A history of 55 Church Road, Portslade, East Sussex

This is the story of a house and family taken from the memoirs
 of the youngest son born in 1924

 
Ivy, George and Alfred

Alfred and Florence Langrish

Alfred and Florence moved from Albion Street, Portslade to rent 55 Church Road in September 1913. Florence was born and grew up in Norfolk; Alfred was born in Portslade and his parents and aunts and uncle lived close by. They had two children with them Alfred (Alf) and Ivy; Florence gave birth to their third child George in December of 1913, the first of five children to be born at number 55

 

The House

The modest mid terrace two-storey house stands in the lower part of Church Road, Portslade.  The front door opens onto the pavement and has no garden. Like many houses of it's time it has a yard at the back surrounded by a brick wall. An area big enough for a small patch of grass and flower beds. The Privy (outside toilet) was attached to the kitchen wall.
As you enter the front door a narrow hall (passage as it was called) runs through to the kitchen at the back passing the front room and back room doorways on your right.
Upstairs off a small landing are two bedrooms and a small box room. The larger room faces east, the front of the house, the other two the back. There was no bathroom in the house and no running hot water. A wash stand with jug and bowl stood in the box room for guests use. The rooms all had sash windows and fireplaces.


 Box room walls during building work
Box room walls during building work
 Solid flint and brick walls were revealed under the plaster and wallpaper during building work in the 1990s.
 
Rent Books

Rent

 Many old rent books survive dating back to 1913. They record the rent paid by the Langrish family over the years.
When Alfred and Florence (Alf and Flo) moved in with their 2 children they paid a weekly rent of 7 shillings a week to landlord W. Hillman, North Street, Portslade-by-Sea until 1920 when the rent increased to 9 shillings and 10 pence (9/10d) by the end of that year.
The following year 1921 saw the rent rise to 10 shillings and 3 pence (10/3d) by Christmas.
 The quarters of the year being Lady Day (Jan, Feb. March), Midsummer (April, May, June), Michaelmas (July, Aug, Sept) and Christmas (Oct, Nov, Dec).
Midsummer (Apr) saw a fall in rent to 9/ 9d this continued until July 1926 when once again the rent rose to 10/5d** per week. It remained the same within a penny or two for 20 years until 1946 when it rose to 11 shillings a week.
During 1948 Alfred's son George became the named tenant and paid 11/7d to up to 1951 when once again it rose to 12/3d by the end of the year. 
In 1954 a weekly rent of 12/6d equalled £8 2 shillings 6 pence per quarter.
An increase of almost 2 shillings a week came in April 1956 to 14/3d and another 1 shilling increase in April 1957 this remained for 2 years.
1960 saw a weekly rent of 15/8d.
In 1970 the landlord was Lyndale Development Company, 
36 Preston Park Avenue, Brighton and the rent £64 per year or £1, 4 shillings and 6d.

Decimalisation arrived.
1973 rent £2.04 end year £3.65 per week
1979 rent £5.67 end of year £7.50
1982 rent £9.50 end of year £11.50
1984 rent £12.75 end of year £14.00
1986 rent £15.00 end of year £19.00
1990 rent £25 per week


 
Alfred Walter Noel Langrish
Alfred Walter Noel Langrish

The Great War 1914-1918

 'Mum had three children when Dad went into the navy in 1914 at the start of World War I. ( the Great War it was called until WW II). So Mum had Alf, Ivy and George as young children while Dad served four years away until 1918 when the war finished. He was on Naval pay; his Royal Naval Division fought in the trenches in France in army uniforms, maybe they had too many sailors and not enough soldiers. Wounded twice and taken prisoner at one time he survived the trenches and a landing at the Dardanelles, Turkey, which was a complete failure. Mum told us about the time he came home on leave from the trenches in France and his clothes were so lousy with lice that she burnt the lot in the garden to keep them from the children. Horrors of war are not a thing people talk about much, Mum told us off if we asked Dad about the war when we were kids, no doubt she’d had quite enough of it.'
Like many returning service men, Alfred received a letter from Buckingham Palace welcoming him home from the POW camp and wishing him well for the future.

