side of the coach tours. When the company decided to computerise I was promoted to the Computer Operator (having failed the aptitude test to be a programmer!) and fell in love with IT in its early form. I left in 1968 to join American Express where I spent a very enjoyable 5 years programming computers in the U.K. and Switzerland.

By Rod Tempest (07/01/2014)

My aunt took me on a Southdown coach to London in the late 40s and I remember stopping for tea near Crawley. After I left school I went to work on the railways for a few years and then in 1962 went to work for the Southdown as a conductor at Lewes even though I lived in Brighton. My first run was on the 119 to Tunbridge Wells and then all the way to Pool Valley. Soon after I went to Conway Street  then Haywards Heath before going to the United Counties in Northampton where I got my PSV to drive buses. Towards the end of the 60s I returned to Brighton where I was based at Edward Street ( Charlie Trott took my test ) and then went to Haywards Heath again. In 1970 I started working for the Royal Blue Express Coach Company and was based in Portsmouth. Our routes took us to the west country or the midlands but twice I crept in to Manchester Street on service.  It was always a Christmas time and our company finished us where we would spend the holiday period. For me it was Brighton and the first time I parked up in Freshfield Road but the next year after filling up there I parked in a street just off Dyke Road in readiness for an early empty run on the boxing day to London to do a service to Plymouth. After Portsmouth I had a short spell with Black & White at Cheltenham and then back with the Royal Blue in Victoria. After a while  I was made up to an Inspector and later we were all taken over by National Express which was about 1980/81. I worked for the South West area and the Southdown came under the South East which had their office next to ours. In 2005 I was seconded to Pool Valley as the National Express supervisor there and retired in 2009. Brighton & Hove Bus Company had kindly given me a desk in their One Stop Travel office for my comfort.

My first day in the bus industry brought me in to Pool Valley as a conductor and 47 years later I ended my days in the industry also in Pool Valley. I remember a lot of the names mentioned in other memories printed above and it's great to be able to comment on events of those days. As an after thought does any one remember the skills used to park the buses over night in Edward Street and the "Hole in the Wall " to the side of Freshfield Road ?

By Jim Stapleton (28/01/2014)

Hi to all ex-employee of Portslade Works. I started in August 1961 as an apprentice and left in February 1986. I enjoyed the friendship at work and at sport. It seems so distant that buses use to be overhauled completely. Sadly many of those colleagues are no longer around, but I still have contact at Christmas and when I'm out and about. I would like to sign off by saying a big hello to Gill Friend, I remembered your dad John. We both worked on on the pits with a number of others, Chris White and Derek Beck. Best wishes to all. Gordon.

By Gordon Burtenshaw (14/03/2014)

My grandparents ran a pub just up from the Southdown garage in Steine Street called "The Aquarium Inn" and as a child, myself and my siblings spent many happy summer holidays there and well remember the coaches coming out from the garage. I and my younger brother would have to get the crusty rolls for the pub in the mornings from a bakers in St James Street and the quickest way was through the garage, now the smell of diesel fumes always remind me of those days in the early 1960s.

By Simon Northfield (02/05/2014)

Hi Gill. I remember your dad well, in fact he took our wedding photos back in 1962. I was working in the body shop at the time.

By Brian Gage (07/06/2014)

Yes I also remember the Southdown coaches. From our home in Walthamstow we would cross London then the family would board the coach at Victoria Coach Station, and it seemed to take most of the day to arrive at Brighton! I also remember the 'Halfway House', where everyone would pile out and queue for the loo, then dash to the cafeteria for a cuppa and a cake or sandwich, gulping it down then rushing back to the coach for the remainder of the journey. We eventually arrived at Brighton coach station, and walked with our luggage to the bus stop at Old Steine to get the 5B to Patcham to visit Gran and Aunt. It seems incredible that it took so long to travel back then, while today it's just over an hour from London on the M23, provided of course that there are no road closures!  

By Penny Newton (08/09/2014)

Hi Simon Northfield. Just acquired the sign from outside the pub - The Aquarium. Would be very interested in any original photos you may have.

By Tim Hopper (08/10/2014)

I worked as a Coachbuilder in the Central Works bodyshop during the 1980s.

