Introduction to Mile Oak

Views of Mile Oak in 1940

By David Elliott

This is a picture of the old waterworks taken in 1940 which incorporated an impressive steam powered beam engine. It was subsequently replaced by a modern building with electric pumps in 1961.

The view of Mile Oak was also taken in 1940 and shows the original village with its extent ending in Chrisdory Road to the north and Stanley Avenue to the east. This is the view that many may still remember.

Photo:Mile Oak Waterworks March 1940

Mile Oak Waterworks March 1940

From the private collection of David Elliott

Photo:Mile Oak from Southwick Hill: March 1940

Mile Oak from Southwick Hill: March 1940

From the private collection of David Elliott

This page was added on 01/04/2008.
Comments about this page

Thank you David for the photos, the memories of walking up to the Water Works, and then on the hill to the dew pond, and to the left on a bank of sweet smelling grass surrounded by yellow flowered, prickly gorse bushes, and around Easter time violets growing, and maybe an occasional primrose. The view of 'old' Mile Oak, brought tears to my eyes from happy childhood memories; the streets seemed to go on forever. The kids in the new council houses at the paddocks joined in playing racing games starting at the bottom of Beechers Road, up to Sefton, then down Stanley into Foxhunters back to the starting point (Beechers and Stanley had slight hills). One kid would run the course as stated and the other would go in the reverse direction, who would win, what a healthy way to pass the long hours of school holidays? Thank you again I hope you have plenty more pictures.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (02/04/2008)

Yes  - used to all walk to the Water Works get a nice drink of water from the tap on the wall outside.Then we could walk through the gorse and go up what they used to call the Dewpond. The lovely fresh air and the views, and the wild strawberries we used to pick.
David I think I even remember you. We may have a shared interest in a wooden rocking horse as kids.
I was home at Christmas but did not get to Mile Oak. Everyone is now global you never know where I shall end up.
Cheers From Idaho

By Lynne (Abbott) Neidhardt (07/04/2008)

Hi Lynne
You may see on the Mile Oak page that we are planning a get together for kids from the 30's-40's and 50's on July 27-28th. With your input and memory and hopefully your presence, we can put together so much more for Mile Oak Revisited. Mary, David and Pat Bunting and myself have taken on this delightful plan and thanks to email and the internet plans are going along at a rapid pace. Contact Bonnycother@yahoo.com if you would like to contribute, by memories and or would be able to join us.
I had forgotten the tap on the wall outside the waterworks, lovely cold fresh water.
And thank you for the additional names of those living on the corner of Sefton Road. Do you remember Joan Stanford in the black wooden house? She is living in Graham Ave now, her son Clive lives in Australia. And lucky you, your mother still alive. My dad passed away two years ago age 92.

By BonnyCother/Veronica Bentley (08/04/2008)

Lynne, I am David's sister. We still have the Rocking Horse. My Grandson is now playing on it. As you were home at Christmas I don't suppose you will be able to make the reunion in July. If you can't we will think of you.

By Mary Smith/Elliott (08/04/2008)

I cannot believe you still have that rocking horse. That totally blows my mind. I remember riding it, it sat in the hallway. I call my mum every Saturday, hopefully she is coherent and I will tell her about the rocking horse, maybe it will lift her spirits. The lady that lived next door to you up Mile Oak, mum used to call her Queenie, she was still alive a couple of years ago as she used to see my mum when she worked in Help The Aged in Portslade; Was her name Mrs Barbour?
I would love to come home again, but right now the cost is a killer and this year I must travel to see my kids who are all back in the Eastern part of the USA. Also I'I a great nanny now - boy I'm old. Anyway keep in touch look after that horse, god knows where my mum got it, would love to know its an antique as its over 60 years old.

By Lynne (10/04/2008)

Lynne, Dad did the rocking horse up years ago when I had my children. I renovated him for my grandson. It now has new paint, new saddle, new mane and tail, new reins and stirrups, and also quite a lot of polyfiller. Queenie is Mrs Harbour and she is still living in her bungalow at the top of Chrisdory, not quite next door to us, just up the road a bit. She is in her mid nineties now and still getting about. Dad died in 2005 at 91 and mum died in 2006 also 91.
Sorry you won't be able to get home for the reunion. Maybe next time you are over.

By Mary Smith/Elliott (11/04/2008)

Glad to know that the horse is still alive and well. Something made today would never last that long. I think Queenie must be closer to late 90s; mum is 95 and Queenie was older than her. I must say they have long lives. Must have been the Sussex air and all the hard work they did in the old days. Mum had told me Queenie looked after her husband for years. I think she said he was blind? When I came home I stayed in Hangleton for a week and checked out Easthill Drive. The old house was a mess. Mum used to have a beautiful garden. New people knocked the wall down and put the car there.

