The Ridgway , Woodingdean

Photographs: then and now

Photo:Ridgway - late 1920s

Ridgway - late 1920s

From the private collection of Jennifer Drury

Photo:Ridgeway - 2002

Ridgeway - 2002

Photography by Jennifer Drury

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I forgot to add that my father re-opened the Woodingdean Garage in 1946/7 having bought it from Mr Price who also owned the hardware store in Warren Road and started the first bus service from Brighton to Woodingdean. There was a bus service from Rottingdean to Woodingdean and that was driven by a lovely man called Joe. Another bus driver - Joe Purdy lived across the road from No.97 and used to have to walk home from the Whitehawk bus garage late at night having left the bus there. I have a number of stories about my time in Woodingdean if you would be interested.
By Robert Coe (08/10/2005)
Did you know that there were five pig farms in The Ridgway in the 1940s and that Dolly Chapman lived there? Not sure if it was the Dolly Chapman who started the Woodingdean Tea Rooms but it's possible. And you could walk through the rear of her gardens to Falmer Road. The world's first skateboard was invented by the kids of The Ridgway using one old roller skate and a piece of wood placed on top. The kids used to sit on it and skate the full length of The Ridgway pavement. Should you hit a slab not quite level with the rest, the skate would stop and you would be propelled down the pavement on the seat of your pants. Most lads on the street had the backside out of their trousers. At the north end there is a 1930s house that won a Daily Mail design.
By Robert Coe (09/10/2005)
Mr Coe: I remember those days very well. The skates we had at the time, if you were lucky to have two!, was Motion!! An old Beano Album on top of one skate was a buzz, the metal foot and heel steps would push into the hard back cover of your old, if not current, Annual - and then your off!! After a while, due to the loss of knuckles and heels of shoes, we decided to remove the leather toe and heel straps, remove the big butterfly nut that gave you foot adjustment, nail each end of the skate (nails too long bend over), add to old off cuts of scaffold board - sorted! From Bexhill Road down Cowley Drive and of course the Ridgway Run. The UK's First Skateboard.
By Roger Dean (28/12/2005)
Additional thoughts: Thank you Roger Dean for adding fact to my skateboard story. Perhaps you might remember the huge six-wheel go-cart that used to charge down Crescent Drive South at breakneck speed with up to eight kids on board? Woodingdean during WW2 was an exciting place for the children of the area. I am still in touch with some of them. Over the hills from the village was Ballsdean used by the Army for training purposes. This proved to be a great temptation for the local boys because live ammunition, mortar bombs and the like could be found and, sometimes 'borrowed'. One young lad and his pal brought home an explosive device of some kind. Putting it in a vice in their garden shed, they hit it with a hammer and it went off blowing the roof off the shed and taking the first finger and thumb off one of the lads. His mate received scrapnel in his stomach. I am pleased to say that both survived and are alive and well at the time of writing. This was just one of such incidents. I wonder how we would be judged in today's climate? On VE Day the lads of The Ridgway decided to hold a bonfire celebration with the street party. A huge bonfire was built around one of the street lights and put to the torch. The metal pole of the light consequently melted. Next morning when it had cooled down it was seen to have drooped so that the top of the pole reached halfway to the ground. Needless to say all hell broke loose next day but the culprits were never found. There are so many memories of the area to be told and for history's sake I ask others to contruibute. On the 50th Anniversary of VE Day a great many of the children who attended the celebrations in the Downs Hotel were brought together by my pal Ginger Weller for a re-union.
By Robert Coe (01/02/2006)
Dolly Chapman was was my mother. She worked at Joy's Cafe in Falmer Road. It was owned by someone called Chapman but he was no relation. My father grew up at Race Hill Farm and my grandparents lived at 130 The Ridgway which thy bought in the 1920s with the intention of running a chicken farm. I still bear the scars from falling off a home-made go-cart which careered down The Ridgway.
By Maureen Mcentee (nee Chapman) (31/05/2006)
Maureen Chapman: Are you the daughter of Dolly and Wally? If so I knew you well as a child. I also knew your Mum and Dad although I believe he was in the RAF during World War II and did not see much of him. Did he serve in Germany as a Flight Sergeant? I think I remember you - you had a very long garden at your house at the bottom of The Ridgway. At the bottom of the garden were apple trees which used to take the interest of the local lads for 'scrumping'. Your Mum caught us lads at 'scrumping' her apples one time and chased us off through the fields and woods which linked up through to Falmer Road at that time. Did Mr Lonegan live in the big, wooden house with a rambling garden, next door to you? I believe he was Canadian and wore a device to allow him to speak as he actually had a hole in his throat. There were two 'scrumper' lads in particular your Mum always made a bee-line for. No names but one lived in an asbestos house in The Ridgway. At the 50th anniversary of D-Day my oldest friend and best man at my wedding 'Ginger' Weller who lived at the top of The Ridgway brought together all the 'children' of the D-Day Party in the Downs Hotel. I am not sure whether you were there but a number from The Ridgway and Warren Farm School were there including the Browns, the Gosdens and the Purdys. Since that time I have moved back to Brighton from Ireland where I lived for 35 years and taken up my friendship with 'Ginger'. I have also been in correspondence with and also met Margaret Brown. They were happy days for which I have fond memories but like many ageing men I can rabbit on and on. But I feel that my memories are part of the simple history of the age and, as such, should be preserved.
By Robert Coe (11/07/2006)
Once upon the time I was living in 90 The Ridgway, Woodingdean. It was exactly 28 years ago. I went to Brighton Technical College and had a good time in Woodingdean with my family. Now, after so many years, I, my wife and our children are going to visit Brighton and obviously Woodingean. We are going to visit England for 5 days and I will be in Woodingdean on 22 July 2006. I can't tell you about my feelings and all the old memories in Brighton.
By Mohammed H. (17/07/2006)
Yesterday, July 27, 2006, I received a telephone call from William Head who now live in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Bill once lived in Eley Drive, Rottingdean, when he was about four years of age, next door to my wife who was four at the time. She claims he was her first boyfriend. Bill emailed a photograph to us to show the two of them together. Bill's family moved to The Ridgway, Woodingdean, quite near to where I lived with my grandparents in No 220, later re-numbered to No. 97. Around 1940/41, after I had been evacuated from London due to the blitz, we became pals through the mob of kids who lived in the area. I believe Bill's house was next door to a Mr Lidford who built my grandparents' bungalow in 1937. From our recent telephone consversation it transpired that we both worked for The Evening Argus around the same time but he worked in the Accounts department in North Street, while I was serving a printing apprenticeship in the printing works in Robert Street. They are now flats and apartments. He also said that my father who ran the Woodingdean Garage at the time acquired a tyre for his motor-cycle; no mean achievement in 1952/3. Bill found us again through this web-site. As did Maureen Chapman.
By Robert Coe (27/07/2006)
Hello Mohammad. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Woodingdean. After No 97 we went up to the top of The Ridgway to No. 10 and I left there in 1957 went to live in Eley Drive, Rottingdean, then to Falmer Road, Rottingdean. And to Dublin, Ireland, where I lived fo 34 years. Now back and living in Kemptown. Your house, No. 90, must have been on the opposite side of the road and up a bit from No. 97. Possibly it took the place of the Gosden's home. I also went to Brighton Technical College for a number of years and studied a variety of subjects.
By Robert Coe (27/07/2006)
Maureen Chapman: my grandfather Ronald George Chapman talked about relatives at Race Hill Farm where he would ride a horse. It would be great to find out more about relatives who lived at the farm.
By Shane Grover (29/07/2006)
Re Shane Grover 29-7-2006: I suggest you contact Peter Mercer, author of 'The Hunns Mere Pit', a history of Woodingdean. The Race Hill Farm and the Chapman family are written up in it on pages 98/99. I do not have Peter's address but his publisher is The Book Guild Ltd., 25 High Street, Lewes, Sussex. Peter's father built my grandparents' (the Halls') bungalow in The Ridgway, Woodingdean. I will also be contacting a lady who attends my wife's church as I believe she has the address of Maureen Chapman, now in Liverpool.
By Robert Coe (22/08/2006)

