Conway Street

Something scary and magical

by Martin Nimmo

If you hadn't aleady guessed, because there's not a lot else in Conway Street, I'm a transport enthusiast - or more properly a transport historian!

When a teenager, I used to visit Conway Street to see if I could spot new and old buses of the then Brighton, Hove and District Omnibus Company in the garage or on the surrounding streets. Contriving to come home from school after dark on a winter's afternoon, there was something both scary and magical for a twelve year old in the dark streets with pools of yellow light, and the revving of diesel engines as buses left the garage or arrived back after a turn.

At New Year, 1965, I peered into the west garage to see three new Bristol Lodekka buses, not yet registered (to become DAP 62-4C) among a collection of old, cream open-toppers withdrawn from service. Many years later, I was on holiday from Yorkshire shortly after fire had destroyed new and old buses in the same garage, and could see vehicles reduced to knee-height which but a few days earlier had been double-deckers in service.

sent to the website by e-mail 6-11-2002
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
Thanks Martin for the memories. Left school in 1964 and being a transport enthusiast applied for a job as a fitter on the buses. Was accepted by the BH&D and started in the overhaul shops at Conway Street, near to what interested me. Worked on KS, KSW and Lodekkas. Great workmates (one had a bronze-coloured Jowet Javalin which we used to run around in). Moved on after 6 months as I thought that I was learning too little. But great memories though. Can you tell me when the fire was? Have been in Sweden since 1969 and have specialised on trolleybuses. You know quite a bit about them too, don't you? Best regards from Lund in Sweden.
By Terry Brown (10/04/2005)
I would love to get in contact with the two correspondents with regard to their memories of the bus garage. I have built a representational diorama and have an interest in collating personal memories of the bus companies during the 1960s and 1970s. I have two web-sites that deal with aspects of this. These are http://batsaboutbuses.moonfruit.com and http://batsaboutbrightonbuses.moonfruit.com. The diorama is pictured and described on the former web-site.
By Siegmund De Reuther (08/08/2005)
My father was a mechanic before the 2nd World War, he came back after the war and became a bus driver, driving the route 1 to Whitehawk and Portslade. Later in my life, after serving 22 years in the Army, I became a bus driver and later became a driver conductor in 1976 for a couple of years. At that time we were driving semi automatic and fully automatic buses.
By Derek Frape (12/10/2005)

I remember a strange incident in Rottingdean when a mobile crane ripped away large sections of a BH&D Lodekka. I've never understood how this happened - anyone know the circumstances and causes?

By Bish Bosh (15/11/2006)

Yes, I recall the incident at Rottingdean. The victim was one of the cream Bristol Lodekkas (No 1, OPN 801), but with its roof on rather than off. The back offside was indeed ripped open by a crane which had run away. The bus was happily empty apart from the crew and no-one was injured (though shocked I daresay!). I have a photo of the bus from the "Brighton and Hove Herald"; the vehicle was later repaired and returned to service. I also saw something very similar happen at the Old Steine many years later, when a crane appeared to have jumped the lights northbound and went through an empty Bristol VR doubledecker outside Electricity House, No 619 I think. This was also repaired. Tough buses in those days!

By Martin Nimmo (17/11/2006)

Thanks for the update Martin. Re Rottingdean I'd remembered The Argus reporting that the crash could never happen again, so if the crane ran away that would explain it.Presumably it was involved in work on either the White Horse hotel or the clifftop area?

By Bish Bosh (10/12/2006)

We seem to be getting rather off the subject of Conway Street. There is of course more even today to the street than a large bus garage, with a Salvation Army citadel at the west end and a flight of steps at the east end, which lead up to (near) Hove Station. The site was chosen for a bus garage, at least partly because the railway bridge over Sackville Road was originally low, unable even to let open-topped horse buses to pass. That was rectified in the immediate pre-War years, and services like the 5 could be extended to the growing areas of West Hove, such as Hangleton, as double-deckers.

By Martin Nimmo (23/02/2007)

Has anyone any photos of the row of houses in Conway Street that have since been torn down? My granny lived in No. 100 and my dad owned the butchers shop (I think a dry cleaning shop was nearby near the railway bridge in Sackville Road). We left UK in 65 so any photos would be fantasic. I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching the train shunting back and forth.

