Elizabeth Broadbridge: Memories of Nevill Estate

Nevill Memoirs > Elizabeth Broadbridge

I was born at 2.30am on 24th September 1947 in the front bedroom of 61, Firle Crescent. My parents Ted and Ann Kilborn had moved into the house in 1938 after their marriage. I already had an older brother, Douglas, who was born in 1942.

I do not remember anything about Firle Crescent, as, when I was eight months old we moved to 3, Crossway. This was because, as a Police Sergeant, Dad was entitled to a larger house now that he had two children.

My memories of Crossway are a bit sketchy, but I do remember a lady who lived in a bungalow next door who had a large St. Bernard dog. Sometimes she would allow small children to ride on his back.

Across the road was Mrs. Gurr, who we all called Grandma. She had an unusual toy called a diabolo, which consisted of a long piece of string with handles and a wooden bobbin shape. You were supposed to balance the bobbin on the string then flip it up and catch it again. I never managed to do it. I also liked playing with her wooden solitaire board, which had pretty glass marbles.

My Dad kept rabbits in the back garden and one day he took me out to see the new babies. I don’t know what happened to the rabbits, I expect he sold them for food, but we never ate them. Mum said she couldn’t!!

Just after my fourth birthday we moved again, this time to Hailsham, where we stayed until I was seven. Shortly after this move was announced, my brother, who was by then ten years old, cycled from Lewes to Hailsham and back. When Mum asked him where he had been all day, he said “I cycled over to Hailsham to see what it was like”. She was a bit cross with him, but he had done it so she couldn’t be cross for long.

Then in 1954 we were back again to the Nevill, this time to 22, Windover Crescent. Next door at number 20, lived Martin and Cynthia Blyth, with their children Wendy and Simon. I think Martin worked at Dixon’s Garage in Malling Street. Mrs. Blyth made the most amazing chocolate cake, and she was the first person in the road to make homemade ginger beer.

The other side at 24, lived Mr. and Mrs. Woodhead,  and their two children, Margaret and John.

Mr. Woodhead bought me a bike from a jumble sale, for five shillings, and painted it all up, blue with white mudguards.

Victor and Anne Richardson were at number 18, with their children, Carole and Christine.

As Christine was my age we became friends and played together, in our gardens and in the road. Once we chalked an elaborate game on the pavement the length of the road. Mum was so cross she made us get a bucket of water and the yard broom and scrub it all off. We wanted to wait until the rain washed it away, but we did as we were told!!

Does anyone remember the lamplighter? A small man who came, on a bicycle, every evening and morning to turn the street lights off and on. He had a long pole that he hooked on to a chain that activated the bulb.

The milkman delivered milk in bottles, on a cart pulled by “Jingles” his horse. Jingles’ droppings were much prized by the residents for their gardens.

Occasionally a French onion seller would come round, on a bicycle, with strings of onions round his neck. I always wondered how he managed to bring them all over from France on a bicycle.

Summer days were spent playing in the fields next to the Motor Road up to the racecourse. After harvest we used to make camps out of the straw bales.

In those days children played out on the estate and it was not uncommon to go out after breakfast, come home for lunch and go out again until teatime. Mum knew we were somewhere around.

My brother was more adventurous than me and remembers playing on the building site when The Wallands School was being built. His friend, Bobby Hemsley fell quite a few feet down the circular staircase and broke his arm. No health and safety rules then!!

My memories of a very happy childhood on The Nevill Estate.

Elizabeth Broadbridge

See Elizabeth’s family photos of 1938 to 1952