 

 Early years

Four more children were born at 55, Joyce in 1919, Gordon in 1922, Bernard in 1924 and lastly Evelyn born in 1925. Several of the children were baptised at St Andrews Church, Church Road.
By this time the weekly rent had risen to 10 shillings as the family grew to seven children. The food on the table was supplemented by allotment produce grown by Alfred and pickled and preserved by Florence.
 

 School


All the children attended local schools first St Peters, then St Andrews then on to St Nicolas and either the Boys School in High Street near the Portslade Old Village or the Girls School, Chalky Road, Mile Oak. Each child left school at the age of 14.
‘My early years at St Peters Infant School can be summed up in three items; drawing in sand trays, pulling the school bell rope and the outside toilets in the far corner of the playground.
My next school was St Andrews Junior mixed, on the seafront Road, Portslade.
On our walk to school, we had to pass the flour mill at the bottom of Church Road and I remember the steam lorry drivers raking out their fire boxes onto the ground and standing to warm our hands by the hot glowing ashes on cold days. The old gas works across the harbour had a loud steam hooter which sounded at five to nine for its workers so if you were not on your way to school by then it was panic stations. I attended this school until 11 years old.'
 

 Lodgers


Many families took in lodgers to supplement their income.
'One of my early memories was of an elderly gentleman who at one time lived in the front room at 55 Church Road. Mr Spregget shared the room with his wife until she died but I don’t remember her. Sometimes he would play his old gramophone for us kids. He liked going fishing for shrimps and catching crabs down the beach. He showed us how to pick up crabs without getting our fingers nipped. Mum usually got the job of cooking them. He was in some way connected to St Andrews Church (church warden) and got into the habit of telling everyone he met, a Bible story, even us kids. This didn’t go down too well with Mum who was mostly too busy to stop and listen. He left 55 to go to live with a relative after Mum told him she could do with the extra room with her family growing up. Us kids would sometimes bring mussels collected off the groynes home in our swimming towels and got told off for spoiling them. (Still ate the mussels though).

 
Eldest son Alfred joins the Navy where he becomes a sub-mariner

Growing up

My eldest brother Alf was in the Royal Navy serving 12 years. Sister Ivy was a live-in maid for a family in Hove. This left Mum, Dad and five of us still at home, a full-time job for Mum.

 
1960's photo

 Work 

Dad worked for John Edde Butt timber importer alongside the canal, stacking timber off the boats or loading orders ready to be delivered. His brother George also worked at the same job. At first, the transport was all horse-drawn, and so a load of timber for a place like Ovingdean was an all day trip, drivers took their dinner with them. They must have needed at least a two horse team or even four on the hilly sections.'

 
A 1920's family picnic
A 1920's family picnic

Happy times

'During the summer months, we would all go up to Mile Oak on the hills, Mum and Dad with the picnic tea and kettle. Catch the single decker bus from the Battle of Trafalgar Pub to the Water Works stop, younger ones played rounders or cricket while Dad boiled a kettle and Mum unpacked any food stuff. Ivy and Joyce might bring along a boyfriend. 
The high spot of the outing was the arrival of the ice cream tricycle; ‘Walls’ probably. The Mad rush to be there first or at least beg our parents for some of their hard earned pennies. Ices cost 1/2d or 1d in old money, sounds cheap but then 10/- or today’s 50p would pay Mums grocery bill for the week. This would be a Sunday outing of course when Dad's not working.
Another memory is the annual invasion of Daddy-longlegs in the outside toilet, dozens dotted all round the walls. No good being scared of spiders in those days. No insecticide to kill them off. Sticky fly papers were another familiar sight, no home was without them, even more in food shops.
Spent a good deal of my school holiday playing down by the canal. Crabbing quite often. Very cheap fishing gear, a long piece of string and a fish head. Pennyworth of fish heads from the chip shop would feed the cat and supply the bait. Thread the string through the eye sockets and tie securely. Toss it in the canal and wait, not very long usually. As soon as you saw a crab on the bait began the tricky bit, a slow gentle haul up onto dry land or a quick whisk up, gambling he’d be ashore before he dropped back in the water. We spent hours at this, lost in a world of our own. 

