Ditchling Road

The end of the line for the trolley buses

by Ruth Mitchell

The area of Fiveways I remember as being very 'village-like': wide open pavements and local shops. I remember it was the end of the line for the trolley-buses. We used to live at 264 Ditchling Road and I can still hear the sound of the buses going over the points on the overhead trolley lines.

I remember one winter it was snowing very heavily and the points froze, leaving the bus full of passengers at the stop. The next thing I remember was my mother inviting all the passengers in for a cup of warm tea!

Fond memories also of the "Dr Who" style police box. I remember being allowed in there once - the same dark blue as the outside but, to me it seemed huge.

Junction of Ditchling Road and Upper Hollingdean Road, c. 1939
Sent to the website via the contribution form on 15-01-04
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
It brings tears to my eyes seeing a road I know so very well, although I was not born in 1939! This was the area in which I grew up, and my brother-in-law used to drive one of those trolley buses (I think it was a 26a or 46). My grandfather used have a builder's yard next to the chip shop in Hollingdean Road. Is there one now? Thanks for this page.
By Chris (03/02/2004)

The 26a bus did go to Five Ways and then became a 46a turned along Preston Drove and back to the old Steine via London Road. The 26 bus went to Hollingbury, where I lived, and at the terminal by Carden School became a 46 and took the the journey back to London Road and the old Steine. I remeber well. Hollingbury was described by the bus drivers and conductors as 'Siberia'. Downtown it could be mildly snowing but because Hollingbury was so open it could recieve 6ft drifts. I remember a snowy night when I left Hollingbury to visit my boyfriend who lived in town. We stayed in his house a while and deceided to catch the bus back to Hollingbury together. At Five Ways the driver refused to go any further and we were all forced to walk the rest of the way. Some busses were stranded and taxi drivers were only going very slowly back to town for safety.  In those days, as a teenager, I only wore little high heeled shoes. It was the fashion, never heard of boots then. I don't know how long it took to walk to my house but we were battling a big storm by then. We finally arrived. Frozen hair clinging to my face. Frozen numb feet, out of breath and never so happy to see my home. We urged my boyfriend to stay the night on the sofa and next day he set off to do the long walk back to town.

By Sandra (14/12/2008)

Does anyone recall the Cafe at Five Ways right on the Ditchling Road? It was just a couple of doors up from the 26 bus stop for Hollingbury. I'm talking of the early 60's hear. It was a small place we all called 'the caf' with it's very own juke box. The older boys with motor bikes would come there and for me it was a groovy safe place to hang out meeting friends. This was in the time when meals at Dorothy Stringer school really lost their appeal to a budding teenager. So instead of buying a weeks worth of canteen food on a Monday I used to save my dinner money and walk up to the 'Caf' for pie and beans and some cool music. Then there was the famous 'Tuck Shop' at the bottom of Stringer playing fields on Loder Road where we could buy lovely cheese rolls at lunch time and I'd get 2oz of sweets that would last all afternoon keeping one back to give to my Mum on returning home.

By Sandra (23/12/2008)
I remember the cafe in Ditchling Road we went there in about 1959. It started off originally in the back of a shop. It was about where the Chinese take-away is now. I also remember the tuck shop in Loder Road. Don't forget the bakers on the corner of Loder Road and Loder Place. They did lovely penny fruit buns.
By Ron James (06/07/2009)

Ruth, if the inside of the police box did seem bigger than the outside, that's not surprising. Something to do with Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, I gather.

By Len Liechti (24/02/2010)

My great grandparents lived at 246 Ditchling Road: Arthur and Phoebe Carter, and as a boy this area and the houses were like being amongst royalty. Everywhere seemed big and posh, I always had be in my best clothes to visit. As for the trolley buses there was nothing like them, they were wonderful to ride on.

By Leslie Carter (28/08/2010)

Great memories for me in my 80s. Trams used to run prior to trolleys. The old wood tramline rails were dug up & given away free for firewood. During WW2 my dear Mum was a clippie on the Trolleys & told us she would pick up fish & chips at the Open Market stop route 26/46 for the driver & herself but one day the bus went off without her arriving back in time - but she managed to pick it up again on its return journey in London Road.

By D.R. Divall (19/09/2010)

I used to work in the electrical shop for your uncle Eric and the name Divall is famous in Brighton for a string of cafe resteraunts. These were started by a man who only ever employed ex cons so he could give them a chance and also a reference to enable them to return to society. I can remember eating in one at the bottom of New England Road on the right, opposite Panetts lorry store, with its collection of 1960s yellow tippers. My uncle Charlie Cross also drove a No26 bus for many years and used to live at No 15 Ditchling road. I also had a paper round for Mr Fred Dalton in Ditchling road and also at Rangers in Baker Street. My final paper round was for Ken Tucker at the bottom of Ditchling Rise, I had Springfield Road as my round and finished almost at my door. I lived at number 182 the very top house on the right.

By Stuart Chandler (01/07/2011)

In response to Leslie Carter: I believe I lived "over the back" of the Carter's house in 35 Hollingbury Park Avenue. I never knew the first names of a couple who I called Grandma and Grandpa Carter. This was in the mid 50s. I know they came originally from Devizes and I have endearing memories of my many visits. We did not go up the road and round by St Matthias but climbed over the wall that divided the back alley in two. If I was good, Grandpa Carter let me into his greenhouse where he grew tomatoes and geraniums and he also grew Cape Gooseberries - something that I had never seen before. I have often thought about the Carters and their many kindnesses to our family. Many of our wooden toys were made in their back shed using Grandpa Carter's fret and jigsaws as my father did not have enough to spend on expensive tools.

By Sue Tulloch (29/10/2014)

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