A fifties childhood

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The Wallden family, 3 Temple Street

By Teresa Dearlove

The Wallden family arrived at 3 Temple Street in 1949. There were open fires in all the rooms and lincrusta wallpaper which the girls liked to ‘pop’ (like bubblewrap today). All the front doors had canvas curtains to protect them from the sun in summer.

Sisters Teresa and Bonny have vivid memories of living in the street. Their mother bred budgerigars in an aviary in the backyard and it was Terry’s job to catch them in a little net when they were sold. Their mother also took in lodgers and two men came from the IoW to work as bus drivers and so loved Brighton that when they returned home, she sent them The Argus every week!    

Neighbours remembered

One door down a woman bred Persian cats. One door up the husband or brother had a dental repair workshop. There was a Jewish tailor half way up with 2 daughters (Morris and Altman at no 7). And further up a woman selling terracotta pots (Provence Pots, no 21). Carol Adams’ father John at no 41 worked on the Brighton Belle and they were the first family in the street to get a television and the sisters watched the Coronation and Quatermass on it: television was an event and curtains were drawn and lemonade and sandwiches served. Ken Witty, a lifeguard on Brighton beach, lived near the top on the left. Half way up on the right was some sort of engineering workshop with the men wearing green dungarees (Associate Engineering Ltd, selling motor car components). Fyne Fireplaces was on the corner where the lighting shop is today.    


Terry and Bonnie played all the usual children’s games out on the street, including stringing 2 tin cans between the houses and pretending it was a phone. Of course, the beach was very close by. You could catch a paddle steamer to the IoW from the West Pier and go for boat trips in the fishing boats pulled up on the beach. And there were swings in St Ann’s Wells. Ice cream could be bought in a jug from Fortes next to the Metropole. There was a wonderful toy shop in Preston Street. The girls had bicycles and went skating at the ice rink. It was a huge event when Father Christmas came to Plummer Roddis (opposite Waitrose which was then the Curzon Cinema) and when Princess Elizabeth visited the seafront in 1952.    


The girls went to Clifton College in Clifton Road. The uniform was green with yellow braiding and plaid skirts (as in the photo above). Mrs Stanley was the head. There was a big old stove like an Aga on which cocoa would be made in the little bottles of milk, stood on it to heat up. Then you took your 11+ in St Mary Magdalen’s school hall. The walk to school took them past a sweetshop at the top of Victoria St where they initially used their ration books to buy penny chews and sherbet dabs. The Post office was diagonally opposite and next to it a grocers which delivered groceries every week.

This page was added on 21/04/2010.

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