A 1940’s/50’s childhood in Connaught Avenue and West Street by Gerry White
I was born in Connaught Avenue, Old Shoreham parish in 1938 and apart from the war years, lived and grew up in Old Shoreham. In 1946 the front gardens were still planted with vegetables. The big air raid shelter was in position on the green that separated the even number houses on the north side of the road from the odds on the south side. Orchard Close had not been built and the land was owned by the Worley family.
I am sure that so long as people continue to live in Shoreham there will always be characters around. Some memorable and maybe a few that are perhaps best forgotten. In the past I have just written the odd story about one or two individuals but I have now been asked to collate them into a story and this is it…….wish me luck!
Hidden amongst the Bartlett Collection in the Photo Galleries is a copy of the FA Cup Final Programme cover from 1923. This FA Cup Final, 100 years ago today, was famous for the crowd invasion where 300,000 fans got into Wembley stadium. The crowds swarmed onto the pitch and the game was delayed significantly. Police attempted to control the crowds and the iconic image of a white police horse surrounded by the crowd became the iconic image of the event.
In 1952, I started an Apprenticeship at White and Co. The trade I was to learn was that of Wood machining, It meant, travel to Brighton Technical College twice weekly for two evening classes, and one all day class, which combined with one of the evening classes. It was a long day leaving Shoreham at 8am and returning at 10:30, all for £1 10/- weekly, no assistance with train fares. The Hourly week was 44 hours. Of course the evening classes from 7 until 9 pm were extra.
The construction on the first Shoreham power station located in Southwick commenced in 1904. Its site chosen because of its position on the harbour, meaning plentiful supply of water for cooling, and access to coal via the shipping route from NE England. The first phase of the station opened in June 1906, with a generating capacity of 5,470 kW. The station was given various modifications and extensions, and by 1946 it had a capacity of 190 MW. By 1961 the station had an installed capacity of 190 MW. The turbines were supplied with steam from 10 boilers. The boilers were chain grate, pulverised coaland retort stoker designs. Seawater was used for condensing and cooling.
AW Wardell was an accomplished photographer and publisher of postcards from 1907 to around 1960. He was based in Brighton and latterly Worthing. You can find out much more on this excellent website.https://www.sussexpostcards.info/publishers.php?PubID=296 Bill Wardell was one of the first to publish a range of aerial scenes on postcards, pioneering an effective technique of excellent shot framing and high quality imagery from the glass plate camera he carried in the 2nd seat a biplane.
His aerial photographs of Shoreham are from 1919. It is noted he was in an Avro 504 based at the airport. Note in the first aerial photo of Shoreham (No.33) there are numerous bell tents in the SE corner of the airport – for the Canadian Air Force No. 81 Squadron stationed there in 1919, and possibly the source of Bill Wardell’s aircraft taxi to get his photographs. You may also note the two hangars of the Royal Navy seaplane base at the southern end of Ferry Road.
In the south east corner of Mill Lane Cemetery, overlooking The Meads and backing onto a spur of Greenacres, is the grave of a French sailor formerly of the SS Lutetia, who died in 1919. There are no other gravestones near to this isolated stone cross marker, giving it rather a sad and lonely appearance, perhaps reflecting the nature of this sailor’s death, a young man from another country who lost his life under tragic circumstances.