George Langrish with the family dog Sylvia

George Langrish with family dog Sylvia 

On one such day, we took our dog Sylvia with us and lost her, so engrossed in our play we forgot her. Lucky for us she had gone home on her own, but mind you, we got a good ticking off about it. Back to crabs, most got thrown back in after a count to see who had captured the most. They were not the large eating type that you got over the beach. We tried shrimping too with a piece of round tyre and sacking but Mum said the canal was too dirty to eat the catch.day we took our dog Sylvia with us and lost her, so engrossed in our play we forgot her. Lucky for us she had gone home on her own, but mind you, we got a good ticking off about it. Back to crabs, most got thrown back in after a count to see who had captured the most. They were not the large eating type that you got over the beach. We tried shrimping too with a piece of round tyre and sacking but Mum said the canal was too dirty to eat the catch.
There were a couple of places where you could hire rowing boats and spend a few hours swanning up and down the river, nice boats they were, each had a name painted on it. During the summer you could go across the canal on a ferry boat, a fair size rowing boat, for a penny return. This was to reach the beach behind the gas works which was our nearest. Didn’t use it much but walked to Hove Beach by the lagoon, we all fell in it at least once fully clothed. Overreaching for a sailing boat put me in at one time. Dad made a fair size sailing boat and took us down a few times, not sure if he did it for his pleasure or ours, I think we lost interest if it got becalmed too often. Model boat racing on Sundays went on for years at Hove Lagoon, for adults mainly with handmade boats.

 
Evelyn with Floss and kittens
Evelyn with Floss and kittens

 Cats and more cats

A word of two about the cats at home. All households had one, not as pets but to catch mice. Female cats were the best at this job so this is what we had, one was named Floss, a family favourite I believe. Having a female cat had its drawbacks, of course, they got pregnant all too often so we grew up with this. When her time drew near a corner of the floor level cupboard was cleared and lined with a piece of blanket. If Floss crept in there we had strict orders to leave her be. In due course, the kittens were born and still, we had to stay clear, only perhaps a quick peep was permitted. After a few days, it was a case of watch your step if they were exploring the kitchen and making sure they all had a share of the saucer of milk and not tip it over. 

Most were found a home when they were old enough to leave their mother, replacements for cats getting too old, or new homes needing a cat.
Sometimes a mouse got indoors, frightened Mum by leaping out of a cupboard perhaps. The cat then got a telling off for not earning her keep and Dad had to find the hole it came from and block it up by nailing a piece of tin over it.

 

 Feeding the family

Sunday morning Mum liked to get most of us out of the house while Sunday roast dinner was cooked. Polish our shoes put on our Sunday best and go for a walk. ‘Don’t spoil your clothes and be home by one o’clock sharp’ was the order. Dinner waits for no-one. A man with a hand barrow called most Sunday mornings with cooked winkles, Mum had a pint or more regularly. Put to soak in clean water till tea time to clean out any sand or grit. Whoever laid tea had to be sure every place had a pin of a needle for winkle picking. The younger ones like me needed help to start with but soon left to get on with it on our own.
Jelly was another Sunday regular but getting them to set was sometimes a problem. No fridge in those days. Made overnight and stood in bowls of cold water was about all you could do, and still, sometimes it only half set, I didn’t care I liked runny jelly.

 

 Great presents

Popular present for us boys was a battery torch, bigger the better. To own a torch that could shine a spot on the houses opposite was really “wizard”. Lots of houses, including ours, still had gas lighting and electric things were a new idea. Candles were used to light your way to bed and to the outside toilet; great fun trying to keep a candle alight on a windy night. Sometimes better to take matches and to light the candle out there. One-upmanship was to take your very own torch. I’m not sure what year we had the electric light put in at 55 Church Road, but I remember I had to stand on a chair to reach the light switches.

