Reader’s memories of growing up in Southfield Road

Southfield Road in 1905. Picture credit: West Sussex Library Service, www.westsussexpast.org.uk
Southfield Road in 1905. Picture credit: West Sussex Library Service, www.westsussexpast.org.uk

I was so interested in your Looking Back page of December 19. It brought back so many memories of growing up in Southfield Road.

I was born in Southfield Road in 1928, my late brother in 1923. I lived there until I got married in 1950.

My brother, apart from war service, lived there for all of his life, which would have been 85 years, a record I think.

I could see our house in your photograph, outwardly it hasn’t changed, but inside the houses are unrecognisable from the 1930s.

We still had a front room, only used on high days and holidays.

The middle room had the black kitchener, our main source of heating, polished with black lead.

The kettle was boiled on it, the flat irons were heated on it, jacket potatoes sometimes baked in the oven.

We had no electricity in the thirties, gas lighting and outside loo.

The bedrooms were freezing as your writer said, on saying all that we grew up healthily, you had to be really ill to see the doctor as no NHS, you had to pay.

They were happy days growing up in Southfield Road.

We had what so many children don’t have today and that was freedom.

Playing in the street, playing hopscotch or marbles in the gutter.

Everyone knew each other, no locked doors.

Most of us went to Dominion Road, now Downsbrook, school from age 5 to 11. There wasn’t any Whytemead then.

I remember Highfield and Oakland dairies. They used to deliver by horse and cart. When they had gone by, some women used to go out with a bucket and spade for the manure to put on their gardens.

The shops, Mr and Mrs Keen had the grocers on the north side of the road. I used to stand in the shop and listen to their son, Ron, playing the piano. I thought it was great.

On the other corner was Mr Buswells hardware shop, which sold many things. We used to go there for paraffin.

Just along from him, in Wigmore Road, was Mr Bowers shoe repairs. Our shoes were always repaired in those days.

On the south side of the road was, of course, the lovely fish and chips shop owned by Mr and Mrs Parkinson. They also has the sweet shop next door.

There was also another small grocers run by Mrs Harris.

We used to go to the fish shop and buy a pennyworth of crackling and soak it in vinegar. Delicious.

Carters, the bakers, with their lovely fruit malt loaves, everything freshly baked as the bakehouse was behind the shop.

My cousin, Doris Nye, drove a small delivery van for them sometime in the 1940s.

Does anyone remember the ice cream man on his tricycle, Mr Cocozza?

He used to call out hokey pokey, and we would beg for a penny to go and buy his lovely ice cream.

Also, the fish man. He lived in the road. My mum used to buy shrimps and winkles from him, which we always had for Sunday tea, as well as fresh caught herrings.

These are my memories of Southfield Road. They were hard times, but very happy days.

How hard our parents worked. We were well fed, and clean and tidy. That is what life was all about.

We had everything we needed and, yes, Southfield Road was a lovely road to grow up on.

• Send your memories and photos to James Connaughton, via email to james.connaughton@jpress.co.uk, send them by post or pop into Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA. Telephone 01903 282351.