Wolseley Road

Wolseley Road, Colden

Memories of the Children's Home

By Len Liechti

Was it at number 70?

I well recall the Children’s Home – number 70, was it? – in Wolseley Road, Coldean. My younger sister and I spent four months there while our mother was in hospital for an extended period when I was thirteen, which would have been during the summer of 1962 – the number one record was Mike Sarne’s ‘Come Outside’. The Home was administered by the County Borough of Brighton Children’s Department and was run at the time by a Mr and Mrs Granger, who had two children of their own, two boys, John and Paul.

Like a real family home

There were, if I remember rightly, three other children there, all under twelve, and they were Maurice Storr and Steven and Anita Brigden, all there long-term rather than on short-stay like us. The Grangers were quite strait-laced but very compassionate, and made a considerable effort to run the Home as a real family home. For the most part our stay there was very happy and positively luxurious compared to conditions at home. We all did daily chores, washing-up, fetching the coal for the boiler and polishing our own shoes, and received pocket money in return, which we’d spend on sweets at the shop in Hawkhurst Road.

A city kid’s delight in the country

I remember Mr Granger having a strange little three-wheeled grey Bond mini-car in which he went off to work each day. I recall the delight for a city-centre kid of having fields with cows in them directly opposite the house, and of the proximity of the Wild Park in which I spent a lot of my time rambling and black-berrying at weekends. I’d also go over to Stanmer Park which at the time was much larger than today, much of it later being given over to the University. There was a large and wonderful tree house in the woods there that I found once, and never managed to find again.

Travelling to school by bicycle

I also recall the large open space next to the Home that had at some earlier time been allotments; it was still possible to dig up potatoes there. Later this space was built on and no longer exists. I was at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar, and travelled there every day by bicycle, which was quite an adventure being some three miles in each direction, much further than my journey from my regular home.

TV and fried egg sandwiches

Once a month the Grangers had a weekend off and were relieved by a Mr and Mrs Strange, who were rather collaboratorial, allowing us to stay up later than the 9pm norm watching television and consuming fried egg sandwiches the while. I believe the house is still there but I doubt it’s a Children’s Home any more. If any of the people I’ve mentioned are still with us and get to read this, I’d be delighted to hear their memories.

This page was added on 03/08/2011.
Comments about this page

I used to play with the children in the home in the 1950s and at that time Mr & Mrs Strange were the couple who looked after the children full time. They had a television and I used to love watching Childrens Hour after school there. In Coldean there were a number of Childrens Homes. There were two in Nanson Avenue, one at each end and one in Hawkhurst Road by the Ingham Drive bus stop.  I lived at No 46 Wolseley Road from 1952 until 1969 when I married and moved to Wembley.

By Linda Buckley (nee Bassett) (27/01/2013)

My brothers and sister and I lived at number 90. (The Bakers) Vaguely remember you Linda. Did you have a brother David ? I live in Connecticut USA, now having emigrated in 1984.

By Ron Baker (26/02/2013)

Hi Ron. My brother's name is Michael and he was a couple of years older than me (still is!). Is your sister's name Jennifer and did your mum have dark hair? I moved away from Brighton in 1969 but it will always be my home town.

By Linda Buckley (nee Bassett) (18/04/2013)

Hi Linda. My sister's name is Rosemary and she lives in Shoreham now. My mother did have dark hair and I do vaguely remember your brother Michael. Happy days indeed back in Coldean. So much more civilized in those days even though we were much less better off financially. Sweet memories of childhood I suppose!

By Ron Baker (23/04/2013)

Hi Ron. Yes I remember your mum and Rosemary. Am I right that Rosemary is older than you? When I feel down about the years marching on I just remember how lucky I was to have the childhood that I did. Maybe there was not much money but we had family love, the Coldean estate, Stanmer woods, Wild Park as our playground-heaven.

By Linda Buckley nee Bassett (13/10/2013)

Hi Linda. Yes my sister is older by two years. We were lucky indeed to have the park and woods as our playground. I remember sledding down the steep end of Wild Park. It took us one minute to get down and about ten to stagger back up. Good times though.

By Ron Baker (21/11/2013)

I was in the kids home in Nanson Road, was there for 6 years. The lady's name was Mrs Tilman. 

By Pauline Heath (05/05/2014)

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