 

 Swapping  comics

All keen comic readers as kids we had regular swapping sessions when a friend would bring a bundle along to exchange. First, lay them out in the hall. Go through them to check we’d not read them, then do the swap, one for one, a 2d book for a 2d book, 1d comic for 1d comic, all very fair and above board. Sounds pretty silly now but I suppose it's where you learn your sense of values. My close friends called me Shrimp in those days, probably because I was small.'

 

 Bonfire night

'Bonfire nights were quite special and most families with children had fireworks. Dad had no problem getting sawdust for the guy and scrap wood from where he worked at the timber yard. After our own fire and fireworks, we would go out and watch other kids up the roads opposite. There were always some late starters. Gordon and I went really mad one year and spent every penny we could lay our hands on for weeks before Nov. 5th on fireworks. On the night we had so many we got bored lighting them one at a time and were setting them off two and three at once. I think we must have been older than to have had pocket money, it was probably our grand finale and didn’t bother anymore after that.'


   Christmas

'I don’t remember Christmas trees at home but we did all the other decorating and put up holly, paper chains and balloons. Mum made three Christmas puddings and two quite large cakes, the puddings had to boil for hours and the cakes taken across to the bakery where they were baked in the bread oven for 2d each. Mum left Dad to do the icing or Ivy would call in and do it. We kids did our share by cutting up peel, skinning the almonds, stoning the fruit, taking samples here and there. All had to stir the pudding for luck and last and most important, clean out the mixing bowl. Let's hope that there will always be some excitement and magic for children at Christmas time as there was for us. Nothing is quite like finding your toys on Christmas morning, shining your new torch on the ceiling, or magic lantern slides on the wall. Allowed your first drink of the forbidden drink that was for ‘grown-ups only’ on Christmas Day'.

 

Grandmother, Aunt Pay and two Miss Mills sister
Grandmother, Aunt Pay and two Miss Mills sisters

 Country visitors

'I think this is the time for a line or two about the ‘three ladies from Henfield’. My Gran's sister whose name was Patience or Pay as she was called, lived with two retired school teachers as their companion/housekeeper in a house at Henfield. These two ladies we knew as the two Miss Mills’. I have no idea of their Christian names.
My memories of these three ladies are as follows. Mum and Dad had word that they were visiting one certain day and in due course, a taxi would arrive outside. Out would step the three, long black dresses down to the ankles, button up shoes, broad brim hats decorated with artificial cherries or masses of flowers. All their clothes were years out of date but they just did not appear to worry about such things. They sipped tea and chatted with Mum and Dad, giggled quite a bit while us youngsters had to behave ourselves. Before leaving they would go through a little ceremony of presenting each of us children with a coin of some sort, a three penny piece or ‘a silver sixpence’ as they put it, most likely with a pat on the head and some comment like a school teacher might make. I think it was probably a bit of an ordeal for Mum; would her children let her down in front of the fine ladies? and was relieved to see their taxi depart.
Next stop would be to see Dad's brother George and family up North Street. Mum and Dad would go to visit them at Henfield every so often and be treated to a good blow-out (meal) and sample their home-made jams and wines. Mum and Dad used to joke about their toilet at the bottom of the garden and the need to visit it after all the food and sips of wine. It could be from these visits that Dad got some of his winemaking tips. He kept his bottles in the front room cupboard and sometimes while sitting quietly, there would be quite a loud pop, we all knew what it was, one of Dad's corks blown out. His wine-making methods were far different to that I use today. Bakers yeast to start with, and no checking gravity, anyway it used to be enjoyed and that’s what counts.'
 

 Fire Brigade

'Our local fire brigade sometimes gave us some free entertainment when they practised down by the canal. They dropped their intake hose into the canal then played their hoses out over the water, quite exciting for us kids. A chap called Reg Sleeman was our hero, he was the only crew member strong enough to hold a hose at full pressure on his own. The gas works also had its own fire engine crew, and at local fetes, there was a friendly rivalry between the two teams with the crowd vocally cheering on their favourites. These fetes were held in Windlesham House grounds at first, then later in Victoria recreation ground.