My father was George William Chapman and I know all about the Race Hill farm. I also know all relatives who lived there. Aunt Peggy is still alive and well, as is Uncle Roy and Uncle Gordon. Sadly the rest have passed away. It is nice to know that Cousin Maureen is about in Liverpool, and also Second Cousin Shane.

By Joyce Chapman (15/04/2007)

Hello Joyce Chapman, I'm Shane's mum, Pat. I and cousins Maureen and Sylvia would love to hear from you we're all into Family History.

By Patricia Grover (01/05/2007)

Hi Pat, it's nice to hear from my cousin. I haven't heard or seen you, Maureen or Sylvia for years. I have been trying to find out information about the farm, but I keep coming to dead ends. It is very strange if you ask me. I don't know what you three have come up with. Please stay in touch via breing@aol.com. I am now living in Wales, the best thing I ever did.

By Joyce Chapman (08/05/2007)

We lived at #61 from about 1960 or 61 to 1968 and then moved to Balsdean Road, from there we moved to Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and from there to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We had lots of fun rolling down the Ridgeway, going to Rudyard Kipling and flying kites free "got a tiger in your tank!" from the Gas station on the green around the corner.

By Deborah (16/07/2008)

I lived in a prefab in 13 Rudyard Road with my sister Edith and brother Ronnie. I attended Woodingdean Primary School from 1952 to 1959. I remember posting letters at the post box in the Ridgeway and walking to the Church hall to collect orange juice and dried milk with my mother. My father Ronald Latham played cricket for Downs C.C. We used to play on scrubland nicknamed 'the dump' which is now a park in Kipling Avenue. The names I can remember in the street were Cheeseman, Neame, Wilson, Hall, Bibby, Ward, Daniel, Boniface, Grooms, James, Weller, Kelly, Eke and Langridge. Does anyone remeber this?

By Malcolm Latham (09/08/2008)

Hello Malcolm, I don't know whether you remember me, only I'm your first cousin! Harold (my father) was your father's brother or one of them. What a small world. Sheer chance to stumble upon this site. Trust you are well.

By John Latham (01/12/2008)

Hi John, do I remember you? Yes I do and Marian and Alan and Auntie Bet. I remember you as a boy showing me your new football boots just before you played for Brighton Reserves against Aldershot. My Dad Ron, myself and Uncle Harold enjoyed many a moment at the Albion and in Kensington Gardens with your Dad's barrow of bric-a-brac.
My wife Phyll and I are tracing the family and we are back to 1812. Nice hearing from you. Keep in touch.

By Malcolm Latham (02/12/2008)

Hi all you Woodingdean oldies! I lived in Crescent Drive, then Lockwood Crescent and then we moved to Heronsdale Road when I was 12.  I went to Woodingdean Primary School then Elm Grove School for Girls.  My grandparents had the post office just down from the Downs Hotel where I worked with them from Christmas 1961.  We had some fun in those days walking over the fields and playing up the dump on the way to Mr Sweetman's Sunday School. Anyone remember?

By Lynda Whymark (nee Ruffle) (10/02/2009)

Did Wally Chapman at one time work for Ernie Brazier a local builder in the mid 50s building bungalows in Chalkland Rise and Downs Walley Road? I think Wally then did a variety of things. I last saw him in the mid 60s.

