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Reminiscences of Old Angmering (4)

The following are extracts of the late Mr Peter Newman's memories of his years living in Angmering between 1917 and 1924.

Peter Henry Newman was born in Croydon on 19 September 1916.  After Croydon had been bombed by Zeppelins his father moved the family to a lodge in Ham Manor when Mr Newman was nine months old.  He was about two years old when the family moved to No. 1 Gladstone Cottages.  The Pelhams lived next door, the Parsons next to them and the Shorts lived at the other end.  The cottages had bucket lavatories at the back, and these were emptied into the plot of land on which now stand two garages.

There was no bathroom inside the cottage but Mr Newman remembers an enamel bath with a high back.  The back kitchen had a fish tail light, and there was a mantle in the living room; there was also a gas stove.  But, as far as he can remember, there was no gas upstairs; they had to use candles.

Mr Newman's father worked in the nursery at the age of 12, but at 14 he went to work on the Railway.  He was a lamp boy and had to light the lamps on the signals along the line.  Once he fell off the lamp and broke his leg, lying there for some time before he was discovered and rescued.  This was somewhere near the Windmill Bridge.  Later he became a ticket collector, and then an Inspector, called a Jumper.  He sat his exams and eventually became a Station Master and the family moved to Ardingly when Mr Newman was eight years old.

Mr Newman's interest in the railways included watching out at Angmering Station for his favourite engine.  It was No. 333 and called Remembrance in the memory of the railway men lost in the First World War.  Its drive wheels were taller than Mr Newman (he was a small boy then) and it was kept in shining immaculate condition.  The railways were then the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.   Angmering Station had a huge goods yard as everything was delivered by train then.  The goods train left trucks there to be emptied and there was a great deal of shunting when the newly filled trucks were collected by the engine.

Mr Newman recalls that there was a wide open brook which started at Clapham Pond and went down to Black Brook, running down Water Lane towards the village.  It was about 4' wide and 3' deep.  There were a couple of bridges over the stream, and there was a farm where Chandlers Garage is now.  The children used to chase the ducks from the farm into the spot between the two bridges, an action that always got them a telling off.  He mentioned the culvert that went under the centre of the village and says that his father once went all the way through the culvert, which has a bend in the middle.  There was a donkey engine in Water Lane and doors to the culvert.  The doors would be opened and the water would be sluiced through the culvert, pumped by the engine.

Opposite Gladstone Cottages there were allotments.  There were no houses between the cottages and the village, just a couple of fields.  There were fields and woodlands behind.  He has vague memories of two older cottages beyond where he lived.

On Sundays the children used to walk across the field and through the woods to Arundel Road where they watched the charabancs coming down from London.  If they were lucky, people threw pennies out of the windows and they had to find them in the long grass.  A bus did run to the village, but they had two sets of runners, each set of seats having their own doors.  He thinks the buses went to Littlehampton.

He went to the Older's School and can remember the infant class and then going up to the Juniors.  He can remember a costume his mother made for his brother who was in a school play.  It was a wonderful creation made of velvet.  The children learned to write in sand.  They had a small tray about 9" x 6", filled with dry silver sand, and they wrote with their fingers.

The family went to St. Margaret's Church, but Mr Newman can also recall visiting the Baptist Chapel on the hill.  There seemed so many steps that he thought he was climbing up to heaven.  For reasons which he cannot understand they were never allowed to mix with the children who went to St. Wilfrid's School.  They were taboo.
When the children came out of school they used to race round The Lamb twitten and Church Street, some going one way round and some the other, each trying to race the others.  He used to play with his marbles in the road and also tops, as there was seldom any traffic.  One day he threw a stone at a van, and the policeman came round to his house.  His mother was so shocked that she fainted.

Mr Newman can remember going to the Blacksmith's to have an iron hoop made.  As far as he can remember, it was up a little alleyway at the bottom of the High Street.

He went to the Bakery, where the Post Office used to be, and across the road and down a path to the Mill where his mother used to buy a gallon of flour as she made her own bread.  Although fish was sold from a chest in a shed where the main shops are now, a Fishmonger used to call round to the house with a cart that sloped down at the back.