On the subject of fire brigades, Mum dreaded the thought of a chimney fire and was forever going on at Dad for piling the fire too high. One day it did catch fire in the back room and someone summoned the fire brigade, poor Mum nearly died of shame. They put it out with no problem and off they went. Within a few minutes the wood cupboard beside the chimney breast started to burn so we had to get the brigade back again. Oh! double shame.
Thunderstorms were one thing that upset Mum and she would rush around hiding all the knives and covered the mirrors. Ivy told us that Mum would hide under the stairs but I’m not saying that I remember that, maybe she got braver with more of us around. Strange really, she was not a timid woman normally, boil lobsters and crabs and skin rabbits without turning a hair.

 
Bernard Langrish with friend  Jack Ellis
Bernard Langrish with friend  
Jack Ellis

 Playing games

One of our favourite play areas was known to us as ‘the pits’; now Vale Park, and we spent hours over there, building camps from old iron bedsteads, rolling car tyres down Cabbage Hill, flying kites. Probably the main attraction was that we were not supposed to be there. It was fenced all round and a bit dangerous really. Cabbage Hill had quite a long slope on one side and so a tyre rolled down made a mess of the old oil drums we stacked up at the bottom. The ultimate dare was to lay the tyre flat and slide down on it. You didn’t do it too often though, it was too much hard work dragging the tyre back up the slope. Brick fights were another game we played, divide into sides and throw stones at each other, not as bad as it sounds, usually out of range of each other and not very good shots anyway. Dustbin lid shields were allowed but too much trouble to carry and would slow you down quite a bit. I did go home with a cut head once after forgetting to duck, my cap saved a worse injury. Got a ticking off from Mum that time. “you been over those pits again” she’d say, “no Mum” I say, “so what’s all that mud on your boots?” she’d say; "end of conversation".
It was during one of these running battles over the pits that a schoolmate Peter Wynn ran through a wasp nest and got very badly stung when they rose up to attack him. He had to go up the doctors for treatment.
A much more serious accident took place over there when a boy was drowned in a flooded pit. We heard that the police were dragging the pit for a body, it appears he was playing on a home-made raft when it happened. He was from my school St Nicholas and one of the twins. The whole school was quite upset for a while. I remember his brother being taken home from school because he was so upset and burst into tears in class.
A pea-shooter craze we had for a while came to an abrupt end when one of the gang got a pea stuck in his ear and had to go to the doctors to have it removed. Not funny, but I have to laugh now when I think of it. The street lights were our usual targets, didn’t break them of course but made a nice ‘ting’ sound.

 

Helping at home

In spite of all this I did sometimes do something useful, wind the mangle for Mum on wash day, help pull the sheets with Mum; never did know quite what it was supposed to do, but she always did it. To earn my pocket money I had to lay up the table for tea and be on time. Sister Joyce used to work at the Star Laundry just down the road from 55 Church Road and if she worked overtime she just had enough time to dash home for a quick cup of tea and a bite to eat, that’s providing it was ready waiting. We came out of school at 4.15 and tea was for 5 o’clock so there was no time to hang about.
 
Granddad on his Allotment
Granddad on his Allotment

Dad's Allotment 

My Dad had an allotment which he had taken over from his father and sometimes when at a loose end I’d go up with him, probably not much help, but I’d do a bit of watering, weeding and help pick peas, beans and generally keep Dad company. His hut, not shed you notice, was decorated outside with oyster shells which I think probably his father put up. Sometimes we’d take food with us and a bottle of cold tea which I didn't like much, ( the tea that is). He lost this allotment when the electricity people wanted the ground for a power grid. He was given another on a different site bit never really took to it and after a few years gave it up. It had been useful when he’d had a large family to feed no doubt and he sold a few bunches of flowers that he’d grown there, although it was only a few shillings which helped to buy more seeds.'