By Mary-Anne Paul (nee Hayler) (10/09/2009)

I lived at 6 Conway Place until October 1964. I think Conway Place was completely demolished a couple of years or so later. When we left, the demolition of some of the houses in Conway Street had already started and I remember cars being parked on the remains of these houses when BHA were playing at home. Conway Place was a close with one end backing on to the playground of Goldstone School. I can remember my grandad picking me up as a young child to look over the wall and watch the children playing. I remember a small parade of shops just around the corner from where we lived - there was Bullens the sweet shop and also a bakers further down on the corner. Happy days!

By Martine Royal (15/03/2010)

As a child in the 60s, i lived in Ellen Place which ran north south between Conway Street and Ellen Street. We got moved out of there as the demolition work crept ever closer, I recall the empty space between our road and the school, just an expanse of rubble. At the rear of our house was a courtyard used by a builder, in between the houses was a small car body repair shop, at the northern end was a cafe and at the southern end was a disused shop. I also recall the popular laundry at the western end of Conway Street, Bullens on the eastern corner, the concertina doors of the bus depot, which incidently is where I now work. I attended Goldstone Junior School, now a car park. The only reminder there was ever a school on that site is the safety railings at the playground entrance at the western end of Ellen Street. If anyone has any photos of Ellen Place I would love to see them.

By Michael Davidson (21/04/2010)

I remember you Martine - the clever 3 year old that could translale English into Italian for her granny. The lady who lived there before you was a Miss Burns. I lived in No. 5 from 1944 untill 1961 when everybody in the street had to move because the houses were due for demolition. If I remember correctly your family moved to Hangleton, I moved to Stapley Road. The name of the bakers was Holders, the parade of shops was in Sackville Road. Like you I have great memories of the area.

By Dennis Brand (31/05/2010)

Hello Dennis Brand, I used to live at 109 Conway Street and used to play with Harrold and Tony Brand. If I remember they had brothers called Johnie and Peter and also an older sister. Are these your brothers and sisters? If I remember Harold married Sylvia Canning who also lived in Conway Street. Definitely the slums of Hove but I loved living there and have very happy memories.

By Derek Tanner (15/08/2010)

Derek Tanner, I used to go out with Sylvia Canning in the late 40s/early 50s. I also remember well Harold Brown who I believe lived in Sackville Road at the time. I also attended Ellen Street school in the late 40s, when we were living in Portland Road. John Do you remember the Bakery at the western edge of Conway Street?

By John Adams (06/09/2010)

Hi, I remember John Brand very well, lived next door to us in Ingram Crescent. Also lived in Ellen Street above the sweet shop that my Mum worked in. Also lived in Conway St, Clarendon Road (no 3), also went to Goldstone School in Ellen St. I have just had a letter from John Ford who lived at No 69 Ellen St, his Mum and Dad being Dick and Rose Ford. Anyone remember my family, Joe and Doreen Hatherillo?

By Alan Hatherillo (11/10/2010)

When was the Conway Street bus garage built?

By Ian (10/11/2010)

Hello Derek Tanner. Do you remember me, Allan Floyd? I lived at No. 8 Conway Place with my parents, sister and grandparents from 1939 to about 1949 or 50 when we moved to Hangleton. I have lived in Brisbane since 1973. What state and suburb are you in? I also have fond memories of my childhood during that time.

By Alan Floyd (06/01/2011)

Hello Allan Floyd. Yes I do believe I remember you. If my memory is correct you had a sister named Pat and you lived next door to Peter and Brian? Costick. If I am right I had a crash on your bike riding through Hove Park. After the crash we took it to Jack Denny's bike shop. He could not fix it. Also at your end of Conway Place lived the Martins and the Howicks? and the other end the Brands. I have lived here in South Australia since 1964 and before that at Poynings Drive, Hangleton.