The milkman came round with a hand pushed barrow with two large wheels at the back and a small one in the front.  The measures hung from the handlebars and it carried a milk churn.  He filled peoples' jugs, using the measures.

The Post Office was in the centre of the village, facing the square, and at The Lamb end of Church Road (see left) there was a tiny shop with two steps down.  He thinks it sold sweets, but, as it was very rare to get a penny to spend on sweets, he didn't go into it very often.

Another vivid memory Mr Newman has is when they were building the new road.  It was laid out, and he can still remember the men sitting by the pile of flint and breaking up the stones.

(7 October 2007)

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Reminiscences of Old Angmering (3)

Miss Joy Luck (1912-2002), who lived in Lansdowne Road, was the great-great-grand-daughter of James Grant of Ecclesden Manor;
her roots therefore lay very deeply in Angmering.

Prior to the extension of St. Margaret's Cemetery and during the course of digging a grave, the gravedigger unearthed a large anchor and some mooring rings – this was concrete proof  of the extent to which the waters of the Arun flowed in days gone by.  The water went around the West and South side of the hillock.  Near the west door of St. Margaret's in the cemetery sits a millstone which belonged to my father; on top of this is an upright stone roller from Ham Manor, topped with a piece of column from old St. Nicholas Church.

My mother named Lansdowne Road after a road near her old home in Southampton and lived in the first house to be built there by my father and George Peskett.

A row of charming old Cottages were situated beyond Dolphin Cottage, where the present half-timbered Cottages are in Station Road; at the end of the row was a small fish-shop in a tin shed. 

The village Cricket Club had its pitch on Ham Manor beside what is now known as North Drive – the present houses were built on the old footpath which lead from the village across the fields to Littlehampton.

Houses and cottages in the village were named after the owners or residents; Chant's Cottage, Chaplins, Brocketts, etc.  I remember the Brockett family very well; three sisters and one brother.  They always dressed in deep black and to a child looked rather awesome and forbidding.  I can remember the funeral of Arthur Somerset from Goring Castle, when the coffin was brought to St. Margaret's upon a farm dray; the estate workers, farmers etc., walked the entire way behind the cortege.  As a child spectator  I was "invited" by the local sweep to view the open crypt and to look well at the spectacle, as I should never see the like again!  I noted a few coffins on ledges.  The crypt, of course, is now completely sealed in and covered over.

The water ditch in Water Lane was used by the villages for dumping their rubbish as no provision was made in earlier years for collection of same – where Cumberland Terrace now exists the ground was given over for allotments for the villagers use.

A lovely old Tudor House called "The Rosary" stood in the village centre approximately where Oakshott's (now Londis) shop is today.  It had a balcony at the back and contained delightful Tudor fireplaces – the roof dipped in the centre, the beams being adzed.

What a great pity this building was destroyed as it gave great charm to the village centre.

I can recall an episode as a child when "rough music" was played outside a cottage at the front of Weavers Hill – this cottage with three others was pulled down.  The “music” was produced by the continuous loud banging of tin-cans with sticks by a group of villagers to denote their disapproval of the occupants of the cottage.

Luck's Mill (in Mill Lane) provided flour for people to make their own bread.  It was considered to be the very finest white flour.  My grandfather, Frederick Luck, had four horses and delivered goods as far as Worthing, though he didn't like them to be out after dark in the winter and had them back by 4 o'clock.  They delivered animal food, oats and chicken feed, hay and straw for horses.

My father, Arthur Luck, was treasurer to the Angmering Flower Society, which had the best flower show for miles around.  This was held every year in the beautiful grounds of Ham Manor by courtesy of the owner, Mr Savill.  In those days a handful of people did everything in the village.

The village was entirely self contained.  Most people grew their own vegetables, either in their large gardens or on their allotments.  The pig butcher, George Chalk, killed a pig a week, and his sausages were reputed to be the best pork sausages for miles around.  The shop was situated where the hairdressers now is at the bottom of the High Street.  Although people bought flour to make their own bread, there was a bakery in the village, where the post office is (until 2001).  Enough bread was baked there in a wood-heated oven to supply the whole village.  It was delivered in the morning in a horse drawn van.