By Nigel Thomas (19/03/2009)

Wally Chapman was my uncle. My father Ron was his brother. Ron mentioned Ernie Brazier. Ron and Wally built many bungalows in Woodingdean and surrounding areas. Wally later had a greengrocery business. I am still in touch with his daughter Maureen.

By Patricia Grover (08/05/2009)

How disappointed I was to see on a recent trip to Woodingdean that my old family bungalow at No 10 had been pulled down to build new properties on and around the lot. It was a very badly constructed property, not the fault of the builder but due to the restrictions put on him by the shortage of materials available after WW2. Nearly everything used in it's construction a government license was required or were on a restriction notice, or just not available. You could have wooden floors but the you could not have internal doors due to the cronic shortage of timber. When people compare today's "recession" with that of the late 40's they are miles and miles off mark. Today's people would just not be able to survive under the conditions pertaining then. For the people of that era today's wealth would have been unimaginable to them.

By Robert Coe (24/06/2009)

Gosh, so many memories! I lived at 93, The Ridgway and remember the farm just up the road owned by the Christies. They used to bring round fruit and veg on a horse drawn cart - Molly was the cart-horse - and I well remember taking the bus from Woodingdean to Rottingdean with no money and without my mum knowing. Does anyone remember Yates in Warren Road and Robinsons, I think, who sold all dried goods in blue bags? I am coming 'home' next week and plan to walk down The Ridgway.

By Wendy MacKenzie (nee Rose) (05/08/2009)

Having seen all the contributors' names, Robert Coe is the only one I recall, but mention of some of the shop owners brings back memories. We moved to Woodingdean in 1940 and left to move into Brighton in 1958. Our bungalow in Falmer Road has gone and two houses seem to be there now (Google view). I went to Warren Farm school 1942 - 47 and Cubs and Scouts in Rottingdean. My late brother Keith, as a lad, helped Saturdays at the garage next to Robinson's. Farthing's grocers shop was next to Newbury's cafe. The post office was run by Mr & Mrs Goodenough. Joy's Cafe was owned by the Popes in the 50's. My Dad built a bungalow for my Grandmother (466 Falmer Rd) in 1947. It's good to see that Falmer Road still has houses on one side only. We used to collect wild mushrooms by the basket load. I also remember Joe on the 2A single decker - flag him down wherever you wanted !

By Ted Gordon (15/08/2009)

My sister went to school with Maureen Chapman who lived near us in the Ridgway. She had a brother called Alan who was about the same age as me. We often played in their garden. My name then was Una Mitchell and my sister is Brenda and my brother is John. We moved from the Ridgway to Patcham in about 1951. My brother is in touch with Bill Head who also lived round there. I think he had a sister Elizabeth and I used to play at their house.

By Una Aldridge (29/08/2009)

If Robert Coe is still about and sees this, does he have any more information on the bus driver called Joe that he mentioned? I believe this may have been a relative but have been unable to find out much more that was noted here. Thanks

By Sue (14/09/2009)

Hi Sue. Joe Purdy lived opposite my grandparent's house at No 97. I lived with them from 1940 as I was evacuated from the bombing in London. Joe taught my wife, Maureen Grigg from Rottindgdean, to drive. I have forgotten Joe's wife's name but they had three children: John, Josie and Michael. They lived next door but one to the Browns - Margaret Brown now lives in Ringmer, Eric in Wales, and Gay Brown I met at the 50 year VE Day re-union. Nicky, the youngest, was killed in a road accident in Australia some time ago. After my marriage I moved from No 10 The Ridgway to Rottigdean and then spent 30 years living in Dublin. I am now back in Kemp Town, Brighton, but, alas, live alone as my wife Maureen died last year. I am still in quite regular contact with Cyril (Ginger) Weller - the best man at my wedding in 1957 and see his brother Harold now and again. The next time I meet Cyril, who now lives in Hassocks, I will ask him if he has any more history on the Purdys as I believe they had a relative living at the top of the Ridgway named the Carys next door to the Pitaways. Across the way were the Johnson's - Fred - and Curly Mason. I had a notion that the Cary and Purdy families may have had Scottish or Irish connections.
To Ted Gordon, your brother Keith worked for my father Harry when he owned the Woodingdean Garage for a time. I believe I met Keith at the 50th VE Day celebrations in Woodingdean. I attended at Warren Farm School around the same time as you. Mr Peachy was the head. Miss Nash, Miss Rechless, and Miss Wills I remember. I am still in touch with Bill Head and Valerie, his wife. They live in Georgia, USA. The Heads lived in The Ridgway next to Mr Lidford who built my grandparents' bungalow at No 97. The Hayes lived near the Lidfords. Bill and my wife lived next door to each other pre WW2 in Eley Drive, Rottingdean and were five year old boy and girl friends. My wife's grandfather built all the houses in Eley Drive, Crescent and Meadow Close plus the parade of shops fronting Meadow Close.
To Wendy McKenzie, you must have lived four doors up from me next to the Hayes field. The Christies had a pig farm and grew vegatables which I used to collect. Two bungalows down I was allowed to inscribe my initials on the chimneys when those bungalows were being built. The Gosdens lived three doors down from there. Yates, or was it Yateman, the hairdressers is still there as is the original corrugated iron roofed building with a member of the Yastes/Yateman family still running the shop. The Robinsons had the shop next door to the Woodingdean Garage owned by my father. One of the Robinson girls married one of the farming West family and I went to Clakes College in Dyke Road, Brighton with Gerald West. The Downs Hotel was owned by the Leppard family and their daughter Sheila and I used to be teen boy/girl for a while. Do you remember Ray Biddle the milk delivery man? And Ernie Stevens the midnight baker?
This is all wonderful stuff. Perhaps we can keep it going on this sight and if you wish, to those who might know me personally, converse on the internet at alberthall123@gmail.com