By Lynne (12/04/2008)

Hi Lynne, if you lived in Easthill Drive, you probably new the Hill family, three sisters? Carolyn was my age and we worked together at the Southern United engraving factory, downtown Portslade, the old village really. Carolyn and I went to work at a holiday camp in Norfolk then lost contact, until many years later I bumped into her in Western Australia, a small shopping center in Bassendean. She had not changed one bit. Her parents lived on for many years in their old home. I have again lost contact with Carolyn.
I remember the rocking horse and Mary and Ann's home, used to be in their bedroom/playroom, by the window, I used to ride it.
I wonder if anywhere there are the original plans of construction of Mile Oak, who chose the name, and a decent map of the old area.

By Bonny Cother/ Veronica Bentley (16/04/2008)

Hi Bonny, Mrs Hill was two doors up from us, Pat was in my class. I saw Janet moons ago when I think I was still in Germany. Mr Hill used to walk up and down to his allotments Moggy they called him, really nice old man he was. And I even remember his dad, they were so much alike. Would be interesting to find out who named Mile Oak. I wonder if it was the name of a Horse? I suppose we had better try and find out who did name our nice little village.

By Lynne (17/04/2008)

We have found several maps of old Mile Oak that we are getting printed in time for the reunion.

By Mary Smith/Elliott (17/04/2008)

Hello Mary, that sounds interesting about the maps. I did try to google the history or who named Mile Oak but no luck. Is there anyway you can send me a photo of the horse?
I just talked to Mum, she said she can still see that bloke with the horse on the barrow. She asked him what was he going to do with it?
Mum also mentioned a couple of actors used to live up Mile Oak, but could not remember their names. Funny she perks up when I talk about Queenie said she rented that house the whole time shes lived there. I am sure she coiuld have bought it twice or maybe more.

By Lynne (19/04/2008)

What an interesting web site. I was in the TA in the early 1960s and had a friend who lived at Mile Oak, he was accidentally shot on the hills and died as a result. Does anyone remember this, I wish I could remember his name, can anyone help?

By Alan Frost (20/04/2008)

Lynne, if you send me your email address I will send you a photo of the Horse. You can get in touch with me at MPythonEsq@aol.com.

By Mary Smith (20/04/2008)

When you look at the above postcards you have to admit we had the best playing fields in the whole world. Safe - without danger and miles of downland to run and keep fit. Why did we ever want to leave such a small part of paradise? Why did construction have to swallow up so much of the downs and our playing fields. We had it all and then some.

By Bonny Cother/ Veronica Bentley (16/05/2008)

Does anyone remember the Gravett family from Mile Oak Road? I was born in 1956 and lived in Mile Oak till I got married at 18. My grandmother Jessie and grandad Ernest my father also Ernest and his brother Robin, all grew up in Mile Oak. I have three sisters and one  brother. My great grandad had a nursery in Mile Oak -  does anyone know anything about this?

By Hazel Carter (Gravett) (04/02/2009)

Hi Hazel. I went to St Nicholas Junior School with your brother Christopher. In Mr Oliver's class he used to have a bad habit of pinching my leg. lol, until my dad told me to pinch him back. I wondered if he remembered it. I was a new girl. My dad had just left the RAF. I then became a Red House Captain in Mr Slack's class. Also I am the great neice of Mrs Joan Stanford mentioned above. Would also like to know if anyone has any memories of my grandparents Fred Agace / Eva Agace nee Stanford living in Portslade?

By Debbie Matthews (nee Adams) (12/12/2009)

It was indeed a piece of paradise. How I long to be back there, I am sure I will at least visit one day.

By Cindy Miller (Cynthia Burton) (24/01/2010)

I also went to St Nicolas junior school and Mr Slack scared me!!!! Wonder if any of you remember me. There was also Ian Ferguson and Peter White and Robin White. I remember Rosemary Green and a little lady called Hazel. I was in Miss Peter's class and also Miss Jansan or Janson's. Both very nice lady teachers. I have found memories of making paper chains and getting ready for the nativity's, and coming out one afternoon to find about a foot of snow! I think I was in red team then but it's so long ago I can't really remember. I stood on the pathway looking down into Miss Peters old classroom back in Sept last year and took quite a few pictures of all the schools there - it seems it's now an infants' school these days. Of course I started off with the Infants' school on the corner, which now seems to have grown an extra floor level! I also went to the school across the road with the patterned roof but I'm blowed if I can remember what it was like inside, or the teachers there. Did any of you lot go there too? I didn't go to the new school up the road - up Loxhill on the right, but we went straight to the old secondary mod school - the old Windlesham house. Happy innocent days anyway. Paul Edwards itsmepaul57@gmail.com

By Paul Edwards (29/01/2010)