By Steve Moreton (25/01/2015)

My husband worked from London for 10 years, his father worked for 40 years. Working express services until he retired.

By Rodney Streeter (02/02/2015)

I have been a follower of Southdown since 1955 and now in retirement I would like to remember a few who have helped me considerably over the years to the point when I started Leisurelink my own bus company in Newhaven. My first vehicle was a PD3 demountable open topper (422) which I owe gratitude to Richard Alexander for bringing it back from being cannibalised to Southdown colours with my fleet name in the same style as Southdown. My requests at Portslade Works were always dealt with by Tony Hepworth and Bob Mustchin who looked after me after school until he became District Engineer and arranged with John Piper the sale to me of HCD 449 one of the left luggage cars at Bognor. Bob Gray old friend from Provincial has now restored it to original condition as a coach (1249). I was truly grateful when 0825 appeared at Dorking, towing it to a factory where I worked to be stored. Then there's the day I got married at Petworth and they sent the TD1 from Hilsea to take me home with my wife to Plaistow (in Sussex!). The company has to be one of the best and many of us have so many memories. Finally I learnt from an employee at Portslade that the last roll of Hawksworth moquette had been laid in the canteen as a carpet.  Does anybody remember that as it came up the next day to be replaced by a carpet I bought in exchange? Does anybody remember Tony Hepworth and the foremen in the engine department as I went to Winkleigh museum with him and the manager of Hilsea to buy a replacement head for the TD1?

By Clifford Jones (27/05/2015)

Does anybody remember my uncle, Sid Cornford? He was an inspector for many years. He worked in Pool Valley.

By Jill Smith (28/05/2015)

Does anyone have any photographs or details about Southdown Motor Services in East Grinstead or Chelwood Gate other than timetables?  Very interested in the garages and enquiry office in EG High Street. Thanks

By Tim Baker (16/06/2015)

Tim- East Grinstead is a bit out of the 'My B&H' remit! but do contact East Grinstead Museum; they have an active local history group that I spoken to on several occasions and there must be someone amongst them who can help you with your enquiries.

By Geoffrey Mead (17/06/2015)

Does anybody remember the riot in Whitehawk in 2000/2001?  I was an inspector then on Brighton & Hove working out of Conway street in a rapid Response Unit after I closed down Leisurelink.  I was called there and arrived at the stand off with police and local residents who hammered the car when we went through the crowd.  I went down to Whitehawk and stopped the buses from going up the hill and turned the Service 1's around at the depot.  Later I closed the depot and had 70 police officers and their cars in the building.  I phoned Paul Williams the Operations Director at home and asked him what he wanted me to do.  He said you are on the spot I'll back any decision you make.  Later I got a letter of commendation from the Chief of Police.

By Clifford Jones (19/08/2015)

Paul Sergent asked about the agreement between East Grinstead and Southdown. The books of SMS agreements are held at the East Sussex Archive, at The Keep (close by Sussex University). In book 5 are "p.S4 Agreement etc. as to sale of business of an express carriage service East Grinstead - Lewes - Brighton, of East Grinstead Motor Coaches, H J Sargent to SMS, 3 Jun and 3 Aug 1933";  "p.S15 Letters between SMS and East Grinstead Motor Services as to private hire charges, 1934"; "p.S20 Agreement etc. as to sale of business of Stage carriage service East Grinstead - West Hoathly - Sharpthorne [of East Grinstead Motor Coaches], H J Sargent to SMS, 2 Jul and 16 Jul 1937"; "p.S33 Agreement etc. as to sale of business at East Grinstead (specified routes excepted), H J Sargent to SMS, 22 Feb and 26 Apr 1938." The document reference to order the book if you visit the record office (you would need a reader's ticket) is SMS/1/24/5.

By Peter Deaney (29/10/2015)

Does anyone remember my dad George Izzard? He was an upholsterer at Southdown works, Victoria Road, Portslade, until his death in 1974.

By Susan Israiel (23/02/2016)

I started at the Portslade works in 1943 in the body shop. Interesting years during the war. I was in the rifle team, we were very successful after the war. Johny Vine was a great mate. National Service (Fleet Air Arm) interrupted for two  years during which I won an individual nation wide competition. I am now living in Australia via thirty years in NZ. They have real sun here which is good for the old bones.  They and I are 87. Hallo to anyone else alive from that time.