By Robert Coe (13/10/2009)

Hi Robert. I only vaguely remember you. I lived next door to the Wickhams, and Betty and Elizabeth were the daughters. I certainly remember the Purdey's, especially Michael. The name Norman keeps popping into my mind, who lived a few doors down. Also Barty Barton, who lived near to the Purdey's. I remember Mr Lonigan, who lived at the bottom of the hill. Yes, the bread came around 7.00pm from Mr Stevenson - from Kemp Town? I went to school in Rottingdean and have a brother, Colin. I did my walk down the Ridgway on the 12th Aug. Not a lot changed, but got a shock as the bungalow at 95, the Wickham's, had been knocked down and rebuilt in a different style. Memories. Wendy Rose, now MacKenzie

By Wendy MacKenzie (nee Rose) (19/10/2009)

Message to Robert Coe: would he please contact me by email prm442@hotmail.co.uk asap. Thanks.

By Peter Mercer (11/12/2009)

I'm the daughter of Paul Chapman, born in 1934 who used to live at Wrights Farm in Wilsons Avenue with his brother Victor, mother Phylis and dad Albert. I would love to hear from anyone who may have any photos or information about them?

By Sharon Chapman (14/02/2010)

Hi Im the daughter of Jose (nee Purdie) and Frank Swaysland. My mum Jose was the daughter of Jose (Joe) Purdie and Barbara Purdie of 112, The Ridgway. They had 3 sons John, Michael and Anthony Purdie. My mum and dad still live in The Ridgway, next door to what used to be my Grandma and Grandad's house. Would love to know more.

By Liz Jupp (nee Swaysland) (25/02/2010)

To Liz Jupp nee Swaysland. Hi, I'm an ex submariner and 30 years ago two of our crew member died in a car crash and we never had a chance to pay our last respects. We are trying to track down one of them whose name was Kevin Whale the son of John Alfred Whale and a lady whose maiden name was Swaysland and later changed to Walker. Kevin was born in Brighton. We are trying to contact any of his family. Could you help - would this Swaysland be on your side of the family? Please contact me at bang.com@ukonline.co.uk

By Paul Williamson (11/04/2010)

Hello Liz, I remember the Purdies. Jose, John, Michael. Joe Purdie, the bus driver, taught my late wife, Maureen to drive. I met your Mum in the Woodingdean Social Hall at a party to celebtrate the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. I do not remember Anthony Purie. He must have arrived after I left No 96 which was named St Clair after my grannie Hall. The house where your Mum and Dad (is his name John Rolf?), if it is he, I bought a 1930 Austin Seven from him for £19 50 shillings I believe. When I lived in Woodingdean the house you now live in was just a field. I moved to Rottingdean when I married Maureen. Twelve years later we went to live in Dublin until 2004. Moving back to Kemptown. I am writing this from my son Christopher's house in Dublin. He has two children, James and Lauren, the latter being in a TV series and is now being auditioned for a new movie starring Sean Penn. The other son Stuart also has two children, Andrew and Aishling (she is at university in Dublin.) I remember your grandad- Joe used to have to walk home from the Whitehawk bus garage after his shift in all kinds of weather.

By Robert Coe (30/04/2010)

Hello again Liz Jupp. I am afraid that I have got mixed up with the name of the person who sold me an Austin Seven car. It was from John Rolf who live at the top of Crescent Drive North. John married Paula Gosden who had a brother Alec and lived just a few doors up from the Purdies. Alec married a woman who lived at the top of The Ridgway opposite the Knights. They had two daughters, Julie, who I believe lives near Hassocks, and Cynthia who lives in Canada. Mr Sid Knight was a builder who build most of the property along Warren Way and also build my house in Rottingdean.

By Robert Coe (13/06/2010)

Hello, my mum's maiden name was Peggy Chapman. I'm sorry i didn't realise I had so many cousins out there that I have never met. I used to live at 57 Kipling Avenue and I remember Uncle Wally lived around the corner from me. I've probably met cousin Maureen but I'm sorry i can't remember. The cousins I met most were Joyce, Elaine, Julie, Vic, Paul and Pearl. We were one of the last families to move out of the prefabs before they were demolished and moved to Moulsecoomb. Auntie Phyllis and Uncle Vic used to deliver logs in the area and I could always remember Uncle Vic's moustache tickling as he kissed us goodbye. My nan who used to live at Race Hill farm, now lived at Freshfield Road .I also remember me and my brothers fighting in Nans back garden with Uncle Gordon and Uncle Roy. My mum has a loverly old photo of my uncles together going on a jolly boys outing. I would love to here from cousins, second cousins or anybody from the prefabs.

By Gary Swallow (21/09/2010)

Hi all, my Grandad is trying to find out where he was evacuated during the London bombings, His name is Peter Cheeseman and he was evacuated when he was about 6? If his name rings any bells with anyone it would be greatly appreciated as I think he would then like to try and get in contact with people who remember him! Thanks if you can help.

By Gemma Rajkumar (18/10/2010)

I have just stumbled across this page and recognized a lot of names and businesses. Colin my brother and I were brought up at 69 and left around 1965. Many of the names bring back memories eg Colin and Wendy Rose, the Wickhams, Ray Biddle,  Mr Sweetman’s shop, Mr.Goodenough, Post Office, Prices ironmongers. The memory may bring back more. I live in west Wales now but will continue to read the site.

