Part 1 Growing Up in Southwick
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Only a few things I remember about the house. It had a cellar and it was always an adventure to step gingerly down the cobwebby ladder into its dark, cool, eerie depths. In the front room, or parlour, I remember the brass oil table lamp which had to be trimmed and polished, although we did have gas with naked fan-shaped flame. I remember, too, progressing to the gas mantle so easily disintegrated without extreme care. In this room too I remember the 'What-not' containing interesting shells and ornaments of alabaster brought by my grandfather from foreign lands, and the friezed mantelpiece below the family portraits. In the back room I remember the low cupboard which was my dolls' house containing the stiff-limbed, black-headed wooden dolls of many sizes, and the broken sofa leg with a dress on it - the caster was its head. This, I think, was the favourite. Furniture was made of conkers, wool and pins. My memory of the kitchen is of my mother vigorously polishing the black kitchener while singing, Count your Blessings.

When we went shopping we said we went "down the road". Very little is left now of the old Albion Street as I then knew it. The chemist's shop was an interesting place with its row of coloured bottles in the window. And inside, the floor was always cluttered with crates and shavings and seemed to be impregnated with a heavy, dusty atmosphere.

Chemist and Post Office

Albion Street I remember the old Post Office kept by one Mrs Cabot whose husband was a sailor. The Post Office equipment and counter was on one side and down the other side were shelves of dusty china and earthenware. The grocer's shop was always entertaining with the local gossip of the customers and the witty pleasantries of the grocer. On a large slab at the end of the shop was a huge mound of butter and it was my delight and fascination to watch the grocer cut off and weigh half a pound, to pump, pat and buffet it into a neat round finishing with a final pat on top which miraculously left the imprint of a well fed dairy cow. Overhead was the continuous buzzing of unfortunate flies who had been lured onto a sticky band suspended from the ceiling. Then there was the tram yard. For a while a horse drawn tram plied between Hove and Shoreham.
 

Part 1 Growing Up in Southwick
1999 Doris Randall
Home page Go straight to Part 2 Go to the next page