Hi Debbie, Joan Stanford used to look after me while my mum worked at the LCC school. On Saturday evenings, mum and I would go watch tv with Joan and Ray. Is Joan still alive - do you visit her? I went through the school system with Clive, and have in times past visited Jane and Clive in their first home in Australia. I recall a Mr. Slack at St. Nicholas junior school, I believe he came from the boys school and was one to be feared. As I recall the school opposite with the fancy roofing tiles, was a dark, very old fashioned interior, with old style desks, a Ms Gobells taught the class I was in, for one year only, en route from the infant school to the junior school. Cannot recall much of the class work or playing in the playground......just dark and overwhelming class room. I love Mile Oak and would encourage everyone to purchase the 'Mile Oak, Birth of a Community' book, there are so many interesting stories in it, and of course the history of our childhood playground. Bonny

By Bonny Cother (28/03/2010)

I remember Southern United factory well. It was here in about April 1973 I smoked my first joint at aged fifteen during the lunch break. The place was full of working class longhairs - I was in heaven. One chap Chris was revered because he had hair down to his waist and had lived through the 1960s. He used to sell small wraps of waccy baccy on a Saturday morning and earned more than the rest of us who were all doing a shift on overtime. Does anyone remember Skid, Mac, Pug, Keith 'Faron Young' Slater and Charlie Freeland?

By Steve Andrews (23/02/2011)

It was Ms. Bogle who taught at the old infant school building. Ms. Gobles was the hairdresser in the old village, a row of shops right on the corner opposite a huge barn. A step down into the shops. I believe the barn was of historical value but had to be removed for the comfort of bus drivers manouvering that corner. I enjoying reading the memories of old Mile Oak and Portslade. I dont know about waccy baccy at the factory, when I worked there in the 50s we all smoked like chimneys- regular ciggys brought or "put on the book" from Harry the first floor "boss" of about 15 females. He made sure we worked all day with limited toilet breaks. Of course we chatted throughout our work time. I made loads of friends there.

By Bonny Cother (26/04/2011)

I was in Ms Bogle's class at St Nicholas Infants around 1950/51 - indeed dark, cold & splintery desks! Does anyone remember me or my sisters, Maureen (b.1942) & Linda (b.1952)? I was born in 1946 and we lived at 56 Brasslands Drive.

By Geoff Wells (19/07/2013)

I have just found this Mile Oak page. So I address this mainly to Lynne et al who wrote in 2008 about Queenie Harbour. Queenie is my aunt and has only recently moved to a nearby rest home in Brighton following a fall at home and a few weeks hospitalisation. Queenie is still smiling although she has poor sight and hearing and is no longer able to look after herself. On December 1st 2013 she celebrated her 104th birthday, a remarkable event, with a visit from Brighton's Mayor. She had lived in Chrisdory Road in her bungalow which she had rented from 1934 until last August. The last seventeen years by herself since her husband Charles died. She is a wonderful aunt, even now concerned about everyone else's well-being rather than her own. Queenie says that the strange name Chrisdory was an amalgam of Christine and Dorothy, the bungalow builders' two daughters.

By Colin Berrett (03/12/2013)

Hello Bonny Cother, I started a Mile Oak page some time back called 'Best Days of My Life' in Mile Oak Approved School for Good Boys. Why - because I just would not go to school in London. I started there in 1946. I often come across your name. Paul Edwards has been sending me photos of Mile Oak Village. Quite different from what I remember of it. Rebuilt houses, buildings etc. I left Easter 1950 as a 13 year old having to face the horrors of back to school in Islington, London. One other lad I keep in touch with is Lee Mack who also attended the school but 25 years after I left. The last time I visited was 1952 when I spoke to Mr Beale who was the headmaster at the time I was there but regret lost his position as the head around 1952. No doubt you heard or maybe met him, depending on your age as I would not ask a lady's age anyway! I was meaning to make a visit a few years back about 10 years ago. But could not make it. I think it was Paul Edwards you told me about it. I'm 78 this year (2014). Regards.

By Trevor Whitworth (25/06/2014)

Further to my previous e-mail I am happy to say that I have (yesterday 1st December) visited Queenie Harbour (my aunt) for her 105th Birthday party in her rest home! This remarkable lady was able to enjoy a happy time with Brighton's Mayor and his wife, her family and the excellent staff who look after her.

By Colin Berrett (02/12/2014)

It is with great sadness that I must advise of the death of my dear aunt Queenie Harbour on Monday last aged an amazing 106 years and four months. This lovely lady whose smile and loving personality touched everyone who ever met her will be sorely missed by all. She had lived in Chrisdory Road from 1934 until 2014, moving to Harmony House just before her 104th birthday. RIP Queenie, always in our thoughts.

By Colin Berrett (17/03/2016)

So sorry to hear of the death of dear Queenie! She worked at the Alliance Building Society for many years when I worked there also. She was a lovely, friendly, sweet lady and always a joy to talk to. I saw her in Harmony House and she was so lovely. Rest in Peace dear Queenie you were a true Angel while on earth.

By Cathy (14/06/2016)

Cathy, I worked at the ABS next to the cinema in North St from June 1951 until January 1961.

By Pat Maynard née Rattuue (08/12/2016)

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