By Derek Penfold (18/12/2010)

My name is Pauline Stevens and I am a long time close friend of Gordon Chapman who used to live at Race Hill Farm. I have visited his sister Peggy Swallow nee Chapman a few times with him. Gordon now lives in Horsham and I look after him as he has dementia now. Although he is not very well he talks of Race Hill all the time and the horses his dad had and his brothers and sisters. He obviously loved the farm very much as it crops up in his conversations many times. If anyone has any pictures of the farm could they please send some to him as he only has a couple and would love to see others. He now lives at 58 Greenacres, Horsham RH12 2TB. Thank you.

By Pauline Stevens (11/01/2011)

To Pauline Stevens for Gordon Chapman. He is my uncle, I am the daughter of Wally Chapman, his brother. My daughter has done research on the Chapman family and I would be pleased to post details on to you at the Horsham address. To Una Hi. I remember you, Brenda and John. You and my brother are the same age and Brenda and I would push you both out in your prams also accompanied by Pauline Muir and her brother Lionel. My brother Alan is now retired and living near Portsmouth.

By Maureen McEntee (Chapman) (04/02/2011)

I lived at the Balsdean Road end of the Ridgeway from 1945 to 1954. The house has gone now, pulled down, and several houses built on the site. My father was the vet and we also had kennels and a cattery there. I used to play with Roy Dingwell and Martin who lived two doors up from him. We got into trouble with Mr Price for digging his potatoes up in the little veg garden he had next to our house. Between our house and the house on the corner of Ballsdean Road. Anybody out there who remembers us?

By Tim Davies (13/02/2011)

Hello Gary. I came to your prefab in 1957 on your mum's birthday. I remember she had a lovely cake. I took you and your brother to school in the afternoon while she and my dad [Ron] had a chat. We used to have lovely Christmases and Sunday teas at Gran and Grandads.

By Patricia Grover (15/02/2011)

Hi Tim, I don't think I remember you, but I certainly do the Vets. I kept two of my horses more or less opposite in the field at the back, but I think you must have moved by then as it would have been 1959. Mrs Jacoby, I think, owned the field. Is Mr Price the man who had a shop in the village - the butchers I think?

By Wendy MacKenzie, nee Rose (22/02/2011)

Hi Wendy. When we moved in 1954 (I was nine), the house was bought by two ladies who ran it just as a cattery for several years before it was sold and pulled down. Mr Price was the man who owned the hardware and several businesses in Woodingdean. By the way he called in the local policeman who lived in Warren road. "Jack". Anybody remember him also?

By Tim Davies (26/02/2011)

Futher to my above comments, my mother had the hairdressers in Warren Way, next to the butchers. It's still there. Her name was Barbara Davies, does anyone remember her?

By Tim Davies (01/03/2011)

Hello Patricia, I don't recall you visiting our prefab, but we must have met at nan's house in Freshfield Road at one of her parties. I recall a lot of uncles, aunts and cousins there, sitting around the big table in the dining room, where cousins Elaine and Joyce would pull funny faces to make me laugh so I got told off. I also recall cousin Joyce having lovely long eyelashes, I don't know if she took after Mum or Dad, but Uncle George and Aunt Ivy had long eyelashes. Pauline, I'm sorry to hear about Uncle Gordon, I always remember Uncle Gordon's love of cars. I last met Gordon at a car show in Horsham. The funniest memory is when he turned up at Mum's in a big black American hearse with big chrome lights all over the roof, that scared a few of the neighbours. Love to you all.

By Gary Swallow (06/03/2011)

Hello Gary. It's possible we didn't meet after that one time because your group of cousins were six or seven years younger than me. When I visited your mum grandad had recently died so I suppose the parties stopped. Gran sometimes came to Seaford so we had regular news of your family. My brother Peter also liked fancy cars. At one time he had a Thunderbird and years later a red Ferrari. Cars are in the Chapman blood. My dad and Roy had stock-cars as did two of my sons and their cousin.

By Patricia Grover (12/03/2011)

Gary, I remember well sitting around that big table, Elaine and me making you laugh. They used to split me and Elaine up, not let us sit together: we were funny. Yes still got the long eyelashes. I am in touch with your Mum and Dad and Sue and Jen. Hello Pat hope you are keeping well.

By Joyce Chapman (27/03/2011)

Hello Gary and Joyce. Hope you are both well. Fifteen months ago a great granddaughter arrived and two weeks ago another granddaughter. Grandchild number nine. The eldest one is 25 so quite a gap. Best Wishes.

By Pat Grover (10/04/2011)

Hello Patricia, congratulations on the birth of your new granddaughter, and great granddaughter? I have one grandson & four granddaughters. Hello Joyce, its been a long time since I heard from you - I was round Mum's when you were on the phone to her and I mentioned your eyelashes, sorry to keep on about them, it's funny how you remember people! Cousin Maureen, I went to an exhibition in Woodingdean called Then & Now, and I met some friends of yours there. I met Peter Mercer who talked fondly of you. I also met a gentleman called Ivor Levett who loved your mum and dad as they practically adopted him, and he told me he used to work for your dad. I also met a gentleman called Reg Dennis, who with a sly grin, told me he didn't like the Chapmans, and used to have stone fights with my uncles!. Maureen, I know you lived around the corner from us and I remember Uncle Wally driving around with his fruit and veg lorry, but I never remember ever crossing the road to see Uncle Wally or Aunt Dolly. I remember you had a big glass lean-to conservatory on the side of your bungalow. Coming around the corner from Kipling Avenue to the Ridgeside, there used to live a builder and my brothers and I used to climb on the bricks and build castles etc. I also recall going to Sunday school with Mr Sweetman on a coach and he used to give you threepence if it was your birthday. Love to you all and please stay in touch 

By gary swallow (13/04/2011)

Hello Gary,thanks for the congratulations. I hope for no more grandchildren as it's difficult to remember all their names and birthdays! I do remember things like my Dad and one of his brothers riding their motorcyles up the Ridgway with no lights. There was a police box at the top and a policeman,on the lookout for them. They pushed the bikes when near the top.He always asked if they had been riding them. He used to go in the police box for a smoke and asked them to watchout for the sergeant. One night he was in there and they turned the box round so he couldn't get out. There was a lot of swearing coming from the box. Innocent fun! It makes me feel old to hear you have grandchildren. You'll never seem more than seven to me. Take Care. Pat.

