Ovingdean Village

Photo:A receipt from 'The Stores, Ovingdean' - 1940 and Christmas was coming

A receipt from 'The Stores, Ovingdean' - 1940 and Christmas was coming

From the private collection of Jennifer Drury

Photo:Drawing of Ovingdean Stores by Joseph Skinner of Ovingdean

Drawing of Ovingdean Stores by Joseph Skinner of Ovingdean

Reproduced with permission

Important village amenity opened c1923

By Jennifer Drury

Beginnings in 1923

It is not entirely clear when the Village Store first opened in Longhill Road, but it is generally thought to be c1923 when it was run by Mr & Mrs Churchman. An old village resident remembered that the store was originally two railway carriages put together. Eventually these were moved and a quite basic building took its place; more of a shack really.  We do not have a date for the photograph here, but we  do know that the present building replaced it c1968.

A valuable village amenity

By the 1930s apart from being a general store, it was also a rural post office which was seen as a very useful amenity for the village. Up till the late 1860s when a letter box was put in the wall of the Rectory in Greenways, there was a lady who lived in the cottages on Greenways who was a designated receiver of post. From its early days the village store was recognised not only as a useful amenity for local people, but also as a provider of  invaluable of information about the community.  From its beginnings to the present day, the store has been a quite extraordinary place where one can go in to buy a loaf or a newspaper, and come out having made a new acquaintance or met an old friend.

A reminiscence of the Village Store

"The village stores when I was a child in the 1950s, was a flat long bungalow which used to have a garden extending where the bungalow now standing next to it is now.  You used to have to walk up three steps to get into the stores.  When you got in it was just one long bar where one little lady used to stand and I remember having to be on my tip-toes to see over the counter. I used to go up there shopping for my mother and put everything in my saddle-bag.  I used to get sugar, bread, butter, flour the basics – tin of baked beans – tin of Carnation milk – tin of Nestles condensed milk.  I think actually that after the war the children’s orange juice, cod-liver oil and the syrup of figs – which I used to hate - all came from the stores”.

The Ovingdean Store today?

Do you live in Ovingdean? What is the Ovingdean Store like now? Maybe you could share your views with us by posting a comment below?

Photo:Ovingdean Village Stores mid 1930s

Ovingdean Village Stores mid 1930s

From the private collection of Jennifer Drury


This page was added on 18/03/2012.
Comments about this page

I remember this lovely little store from the '40s and the '50s. When we were young kids we would walk from our house in Bennett Road to East Brighton park, and then over the golf course to Ovingdean through Bakers Bottom and on to Beacon Hill where we had a picnic with mum and dad. My dad gave us pocket money to spend on sweets in the village store. The store had a lovely smell about it, a nice sort of foody smell. I will never forget sitting on the hill further up the road and just watching the skylarks with their beautiful song hovering above. We played for a while in a hollow oak tree by Bakers farm, then it was down to the 7b bus stop to get a bus home to Bristol Gardens. Mike Peirson.

By Mick Peirson (20/03/2012)

I remember the Village Store - during the early 1960s it was still like the photograph above, with a wooden floor that was not quite even in places and creaked when you walked on the floorboards and the steps seemed very steep for a young child.It was then modernised and did not have the same character as before, it became a mini self-service supermarket and the floor no longer creaked! During the summers I would cycle there from the other end of Longhill Road to buy an ice lolly; a Mivi or Lemononade Sparkle or Fab. Does any one remember the farm shop/market garden on Longhill Road in the late 1960s, early 1970s? It was run by Mr and Mrs Kelly from their house, which was inbetween the driveway to Foxdown House and the house where the Hopkins family used to live. The Kellys sold vegetables and fruit from the wooden porch at the front of their house, Mrs Kelly always wore an apron. She once gave me a plastic heart-shaped brooch - the sort you could buy on the pier- with a rose painted on it and my name in gold coloured letters. I presume they grew the vegetables themselves in their back garden as their hands and nails were always covered with soil.

By Sue Stanworth was McCord (28/12/2012)

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