St Luke's Prestonville

Memories of the 1940/50s

By Brian Dungate

Important part of my life

I was baptised at St Luke's in 1939, by the then vicar, Edward Yorke. The church was to play an important part in my life in my early years. Weekday contacts began early on, with my induction into the Robins, which functioned as a junior arm of the Life Boys and subsequently the Boys Brigade. Meetings were held at the church hall in Exeter Street.

Learning to play the organ

As a member of the church choir I obviously attended services on Sunday as well as practices during the week and occasional wedding services. A distant relative, Cyril Marchant was the church organist, and I learnt to play the organ moderately well with his help. The organ, sadly, is no longer there, but the photo shows that this impressive instrument was built by Morgan & Smith of Hove.

Delivering the Prestonville Post

Cyril Marchant's wife, Joyce (née Card) was a fine soprano. Cyril's father strangely ran a rival church: the Port Hall Mission in Port Hall Road on the corner of Exeter Street, opposite the Post Office.
A glutton for punishment, I also helped to deliver copies of Prestonville Post, with its illustration of the cockerel atop the weather vane of the church on the front cover. The cockerel, alas, is no longer there.

Photo:St Luke's church organ

St Luke's church organ

From the private collection of Brian Dungate

This page was added on 21/02/2011.
Comments about this page

Does anyone know the exact street address of what used to be (or what still may be) the Port Hall Mission? As a young boy (mid 1950s to late 1950s) - along with my cousins Ian and Robin Davey, I used to visit friends of my aunt's who lived above the Mission. Their family name was Konfski (please excuse my butchering of the spelling - its how I remember the name as spoken). Joyce was my aunt's friend and John was her husband - a Polish airman in WWII. They and their boys (Jimmy and his younger brother) emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in the late 1950s or 1960 at the latest. Oddly enough a school chum of mine from Fawcett Days - Jonathan Carter - used to live at the Port Hall Mission. His father was the Vicar there. I was wondering if any one might be able to fill in some details of both the address of the Mission or even if they knew either the Carters or the Konfskis.

By Phil Allsopp (16/03/2011)

Port Hall Mission was in Port Hall Road opposite the top of Port Hall Street. I remember the Konviski family well, I was friends with Jimmy, his mother used to clean the mission and I think they were caretakers there. They were highly regarded and I seem to remember that when they emigrated there was a going away event at the mission. When I attended the mission, 1951 to 1954, Mr Eade was vicar there, his wife always attended and they lived in Loder Road. We used to go on summer outings to Wannock Glen near Eastbourne for the day or Horsham open air swimming pool. The people I remember at that time were a Miss Boyce who helped out and was a very kindly soul. Mrs Booth who taught bible class, and her son Gerald who used to attend. Mr Frame who lived in Stanford Road used to teach and his son attended. Mr Kelly and his son John also were there for a short time. Mr Eade who was vicar, was manager at Bennets ironmongery store in North Road. His nickname was 'Pee Wee', because he always wore a black jacket and pin striped trousers like a cartoon carachter of the time.

By Terry Hyde (21/08/2011)

Brian Dungate, I remember your father well, I am a bit younger than you, born in 43. I went to Stanford Road School 47 to 53 when your dad was caretaker there. I went to school with a Fred Wilson whose mother was a cleaner there, we used to help out after school bringing coal to the boiler and cleaning classrooms. Downstairs in the basement near the boiler was Sidney Challis' class, he taught me boxing and I went on to represent Brighton schoolboys. Your dad was a lovely lovely man, respected by all, so helpful and so kind. During my years at the school everyone knew Mr Dungate who did all the work behind the scenes and was responsible for the clean and tidy school we attended.

By Terry Hyde (21/08/2011)

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