By Pat Grover (16/04/2011)

Hi Gary, I am your cousin and am in touch with Maureen, and see Sue every week. My brothers are Bob and Paul, my eldest brother Jim died two years ago. Reading all of your comments brought back so many memories; the farm and later Christmas at Freshfield Road with all of the family. My mum was your mum's sister Doris, and my dad was Jim. Maureen sent me a card and told me about this website. Sylvia Fraser.

By Sylvia Fraser (20/04/2011)

Hello Patricia, I found out that my dad Colin used to work for your dad, also that aunt Olive was a very beautiful women. My mum is sorting out some of her wedding photos that have got uncle Ron & aunt Olive in. My mum also told me that your dad (uncle Ron) was the first Chapman to be born at Racehill Farm, so uncle Wally, uncle Vic (Albert) and aunt Doris were born elsewhere. So who lived at Racehill Farm before grandad Walter moved in? Mum told me she, at one time, worked for Tommy Price the butcher,and then Marks & Spencers. In the dark winter months with no street lighting, mum used to follow the handrail of the racetrack where grandad Walter cut a notch in the handrail to tell her she was home. Cousin Sylvia, I remember you very well, I remember your mum (aunt Doris) lived at Frederick Place and she used to visit mum a lot. I'm sorry to hear about the death of cousin Jimmy. Was it Jimmy or Bobby who is the spitting image of uncle Gordon? Peter Mercer, at the Woodingdean Exhibition I asked if you knew who used to ride a motorbike across Racehill Farm. I asked mum and she said it was Douglas Holland.

By gary swallow (22/04/2011)

I have not posted anything on this fascinating site for some time so I am amazed to read that the little piece I wrote about skate boards on the 8th October, 2005, has sparked all this interest from far and wide about our time in this strange little village just outside of Brighton. Even more strange is that I was on a No 7 bus from Castle Square to the Royal Sussex Hospital about a month ago when I spied a tall male passenger strap hanging and chatting to a lady sitting on one of the side seats. The bus was very crowded as usual so I could not get up out of my seat and take a closer look until it came to my destination. Then I took my chance on the side view and the eyes that I knew well and call out 'are you Ivor Levett?' It was. He was struck silent for a second or two and we had about 20 seconds to cover 40 years of history between us before I had to get off the bus. What a great old world we live in. Ivor worked for the Post Office as line foreman. Does anyone else remember him?

By Robert Coe (28/04/2011)

Hello Gary,I didn't know my dad was the first to be born at Racehill in 1916. Brighton Corporation took over the farm about 1923 when great grandad William Chapman died. The family lived for a time in Bonchurch Street. I'm still trying to put the Chapman Family together. I can't get beyond William Chapman 1786 Wootton Northants.I believe they were Non Conformists which makes it difficult. I do remember your Dad coming to our house before he started work,and seeing him with your Mum at my Dad's funeral in 2005. Give them my love.

By Patricia Grover (01/05/2011)

Hello Gary. Thank you for your reply. My brother Bob and Gordon were quite similar - both dark haired, very much taking after the Chapman looks. Jim was quite blonde and more like my dad. Gordon, Jim and Bob palled around together in their younger days and all had a good sense of humour. We were sorry to hear Gordon is poorly, I know he and your mum were close. Our cousin Maureen is in touch with me and passed on information that cousin Pat had traced our ancestors. My mum and youngest brother Paul used to visit your mum quite often. Last time I saw her was at my brother Bob's wife's funeral. Hope you and your family are well.

By Sylvia Fraser (02/05/2011)

Hello Patricia, Joyce, Sylvia and Maureen. I went to see mum, to look at some of her photos. Sylvia I've met your dad, Uncle Jim. He came to see mum and dad when I was little. Robert Coe, I keep seeing your name appear in these pages, so I asked mum (Peggy Swallow) nee Chapman about you. Mum said she went to school with you and remembers you along with Ivor Levett and Reg Dennis. Mum tells me her stories about Racehill Farm and Woodingdean. I've read Peter Mercer's book about the Chapmans, but have you any stories about my mum? Next time p will tell about my memories in the Prefabs. Love to Patricia, Joyce, Sylvia and Maureen.

By Gary Swallow (29/05/2011)

Hello Gary. I seem to have started something with my early comments in 2005. I am delighted that it has spread the way it has. I left Woodingdean in 1957, married and moved to Rottingdean, then moved, with wife and two children to Dublin, Ireland in 1971 to work for The Irish Times. I actually started out my career as a copy boy on the Evening Argus. My two sons married and now I have four Irish grandchildren as they still live in Dublin. Maureen and I moved back to Brighton in 2004 to retire. I am still here but my wife died in 2008.
Peggy Chapman - I remember being at the old Warren Farm School. A scary, cold place it was. I met Ivor on a No 7 bus in Brighton about three months ago after so many years. I live near Cyril (Ginger) Weller who lived at the top of The Ridgway opposite a couple of the pre-fabs and have met his brother Rookie some two years back. Other than that the stories are fading now. Perhaps you could jog my memory. I do remember Dolly and the house at the bottom of The Ridgway and her husband whose name escapes me but he was a sergeant in the RAF and served in WW2. Strangely I was at the Saltdean Lido today and met a photographer from My Brighton and Hove who was covering the Mayor's visit to an event held to try to preserve the Lido from final closure. I believe he took my photograph with her ladyship.