There was no chemist in the early days as Doctor Chaplin did all the prescribing of medicines.  The Chemist Shop didn't come into the village until after the Health Act of 1948 came in.  There were two coal men in the village and two butchers, Bradley's in Arundel Road being the best butchers shop. Todman provided what I called 'foreign meat' and, before the days of refrigeration, this was not popular.  There were three grocers: Cheesman's in the centre of the village and Herbertson's.  Dench had the largest grocery shop approx where Holmes the estate agent now stands in the Square.

Mr Edwin Harris was a great champion of the working man, building the Cottrells as dwellings for them as well as Gladstone Cottages.  He was a local JP and lived in Mont Coline in the High Street, the big house (now divided into two) past the old post office and next door to the doctor's house (now Chaplins).  Mr Harris liked to collect works of art and had a very good collection of pictures.

(10 May 2007)

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Reminiscences of Old Angmering (2)

Miss Violet Gordon, born at Waterton House in Arundel Road  in the early 1900s, regretted the changing face of Angmering. 
Below is the transcription of her discussion with Elizabeth Young in the 1970s.

Sometimes I find myself walking around in a dream world and, where fields existed, there are now houses and bungalows.  There were no houses in Water Lane except those at the far end near Dappers Lane. There was a wide water-ditch and, on either side, sloping hillocks - grass-grown and covered with buttercups and daisies - where cattle grazed peacefully.  The twitten beside The Lamb Inn was a footpath to the village from the fields and woods on the north side, and it had a stile at each end where the local boys and girls would gather to chat, the girls sitting on the banks making daisy chains.

A flat-bottomed boat was kept in the village to ferry residents living on the west side to the east, and vice versa.  It went from a point near Cheesman’s Grocery Shop to approximately where Peskett, the Ironmonger, is today (now Angmering Framing & Stitches).  This ferry was necessary because of the depth of water in the village centre after a rain-storm, and the rapidity with which it flowed down Water Lane from Patching Pond.

The Bunnes was a little square of thatched cottages dating from the 15th Century which at one time existed on the left-hand side of the approach to the High Street from the village centre.  One of them was a cobbler’s shop and, by way of advertisement, a large roll of leather used for boot and shoe repairs rested against the wall outside.

There was a saddler's shop further up the hill on the south side of the High Street, now called "Russets" and "Saddlers", and both are private dwellings.  As a shop it was run by Mr Box, and it was there that I took my donkey reins and saddle to be mended.  The entrance had very charming rounded steps now, alas, destroyed.

My mother drove a gig with two horses in rein, one being harnessed behind the other, which made for very rapid driving when going shopping in Littlehampton.

The old Post Office, which was in Winchester House in the High Street, was looked after by Mr and Mrs Beman.  The front shop was the Post Office, while the back premises was given over to the sale of children's toys, picture books, crayons etc.  My brother and I so much enjoyed browsing in this section, eager to spend our Saturday pennies.

The present Post Office at Somerset House (closed 2001) was the baker’s shop, kept by Mr Wapling. He was renowned for his "lardy cakes", and his stick ovens were at the back of the shop.  Also, he used to hire out his pony. Chant's Cottage and Glebe House (Syon House) were reputed to be linked at one period by an underground passage, Chant's Cottage being the old domestic offices for the Convent in days gone by.

Before the extension of St. Margaret’s churchyard, a pleasant field sloped up from the present Station Road (the Village Hall was at that time still unbuilt).  There were few trees, only a clump here and there.  An old flint dyke encircled the church on the top of the hill.  St. Margaret's had kissing gates at either end of the little footpath through the churchyard, but these were removed, it is said, by a Vicar who owned a bicycle!

