Petworth Road

The early days

By Richard Wickham

 
Photo:Petworth Road and Midhurst Rise

Petworth Road and Midhurst Rise

Photo by Tony Mould

German prisoners laying the roads

We moved to number 1 Petworth Road on 6th of July 1946. It was my 6th birthday! There weren't many houses built on the east side of the hill, County Oak Avenue and the roads on the right hand side were still being built. I remember German prisoners of war laying the concrete roads. There were no shops at that time. As kids we had to walk to the Carden Avenue cash store, down past the Wilmington pub. Groom's the baker, the milkman and the greengrocers all came round with horse and carts

The bad winter of 1946

There was a small parade of shops by The Snipe public house. I remember a newsagents where you could buy bottles of Tizer and get money back on the bottles. The winter of 1946/47 was very bad; three feet of snow on all the pavements and we wore short trousers and overcoats that only came to our knees. There was ice inside the windows and the snow drifted up past the front windows. Huge icicles hung from every gutter, they were two feet or more long.

Lardie cakes to die for

I remember much later as a teenager seeing American rock star Gene Vincent, who sang 'Be Bop Alula' at the youth club when he was appearing in Brighton. When the shops were built at the bottom of Midhurst Rise there was Larter's the grocers, a green grocers, and Nicholl’s bakers who made the best cream dougnuts I have ever tasted and lardie cakes to die for. There was also a newsagents where an assistant named Mary worked; as young boys we were all in love with her.

This page was added on 14/09/2012.
Comments about this page

I too remember the area well in the war as we lived in the corner bungalow in Sunnydale Avenue. As kids, we befriended the German POWs who built the roads for the Hollingbury Estate. When I was four I went missing and was found by a neighbor waving furiously at the Canadian Army tanks making their way along Carden Avenue to Stanmer where they were billeted.

By Robin Tulley (17/09/2012)

My Nan lived at number 11 Petworth Road, (must have moved in just after the end of the war), With 8 children, and when I was about 3 we moved into a flat in Midhurst Rise (with my Mum and Dad). One of my memories is of the delicious lardie cakes from the bakers, and I also remember the little building next to the newsagents where we were issued with free little bottles of orange juice, and cod liver oil (yuk). There was a hairdressers around the corner, where me and my sister had our hair cut. Amazing as a four year old being trusted to go to the shops, cross the road, with Mum's rationing book in hand. I left England to go to Australia many years ago, but have fond memories of those early years at Petworth Road, and my dear old Nan, with all of her brood of teenage boys, Sandie.

By Sandie (18/09/2012)

This page sure brings back memories! I lived in Hollingbury from 1956 to 1974 (when I married), and the shops opposite Midhurst Rise were where my Mum did most of her shopping. Without a car, or a fridge or freezer, Mum would shop everyday and carry heavy bags up the steep hills to home (Hurst Hill). The shops catered for most foodstuffs, and there was a fish and chip shop too. I don't remember the lardie cakes at the bakers, but I have rather nice memories of flaky pastry filled with lemon curd and cream. The building next to (Osborne's?) the newsagents has been put to various uses over the years, but when I was small it was a children's clinic where we had our immunisations. Anyone remember Maisie who used to work in the greengrocers? Larters, the grocers, was counter-service, but in the 60s a little supermarket called Centra opened in Carden Hill. Self-service was quite an oddity in those days.

By Janet Beal (19/09/2012)

Hello Richard. You commented about a row of shops adjacent to the 'Snipe' pub and in particular a newsagent. As I recollect this was called 'Gowens' and I used to do a paper round from there and buy my rationed 2ozs of sweets there each week with my coupon.The day food rationing officially finished there was a queue a mile long outside the shop! Next door was a habberdashers whose name escapes me, then a fruit & veg shop owned by 'Adams'. On the end of the parade was a cafe owned by a family called 'Rogers'.

By Robin Tulley (23/09/2012)

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