By Robert Coe (05/06/2011)

I have been reading the various comments on this page. Although I lived in Whitehawk, my brother and I and various mates used to visit Woodingdean regularly. We walked up over the East Brighton golf course and along to Balsdean. We left the main road and climbed a gate so that we could get into the area where we knew there were mortar bombs and other 'interesting' things to be found. I remember throwing a mortar bomb on one occasion and we were all disappointed that it didn't explode. We also occasionally found a dead sheep or calf. When we climbed the first gate there were lots of cow skulls which had a hole in their forehead where they had been killed, presumably at the local abattoir in Hollingdean.

By Graham Sharp (05/06/2011)

Hi Chapman cousins, I have found a photo of Race Hill farmhouse. It's in the James Gray Collection North East Brighton Volume 27 Images 129-144, 3rd row down. I was so pleased to find it and I know you will be too. Gary, I was going to post your mum a copy but couldn't remember her house number.

By Pat Grover (22/02/2012)

Hi Pat. I found the photo of Racehill Farm on the James Gray Collection. Very interesting site - could spend hours looking at old Brighton. It is very nice reading news from people who lived in the Ridgway in the time I was living at 130.

By Maureen McEntee (nee Chapman) (05/03/2012)

Hello Patricia. Sorry I haven't been on this page for some time, but I have a bit of a health problem, I'm still waiting for results. I've seen the pictures of Wrights farm in the James Gray collection and I'll go see Mum and show her. I went to Dave Moore's funeral last year and met cousins Pearl, Paul, Sylvia and Bobby. Talking to Sylvia, I mentioned a photo Mum gave me of Uncle George and Aunt Ivy's wedding. Sylvia telling me the dress she wore was yellow. It was nice to see uncles, aunts and cousins in their younger days. Patricia's mum was right - Aunt Olive was a beautiful woman, also that Aunt Olive used to babysit my dad. I asked Mum why she wasn't in the photo and she said she was in Plymouth army barracks giving birth to me. So, Cousin Joyce, I was born on your mum and dad's wedding day. Mum said the entrance to the farm had two big trees either side of the gateposts. The farm was demolished and the trees chopped down, these two trees are now regrowing, marking the entrance to the farm. Looking amongst the long grass and brambles you can still see the footings and small walls of the farm. Robert Coe, the sergeant in the RAF was my Uncle Wally married to Aunt Dolly at the bottom of The Ridgeway. I've still got to tell you about life in the prefabs.
Second cousin Sharon - get in touch. I've found a picture of your grandad Albert in 1930. Sorry Sharon, I still remember him as Uncle Vic. Love to you all.
Patricia - I've got another granddaughter due in May.

By Gary Swallow (09/03/2012)

Hello Gary, I'm sorry you have not been well, and I hope the test results come back good. Unfortunately as we get older we have more medicines by our beds. I didn't know my mum knew your dad before he met your mum. I sent Gordon a copy of the photo but it was returned a week later. So he has either died or gone into a home. Congratulations for your new granddaughter. You'll need to get fit - they wear you out! Our youngest one is a year old this month and she's certainly the Boss. Lovely to hear the trees are coming back to life. Take care. Pat

By Patricia Grover (11/03/2012)

Further memories of The Ridgway in the 1950s. Does anyone remember the Keating family, Brian the eldest was in the RAF, Doug was at Varndean Grammar School and the youngest a girl called Katy? Next door was a family called Duff with one son and one daughter. On the corner of The Ridgway and Kipling Avenue there was a bungalow (built by my Dad before the war). A Miss Grey lived there and during the war she had an evacuee living there with his nanny, she was called Mrs Newton and the young boy was named Roger Cooper. I remember him well as when my Mum was in hospital I stayed at the bungalow, approx 1944. He was captured in Iran and spent about five years in solitary confinement. After all these years I recognised his photo on his release many years ago. Has anyone else got memories of these names?

By Maureen McEntee (nee Chapman) (08/04/2012)

Does anyone remember my aunt and uncle, Ivy and Jim Bradshaw?They lived at 131 The Ridgeway. With them lived my nan Jane Parsons. What about Ted and Brenda Parsons? They lived originally inthe prefabs at Lockward Crescent, then moved to Heronsdale Road. I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers or knew them.

By John Parsons (10/04/2012)

To John Parsons. I lived at 130 and remember your Aunt and Uncle. My mother Dolly Chapman went to Rottingdean C of E School with Jim Bradshaw and somewhere I have a school photograph of Mum and Jim taken in the 1920s. He worked for Taylor's Coaches at Rottingdean and then later with Cyril Pavey as driver at the Charrington's Brewery in Kemp Town. Hope this small bit of info. will be of interest to you. Maureen McEntee (Chapman)

By maureen mcEntee (18/04/2012)

Extremely interesting,thank you. I remember Jim driving the coach. I believe my dad Charlie Parsons also went to Rottingdean school.They have long gone, of course. 

By John Parsons (22/04/2012)

To Maureen, I've recently found some photos taken on the back lawn of 131. They are labeled "Our nieghbours", so I would assume that you are amongst the youngsters there. I'm still trying to find Ted and Brenda Parsons and cousin Jill. Of course they may have simply passed away.