By Derek Tanner (18/01/2011)

I remember Conway Street and Elleen Street. My nan and uncle and auntie lived in Conway Street opposite the bus garage at number 32. We used to go there on a Sunday on the number 3 bus. My dad would put my younger sister and brother on in St James Street and we'd have to get off at Hove station and go down a flight of steps next to the pub where two of my aunties worked doing the cleaning. I believe the steps and pub are still there. My nan's surname was Hanny. When they were going to pull those houses down a lot of the people were moved to Crawley which is were my uncle and aunt moved to, then emigrated to Austraila. That was about 1961 I think. My other two aunties lived in Ellen Street, they were identical twins. Their family names were Patching and Stephenson. Does anyone remember these? kathleencatt@yahoo.co.uk

By Kathleen Catt (02/02/2011)

I have found out that my great-grandparents (Arthur and Charlotte Gibbs) lived at 102 Conway Street in 1881 (Census) and then they moved to 125 Conway Street in 1891 (Census). After my great-grandad died, my great-grandmother moved to 121 Conway Street where she was the housekeeper. They had 7 children. My grandfather, William married Fanny Breden in 1896 at St Barnabus Church and they went to live in Wordsworth Street, Hove and then in 1900, when my father Frederick was born they moved to Grange Road. My father was one of eight children. I know it was a long time ago but if anyone remembers that perhaps their nan and grandads lived nearby or has any information I would love to hear about it.

By Lesley Broom (nee Gibbs) (06/04/2011)

My grandfather and great grandfather used to live at no 26 in the 30s and 40s. Surname of Banks if anyone remembers them.

By Darren Banks (02/10/2011)

Hello Dennis Brand, would you happen to remember the Banks family who lived at no 26 - George and Daisey who had 4 sons most of them taxi drivers. Harold, Ron, William and Sydney who unfortunately died on the HMS hood in 41.

By Darren Banks (02/10/2011)

I was born and brought up at 64 Ellen Street when there were still houses there. My dad Oscar Wakefield worked in the bus garage at different jobs as driver, conductor and fitter, over the year. Does anyone remember him?

By Liz Wakefield (07/10/2011)

The name of the bookmaker was in fact Bunny Holland, not Buddy - whoops!

By Ann Gilmour (nee Wade) (25/11/2011)

Hi Liz. My grandad Brand lived at 84 Ellen street and workrd in the bus garage. He had a wooden leg and one day he slipped on oil and a bus reversed over his leg, lucky for him it was his wooden one. They may haved worked together. My cousins lived in the same house their names were John and Ann Richardson. Their house faced Albert Street. Dennis.

By Dennis Brand (01/03/2012)

Hi Mary-Anne Paul (nee Hayler), I remember your family from the 50s and 60s. If I am right, Arther Hayler was a keen photographer and took photos at my grannies 84th birthday. You will get photos of Conway Street on the website, search for the James Grey Collection, Volume 14. Dennis.

By Dennis Brand (01/03/2012)

Hi. I am trying to find some pictures of Conway Street back in the '40s.  A friend lived there until his mother died then the 3 children just disappeared, they lived on Ethel St. The eldest son was over from New Zealand back in September and had an article in The Argus requesting myself and anyone who remembered them to get in touch. I did and we now keep in touch via Skype, his name was Avis.

By Sylvia Jones (nee Holden) (12/11/2013)

Thank you Sylvia. When my mother died we were taken in by the Prior family and I would like to make contact to thank them. Mr and Mrs Prior would not be alive and Marjorie went to America. One other person who I would wish to make contact with, as would Sylvia, is Sheila Warrant.

By James Avis (07/01/2014)

Would love some info on the Banks. Sidney was my gt uncle. Daisy being grandad's sister 

By Roy Bolton Tubbs (26/08/2014)

Hi Roy. My nan Elsie was married to Sydney. 

By Darren (13/09/2014)

I used to live at No. 38 opposite the bus garage as a child during the mid fifties/early sixties.

By Serge Philippe (22/11/2014)

Hi, James Avis - my grandmother Elizabeth Prior and Bertie Prior lived at 30, Conway Street. They had three girls Alice, or Bubbles as she was called. Florence Nightingale and Lillian. I also lived with them when I was a little girl and also went to George St school. hope this helps. Were you and your sister called Boy boy and Girl girl? My mum always spoke about them. 

By Janet Seaward (03/08/2015)

Hello James. My cousin Janet sent you a message, now I am. My Mom was Lily Prior and I am her daughter who lives in America. Would love to hear stories of my Mom and my Auntie Bubbles (Alice) when they were younger. Hope to hear from you. Penny

By Penny Taurozzi (28/09/2015)

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