Grange Road history interview
Interviewer and date: Jan Hunter, 12.10.18
Interviewee – name: Badri Ferrier
- When did you come to live in Grange Road?
Moved to Grange Road just over 50 years ago on 14.3.68. They moved from London because Lewes had good train connections. Had in-laws who lived in Seaford. Wanted a garden and more space. The house was covered in snow when they first saw it and it looked magical.
- At what address (es):
- What sort of tenancy did you have: owner; private tenant, council tenant?
Bought the house for about £8,500 but needed to extend it.
- How many people lived in your house? (family structure)
They had one small child when they moved in, the second was born later the same year.
- What was the job of the main earner in the house? Other household members?
Badri’s husband Ronald worked for BP as a historian and archivist and commuted to London. They met while her husband was head of the English department at Shiraz university – her home town.
- Did anyone run a business from the house?
- What about the neighbours?
When they moved in a couple called Peter and Margaret Badham lived in the house next door – had the whole house. Two children. They divided the house themselves horizontally into two houses and lived in the right hand side. They then separated. Late 1970s/early ‘80s. Sold the other half to Captain Wigg and Janet. She made costumes at Glyndebourne. He sang in St Anne’s choir. After he died she married an American friend.
Margaret sold her half to another couple with 3 daughters, several people came and went afterwards. Vicky and David Craver lived there with two children, the youngest being born in Grange Road. Anita and John Briers lived on the right hand side. Then some others, then Romey moved in from the other side of the road with her then-partner Mike. Miss Young lived in the bungalow when they moved in, didn’t really know her, elderly.
On the other side, next to Keere St, lived Dennis Ward. Odd person, had family money so didn’t ever have to work. Dealt in antiques and the house was full of them. Beautiful Bentley car. His wife was French but very isolated, didn’t speak much English and afraid to go out without him. He had a son by a woman in Brighton. Heard she committed suicide when over 80, he moved to Brighton in the mid-1990s. The Barretts (of Marston Barrett the jewellers) moved in afterwards.
- What was your house like (compared with today)?
It was built in 1935 with two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs. They raised the roof to make five bedrooms and a bathroom and built a garage.
- Did you know many neighbours? (events, street parties etc)
Other neighbours included Don who lived in the bungalow at the other end of the road from the 1950s, their daughter Claire used to babysit for Badri. George and Mavis Askew lived where the Hentys live up Elm Hill. George was an architect (Fuller and Askew), Mavis got an OBE for services to the community. Nellie Fitch lived in the Manse, was a teacher and had children. John Vokins of the department store in Brighton lived in the house next to Asa Briggs in Keere street for a long time until his marriage failed.
- What was it like living in Grange Road?
Yes, Grange Road, and Lewes, are very friendly. Much nicer than Cambridge. The resident’s association has been particularly good with the street parties allowing them to get to know people in the rest of the street. Badri was on the committee for 3 years. Very good thing but hard to get younger residents involved. Badri got to know a lot of people through her daughter’s nursery school. People invited each other to drinks parties. Also got to know people through the church.
- Where did you shop? (nearest stores?)
International stores – small supermarket at the top of station street on the right. Shops at the bottom of the town – Liptons, tatty Tesco at top of Cliffe High Street. Flint was a delicatessen opposite the War memorial. The Gourmet run by Mr Bannerman was at the bottom of School Hill. Very good butcher, Mr Hyde, in Priory St in the house opposite the King’s Head. He closed then she went to Marsh the butcher where Santander bank was in the High Street. His family owned the house before Badri moved in. Mr Cramp the butcher in Market st.
- If you had children, where did they go to school?
Joy Thompson’s nursery school in Kingston road – one of the big houses – perhaps Jane’s? Children went to LOGs, then son went to Brighton College and daughter to girls school linked to this. Son ended up at Eastbourne college for A levels.
- Any events you remember particularly (floods, grape lorry overturning, etc)
Biggest event was Bonfire. Street party remembered as started for the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977. Has become more popular but still relies on a few people. Can feel a bit isolated down this end of the street.
- Do you have any photos of the street or of events there?
She will check.
- Did you own any other properties in the street?
- Any other things to add about Grange Road?
The whole town has changed – the bypass was a good thing. Big demonstrations against the original proposal. But traffic was becoming impossible – crossing the road was a nightmare.