By John Parsons (23/04/2012)

Hi Gary. Sorry to hear you have been unwell, I  hope you're better now. It was good to meet up with you although sadly it was at Dave's funeral. I have a lovely photo of your Mum's wedding, I will try and get a copy to you. Love reading this page, really interesting to see everyones different memories. Best wishes, cousin Sylvia.

By Sylvia Fraser (25/04/2012)

My family lived at 131 The Ridgeway for many years. Ted and Brenda Parsons, of course, lived in the prefabs in Lockwood Crescent until being rehoused at 6 Heronsdale Road. Does anyone remember them, or better still know where they are now? Even if Ted and Brenda have passed away, my cousin Jill should still be around.

By John Parsons (18/12/2012)

Hello John Parsons. I think your cousin Jill is the Jill nee Parsons who married into the Calligan family from Rottingdean, they had the bookmakers at the time (many years ago now). If so, she was my first girlfriend, I worked on the local farm at the time (early sixties) - Col Filkins was the farmer. Anyway, if you do contact her, or if she reads this, I would love to know how she is getting on.

By Tim Davies (12/01/2013)

To Gary Swallow. Hello Gary, just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear about Peggy and Terry. Peggy was such a bubbly person. Please give my condolences to Colin and the rest of the family. Pat Grover.

By Pat Grover (11/07/2013)

I remember Jim and Ivy Bradshaw. They lived on the same side of the Ridgway as my Grandad and Grandma Hall. Between the two bungalows was a field partly cultivated. I am Robert Coe. I moved to Rottingdean when I married Maureen Grigg, then to Dublin, Ireland, returning to Eaton Court, Eaton Place, Kemp Town in 2004. Maureen died in 2008 and in 2014 I moved back to Ireland and have now bought another house in Greystones there. Maureen is buried in Upper Callery, County Wicklow near the Sugarloaf Mountain which I can see from the garden of my new house.

By Robert Coe (29/10/2014)

Hi Robert. Jim and Ivy Bradshaw was my aunt and uncle. Ivy was originaly Ivy Parsons, being the sister of Ted Parsons and sister of my dad Charlie Parsons. They lived at 131 The Ridgeway. Both are long gone now of course. For a while Jim drove coaches for Taylor's Coaches based at the Downs Hotel. Nice to know you.

By J Parsons (30/10/2014)

Hi Chapman cousins, my name is Nick Chapman, son of Gordon Chapman of Racehill Farm. I've heard many stories over the years from dad. I didn't realise there were so many of us. If any of you want to get in touch you can email me: nickchapman12@hotmail.co.uk

By Nick Chapman (19/11/2014)

Have just found this site, very interesting. I too was evacuated from London in the early 40s to stay at a house in The Ridgway. I don't remember a lot other than collecting snails at the bottom of Balsdean Road  (just a track up to the pumping station) with my brother and I waiting for my father who was in the army to visit as the buses turned round at the shops in Warren Way. It must have left an impression as in 1973 when I got married we bought a bungalow just six doors away in the Ridgway and have been here ever since, (42 years how time flies). So as the family grew up we have seen a few changes.

It seems my son carried on the  skateboard tradition which I was not aware of by going down The Ridgway on a skateboard on more than one occasion when he was younger much to my consternation  My daughter married and still lives in Woodingdean to bring up the next generation of Woodingdeaners. 

By Ren Nowak (10/10/2015)

In 1963 I took over the lockup shop in Rudyard Road junction to Kipling Avenue. The whole area was full of prefabs, at that time most of them were empty just a very few remained with people in. By the time all the people left, the area building work started in Kipling Avenue. In 1965 the council offered us a plot of land in Lockwood Crescent for us to build another shop, which we did. In 1971 we moved to The Ridgway and still there today, made quite a few friends including the two brothers Goodenough, Robin and Sid. Sorry to say Robin passed away in December. I spoke to Sid on Christmas Eve but he was having trouble with a hip problem, difficult to get around;I think the home care service is looking after him.

Any of the old customers who remember the old shop would like to hear from you.

By Pete Rose (29/01/2016)

Hello everyone and how fantastic that purely by accident I found this enthralling website, I can't believe it! My dad lived in The Ridgeway as a child, his name is Charles (Bob) Weller, he had a sister (Thora) and two brothers Harold (Rookie) and Cyril (Ginger). Sadly we lost dad in August 1981 and he was buried in the cemetery next to what was Fitzherbert Secondary School, now I believe Nuffield Hospital. I am the youngest daughter of Charles and Mary Weller but as time has passed there are just two of us left as my brother and one sister have now passed away. I would really love to know if any of my dad's siblings are still alive as I know very little of dad's family and would love to make contact with any of them if anyone could help me that would be so special. If anyone can help please email me at: englishrosehove@yahoo.co.uk which would be so amazing! Thank you in anticipation, Angela ??

 

By Angela Pettett (nee Weller) (01/04/2016)

I thought I would add some information about my family connections to Woodingdean after reading all these wonderful stories about the past. I am not sure of the dates but my mother lived in Woodingdean as a child.My grandfather owned the wet fish/fish and chip shop that was next to the tea rooms in Falmer Road.It would be where the garage is now in those days the garage was a lot smaller then.My mothers name was Irene Emsley she also had a brother called Alfie or Alfred, my mother is now 91 years old and still lives in Woodingdean. She remembers playing in the tea room gardens how long they lived there I do not know as my grandfather would often sell and move on. After she got married we moved in to a new house in Foxdown Road where me and my sister Diane lived. When my sister and I went to school my mother worked as cook at Woodingdean school then Longhill School. I still live in Crescent Drive sSouth and brought up my family here. I have many happy memories of Woodingdean past and present.  

By David Powell (17/08/2017)

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