A small wooden bridge, with handrail and stile, existed over Patching Stream, which was quite deep and wide at the point where it flowed past the entrance to the present Thatchway.  The path continued to Church Farm over a hillock where cattle and horses grazed.  The present "Grey Barn" in Rectory Lane was the actual barn belonging to Church Farm, which in the 1920s was converted by a Miss Lord, who lived there with a companion.  Before its conversion, the yard in front of the barn was enclosed by a row of little cattle-sheds, and straw was laid about thickly for the beasts to stamp around in.  It is difficult to imagine this scene now, where a charming house with a garden  and lily pond exists.

(19 March 2007)

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Reminiscences of Old Angmering (1)

The late Miss Margaret Smith was born in 1892 in a thatched cottage in Water Lane; the cottage had no name and was pulled down over 65 years ago.  
Below are extracts of her talk with Elizabeth Young in 1975.

My grandparents lived in an old cottage, now destroyed, behind the windmill at Ecclesden Manor.  My mother, when a little girl, was the only eye-witness when the sails blew off the mill during a storm in 1860 - she was terrified and thought it was the end of the world.  The sails were never replaced and from then commenced the deterioration of the mill.  My mother tended sheep on the Downs for which she was paid threepence per day.  My father came to the village from Gosport with his mother and brother Harry, when he was sixteen - they rented rooms at Ecclesden Manor.  Father was twenty years old and mother eighteen when they married - they had nine children, all brought up in the cottage in Water Lane.  There are still three of us alive - Alfred (88 years) Lizzie (86 years), Mrs Ransom, who lives at Arun Cote, Littlehampton and myself (82).  The Christian names of the others were George Thomas, Blanche, Ann Maria, Matilda, Rose and Emily.  We all spent a very happy childhood.  My brother, George Thomas, worked as a forester for the Duke of Norfolk for 40 years.  He married the licensee of The Woodman's Arms in 1927 and they kept it until 1951.

Most houses and cottages in the village had their own wells, or pumps, for drawing water.  There were springs everywhere and especially do I remember how the water came bubbling out of the ground in Dappers Lane.  My mother often brought up frogs in her bucket from the well but they were always put back, as she declared they purified the water, eating insects etc.

We went to Older's School - the day always commenced with prayers, hymns and the Catechism - this instruction was given by the Rev. James Orme, a very nice old gentleman.  We girls wore white pinafores over our dresses to school - these had a bib and shoulder strap.  My mother had to wash, starch and iron thirty of those a week for us.  Children aged from five years and upwards walked to, and from school, as far away as the Toll House in the Long Furlong, The Swillage, Lee Farm, Selden and most outlying farms and cottages.  They came in all weathers with dinner bags made from sackcloth slung over their shoulders, usually containing bread and cheese for the mid-day meal. 

On Sundays everyone dressed in their best - children went to church with their parents in the morning and the whole family usually went walking the afternoon.  Sunday was observed in those days.

My friend was Kate Woolgar whose father kept the Blacksmith's shop in Water Lane.  I remember we were caned by the schoolmaster, Mr Child, for being late to school one morning, the excuse being we had to feed Kate's pigs! There was an old house, now pulled down, at the corner of the twitten next to The Lamb Public House, owned by a family called Terry.  Mr Terry was the butcher and had the shop where Norris' Fish Shop was, across the Square - there were stables at the rear.  The Terrys had eighteen children.  Mrs Terry always wore a man's cap, in, and out of, the house.  They kept chickens and ducks where the D.B.S. Garage is (now Chandler's) - in the centre of the ground was a wonderful old walnut tree - the walnuts of which were gathered green for pickling.  In the corner of the field where "Red Admirals" now stands in Water Lane (demolished and currently being developed as an apartment block) they kept pigs.

"Eachways" was the police house and then occupied by Mr Heather.  He had two sons and two very wild daughters!  When Mr Terry's ducks - who used the stream in Water Lane - were in the vicinity of "Eachways", the Heather girls used to drive them into their shed and shut them up until they laid their eggs!.

I recollect an incident when Mrs Winton of Well Cottage jumped down her well - to a child this was great excitement and naturally I expected her to drown as the well was reputed to be 80 feet in depth - fortunately there was only 3 feet of water in it and, as she wore lots of voluminous underskirts, these acted as a chute helping to hold her up - she was rescued unharmed.

(13 January 2007)

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