By Allan Hedger (11/05/2016)

Hi Tim. My Mum and Dad were also publicans at the Aquarium pub, next to the Southdown bus station, and I also remember cutting through the station to get to St James Street and smelling the fumes.  I do have some photos from 1979 of the pub, if you are interested.  My email address is: parksportslade@yahoo.com

By Dawn Parks (20/07/2016)

Hi, my Grandfather started work with Southdown aged 14 until retirement.  His name was Jack Bartup he was a charge hand, he worked at Portslade depot at some point and at Edward Street which I remember. I used to go with him on a Thursday to collect his wages, and sit whilst he had a brew and a game of cards with the chaps. He was a sergeant during WW11, fought at Dunkirk.

He always wore a Southdown badge on his jacket, it had a laurel leaf design around it. I can't find one the same anywhere. I really want to find one like it since his was lost, and it would mean so much to me. I remember him wearing the badge in the 1950s when I was a child, but the badge's issue could well have been a much earlier. I would be very grateful for any information

By Carole Hodson (15/11/2016)

My Dad who most people called Mac or Little Mac, real name John McKechnie worked on the Southdown busses out of Pool Valley in Brighton. He was there from the 60s to the 70s. I have photos from the Southdown Christmas parties too and my dad's badge and conductor whistle. My email addy is csnm65@gmail.com

By Fiona McKechnie (02/12/2016)

Please does anyone remember my granddad Leslie Donaldson? We lost him in 1978 but I would be interested to know a little bit about his workmates and if anyone has any photos. Thank you.

By Sandy (Sandra) Leaney (18/12/2016)

Allan Hedger - I've just seen your earlier comment. You must have known my Dad. He worked at Portslade from leaving school which would have been around when you started in 1943. He was born December 1928 and went there straight from school at 14. He did his National Service but continued working as a chassis fitter until he took redundancy in the mid 80s. He was a chassis fitter and involved with the social club, organising the parties and outings. I remember one occasion when he fell down one of the inspection pits. I don't think he did much damage to himself other than some bruising. I'm sure you must remember John Friend.

By Marilyn Coates (01/01/2017)

Marilyn, I remember and worked with your Dad, John Friend. I worked as a coachbuilder during the 80s and can fondly remember some of the  wonderful social evenings he would organise during this time.

By Steve Moreton (01/01/2017)

Hello, does anyone remember my Grandad Albert Mills (Bert). He was a bus driver for Southdown for many years. He also did bus tours from Maderia Drive in the sixties. I have many fond memories of travelling with him on days out and I believe he recieved a long service award. He sadly died in 1977 but had driven for Southdown for many, many years. I have a picture of him in the Leyland Royal Tiger reg. MUF 431 From Early Sixties.

By Susan Dyer (07/05/2017)

Hi to all Southdown staff from Pool Valley who worked there in the 1970s. Would love to hear from anyone. My email  is fredj6648@outlook.com

By Fred Jelley (24/05/2017)

Hello to all. Would anyone be able to help me with allocations details for the buses that came north in the VR-FLF swap in 1970s, KPM 85-92E (2085-2092). Any info would be very much appreciated. aitkg@aol.com. Regards Glenn

By Glenn Aitken (13/08/2017)

Hi All, some sad news for those of you who knew Dennis Crowe: he recently passed away and yes he was always smart even till the end. I'm the daughter of Bruce Crowe and remember the bus club, pool room? and Christmas parties/outings. I would love to see pictures and talk to the other children who were also there back in the early 70s.  Nikki.crowe67@gmail.com

By Nikki Gozzett (14/11/2017)

Yes I remember (Inspector) Dennis Crowe. My one-time late father in law, Bert Ginn, would also have remembered him having been "nicked" by him on at least one occasion! To be fair he never held a grudge against Dennis, and I seem to recall subsequently accompanying him a few times on social business - was it model cars? I'm saddened to hear he's passed on. I started work for Southdown back in 1975 and with 42+ years service might just be the longest remaining serving continuous current employee (Southdown plus Stagecoach, who bought the company out), Dicky Alexander having now retired.

By Dave White (09/12/2017)

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