Lancing Postcards
Memories of Lancing

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Story 1

Geoff Walden lived in Lancing in the 1960's, he emigrated with his parents to New Zealand in 1967
This is his story, lightly edited, sent to me on April 9th 2002

 'I was 11 years old when we emigrated to New Zealand in 1967.

Brighton Road
 I was born in Furnace Wood East Grinstead in 1956, and my family moved to Worthing in 1959/60 then to 349 Brighton Rd in 1960/61. At the same time my grandparents moved from Furnace Wood to Monks Close Lancing by the railway line.

 While living at Brighton Rd, we spent a deal of time playing at the beach, especially by the widewater.  I have a pretty good recollection of those years, and I can remember we used to fish for those sticklebacks with tiny nets you brought on the beach at Brighton. I remember the water at the widewater was quite brackish and that there was a lot of rubbish like old prams dumped, so we weren't allowed to do any more than paddle.

 Where we lived there was a set of shops, a corner shop like 'Arkright's open all hours' with the grocer called Mr Bolt.

 Just opposite I think there was a set of stairs where you could go between the houses to access the widewater. There was a causeway to get across to the actual beach. I remember there were at various times, swans swimming there and there were postcards with the swans  swimming in the widewater nearer to Shoreham.

 Thinking back, we were only at Brighton Rd for about 2 years because Mum and Dad sold the house to the developers who built the big development on the roadside, was this the Broadway? There was also a problem with tidal flooding and the basement of the 2-story house was damp on the high spring tides.

Fishing off the beach
 Dad and my grandfather used to fish from the beach a lot and used to take my older brother and myself with them for overnighters. I can still remember collecting driftwood for fires and helping dad light the Tilley lantern.

 I remember they caught a few fish too, because we were always helping out gutting them and digging holes in the garden when we got home to bury the offal.

Just along from the back alley behind the house at 349 was an access road where you could walk through to farmland we called the forest. I believe this was behind West Way somewhere. Then you could be gone all day playing in what was just fields and countryside without any sort of trouble.

 After my youngest brother was born in 1961 my parents decided to move again to Grand Ave, I think in 1962 or so.  My oldest brother and I had started school at South Lancing in the main street not far from the railway station. When we shifted house we all moved to Irene Ave primary.

Old Salts Farm
 My grandparents moved from Monks Close to Old Salts Farm Rd about 1961/2 and as this was so close to the beach we spent a lot of time with them.

 Opposite their house 7 Old Salts Farm Rd was a caravan park with lots of holiday and permanent people in it.  Looking on the street maps it seems that the caravan park may be gone and a housing estate established. The fairway? Is that right?

Chalk Pit
As kids we divided our free time between exploring the South Downs up by the chalk pit in (I think) Mill Rd and the beach.

 We either pushed our bikes up that hill and played all day and came down through the forest to the Manor, or came down the hill and hoped our brakes worked.

 We did the train spotting thing from the over bridge at the railway station. Even then steam trains were a rarity, but I remember the occasional one coming along.
I remember buildings on both sides of the platform; we used to have to get a spectator ticket from a penny machine to prevent getting kicked off the station. They must have pulled the buildings down from that side.

 We spent many Saturdays at the pictures at the Luxor watching the kids features for 6d. We used to go into a shop beside the Luxor and get 3d bags of fizzy sherbet and liquorice.

Scout Hall
 I used to be in the cubs, then the scouts and went to 2 different scout halls. One was a huge old hall that had a rabbit warren of old rooms, and a huge concrete yard with high walls around it behind the hall.  think this was on the corner of Kings Ave and the main street.  Not far away from the Farmers pub.

 The other scout den was over the road from Grand Ave and the upper Brighton Rd and we had to run down a tiny alleyway between a graveyard and an old church to get to it. Boy did we run in the dark.

Hardware shop
 You mentioned Gardner  & Scardifields as the builder's hardware place, I can remember going in there with my father for bits and pieces.

Beach Green
Over the Brighton Rd was the track leading to the Mermaid and the beach, along with the huge open green. I spoke to my father the other night after I had found your website and he told me that that huge green where they have all the fairs and boot sales now, was compacted and established with all the broken up concrete from the WW2 war defences that was laid along the beach. He was there when they were doing it. We used to call that big old home the donkey home, I think it was an old folks home. There were certainly donkeys kept there for us kids to ride on in the summer.  I also went to the county fair there while I was little, dad winning goldfish that never made it home.  I watched the wall of death one yearÉ the noise was fantastic.

 I notice Irene Ave Primary school has changed its name to Oakfield Middle county school. Any clues why?

 They opened a tiny outdoor swimming pool the I think in 1965 or 1966. My class were the first to swim in the pool and I was the first boy in when the teacher called for volunteers, as I was a good swimmer.  Imagine that. It was mid summer but probably freezing!

 We used to travel by bus to the Heene Rd swimming pools in Worthing for winter swimming. Are they still there? '

If you would like to contact Geoff Walden write to ( replace[at] with @ symbol): geoffwalden[at] 

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©copyright RayHamblett 2004
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