Rotherfield Crescent

Photo:Sandra, Jonathan and Bruce the dog

Sandra, Jonathan and Bruce the dog

From the private collection of Sandra Bohtlingk

Rotherfield Crescent, Hollingbury

Happy childhood Summer memories

By Sandra Bohtlingk

As a child I grew up in 59 Rotherfield Crescent, Hollingbury. We moved there when I was three in 1949 and I left in 1966 aged 20 when I got married. This picture is taken by my mother with her back to our house and the view directly opposite us of Hurst Hill. You can vaguely see the street name on the side of the house behind me. My name was Sandra Baldwin at that time. I am proudly showing off my new bike.

Hill after hill in Hollingbury

Hurst Hill was mainly flat and therefore seems strange to call it Hurst Hill although it did curve upwards towards Cuckmere Way at the end. Speaking of it as having an end is also funny as the whole road was only having perhaps five houses on each side. Being flat made it a fortunate place for me to practice riding my bike. Of course most people, who know Hollingbury, realise it is hill after hill in one direction or the other.

My friend Jonathan

By my side is a friend, Jonathan Hall, who lived two doors up from me. Jonathan was just slightly older than me and, even at that young age, was a wizard at the piano. At my birthday parties we spent most of it in the garden, being in early July. Being the only boy there he probably felt a little out of place, until musical chairs was mentioned. Jonathan would hurtle off to the living room where the piano was and mum would open all the doors and windows so we could hear the music from the garden. Jonathan had a certain enthusiasm for playing classical music that made it possible to hear it wherever you stood, and had we been indoors we may well also have needed to open the doors and windows to let some of that sound out.

Our dog Bruce

Next in the picture is our dog, Bruce. He and I were the same age. He was a cross between Labrador and Red Setter and I remember Mum always talked of her disappointment, when she went to collect her new puppy, that he was just black. Bruce was king of the road in those days and back then we could open the door and let him venture out to explore the countryside alone. His favourite patch, after a long roam, was to lie stretched out in the centre of the road, Rotherfield or Hurst Hill, and the few cars that travelled that way in those days were obliged to drive round him.

This page was added on 17/10/2010.
Comments about this page

Hi Sandra. I don't know If you know me or my family. We lived in Fernhurst Crescent at no 13. I was born in 1951. I've got a brother called Barry and two sisters, Val and Barb and my late mum and dad Harry and Grace. I live in Newhaven now but I've got fond memories of Hollingbury. I still miss it- I loved the summers but not the winters. Did you know a Michale Morley in Rotherfield?

By Stephen Raynsford (13/05/2012)

Hi Stephen, I am not aware of knowing you and your family although I did know a Barry. Not at all sure what his surname was though. Depends a lot on his age probably. I was born in ’46 so I am older than yourself. That makes quite a difference when growing up as we seem to stick with class mates and peers of the same age. Of course there are many people you get to know by sight over the years, never knowing their names at all. Number 13 must have been at the top end of Fernhurst I suspect. I did walk that street many a time to visit friends in other streets or to the small church in Lyminster Avenue for Sunday school or the Friday ‘BOP night’ later in my teens. The only person I really re-call living in Fernhurst was Philip Keating who lived further down probably facing the triangular green that sat in the middle of Buxted Rise which is just hiding behind the red flag on the map here. As for the name Morley,well, as you’ll remember, or as shown by the map here, Rotherfield was considerably longer than Fernhurst so not so easy to remember all the folks who lived there. Surprising what can come to mind though once someone jogs the memory. Nice that you made contact, thank you. Best wishes

By Sandra Bohtlingk (nee Baldwin) (13/05/2012)

Hi Sandra. I used to live at 3 Hurst Hill from 1959 until I married in 1974. My name in those days was Janet Hammond, and my parents continued to live there until 2001. Happy days growing up in Hollingbury. It was quite a close-knit community back then with lots of young families. Did you live next door to the Allums? Co-incidentally, my daughter ended up marrying the son of Debbie Allum.

By Janet Beal (15/05/2012)

Hallo Janet. Wow! This is interesting. When you moved to Hurst Hill in 1959 I would have 13 and attending Dorothy Stringer school by then. The house in the photo, I am certain, was number 1, Hurst Hill where an older couple lived, so you must have been the semi detached next to it. I don’t recall your name or your face, so far. I do remember there were two little boys at that address who would have been about 3 and 4 years old when I was 9ish. I used to go across and play with them sometimes, tell funny stories to them. Maybe they moved away and you came after them? However I did live next door to the Allums, yes. They were a delightful family. You have reminded me of them again. I seem to recall dad was known as Big Fred. His wife’s name escapes me just now. Then there were two daughters, the younger of which was a pretty blonde girl called Wendy? And a younger boy known as Little Fred. I left number '59 when I married in ’66. So who did your daughter marry? I love these stories. They really bring back thoughts and memories so well. Thank you for sharing with us. Greetings, Sandra.

By Sandra Bohtlingk (nee Baldwin) (18/05/2012)

Hi Sandra. I was born in 1955, so I'm a wee bit younger than you. In 1959 I was just about starting at Carden School (later went to Varndean). Number 3 Hurst Hill was actually on the OTHER side of the road to that shown in the photo. My daughter married the son of the youngest Allum daughter, Debbie. She did indeed have two older sisters - Patsy and Wendy, and a brother Freddie. Thank you so much for sharing your memories.

By Janet Beal (20/05/2012)

Hi Sandra. My name is Nicola Cahill nee Steedman we lived at 58 Rotherfield Crescent with my dad Les, my mum Rita and brothers Ian and Graham, and sisters Jeanette and Denise. I am the youngest and we moved from there in March 1965 to live in Telford. Do you remember?

By Nicola Cahill (28/05/2012)

So wonderful reading your story, My adopted Auntie Jean lives at 59 Rotherfield and has done as far back as I can remember. I used to go there all the time from 1980 to 1995 as a escape from my own home. Such a lovely house where I would spend hours sitting in the garden watching the fish in the pond.

By Peter Allen (16/08/2013)

Hello, I use to live at No 48 Rotherfield crescent from 1953 to 1958, with my brothers Paul, David and Michael Hutton. 

By Andrew Hutton (16/07/2014)

How interesting to hear from someone else who knows the house from the inside.

Shortly after I left in 1966 my parents had an extension built on the side for my grand-parents. That was around 1968 maybe. As the extension was just completed my father was offered promotion at work and that required living on the work premises. After long debates it was decided to leave 59 Rotherfield, take the promotion offered, and move my grand-parents into the new home/work premises also.

So that was the end of visits to my family at 59 and my grand-parents did not even get there at all. What a pity. I think they would have benefitted from having Hollingbury as there last home on earth but it was not to be.

I have been back to Hollingbury in recent years and drove along Rotherfield Crescent, of course. I was so curious about the old home and looked over the fence for some time at the changes to the back garden.

Thank you, Peter, for sharing news of your Auntie Jean.

By Sandra Bohtlingk-Baldwin (19/07/2014)

I think a school friend of mine lived in Rotherfield Crescent (we went to Patcham County Secondary School). Her name was Brenda Bailey and she had an older brother Alan.

By June Churchill (20/07/2014)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.