 

 Leaving school

'I moved up to St Nicolas Senior Boys School at about 11 or 12 years old. This school still stands at Southern Cross but no longer used as such. The headmaster at the time was a Mr Burns and had five classes and five teachers. Brother Gordon had been to this school also but being two years older had just left as I started there. I made the school choir and went to the Lewes School choirs competition two years running. Once a week went to school at Windlesham for woodwork class, liked woodwork, hated the teacher.'
 
George A. M. Langrish
George A. M. Langrish

War years

'While in my last year at school the first rumblings of war were growing, talking of building up the forces, getting civil defences ready to deal with air raids. Left school at 14 years to work for a plumber and within a year war had begun on 3rd September 1939, a Sunday morning of all days. There was a fair old scare the first day, the air raid sirens sounded, we all expected that the bombing might start at once but of course, it did not. 

People talked about going up to the hills to avoid the bombing, but we finally stayed put in our own homes. Air attacks on Britain didn't start in fact until the following year. In April 1940 a German mine laying aircraft was shot down at Clacton, Essex killing all it's crew and two civilians, plus 160 injured. The first bomb deaths in England. Lots of naval battles had taken place, our troops sent to France and Norway but this was Britain’s first taste of civilian casualties.
George my brother and Ivy’s husband were among the first to be called up for service. 
George fell into the right age group for an instant call-up. My sister Joyce got married to Charles Gatrell who was by then in the army, but I'm not sure of the date. Brother Gordon went into the Airforce as a ground staff mechanic as his call-up came.

My job with the plumber had all but dried up as the war had put a stop to all but bomb damage repair work on the buildings. I went to work at a polish making works in Victoria Road called Rose Polishes Limited, nothing special, waiting for my call-up. Dad's job at the timber yard finished, no timber imports in wartime, but Dad and his brother George had been given jobs as fire-watchers on a full-time basis to guard the dock area against fire bomb attacks by aircraft. They had to learn all the drill to man fire pumps like the fire brigade. Dad got lumbered to sort out the duty shifts and pay wages out.'

 
Joyce and Roger Gatrell 1942
Joyce and Roger Gatrell 1942

 Civilian casualties 

 'The heavy bombing raids are now in the past, thanks to the R.A.F. fighter planes making mass attacks too costly in terms of men and machines for the Germans to keep up. The tactic now is for low-level attacks along the coast by single or pairs of aircraft. One such raid robbed us of my sister and her son, two-year-old Roger. Their house took a direct hit and there was just no chance. Dad had the sad task of identification. Her husband was flown home from North Africa for the funeral or soon after.

My Mum was very upset and in fact went with Ivy and Evelyn to stay with her brother Gordon at Weybridge where Ivy and Eve got jobs in Vickers aircraft factory. This left Dad and me at home alone for a while, Dad away at night fire- watching, me at work day times and doing some duties with the home guard at the Old Village Brewery

 
Bernard R. S. Langrish
Bernard R. S. Langrish

 My call up

'My call up came to report to Maidstone Barracks on March 18th, 1943, for my six weeks basic training. From there up to Harrogate for a three-month driving course, sounds a long time but we did other training as well, square bashing, weapons drill and field gun training. Had a few moves around the country then boarded a ship at Liverpool bound for? They don't tell you that. Sailed on a large peacetime liner, a fifteen-day trip down through the Med. Sunning ourselves on deck, back to earth though when they had gun practice, locked below decks while they fired off every deck gun on board, quite a racket. Spent a few days in Algiers area then back on a boat to dock at Naples, Italy. 

Got fed up after weeks in another training camp and put in for a cooks course, spent 3 months learning to burn toast and make tea and passed out as a BII cook, automatic transfer from Royal Artillery to Army Catering Corp. (hang my head in shame, what a come down). Posted to a huge training and reserve camp near Salerno. There were about a dozen cook-houses, each feeding a thousand odd. 

 

 War is over

It was here when the war in Europe ended and we heard the bells ringing from the village up on the hillside. They got the news before we did. The camp cooks held a massive party for the village children, cakes by the hundred, ice cream, the lot. So much over that kids were taking home whole 6" and 8" round cakes. It was a great day all round. The village made the ice cream but the camp gave the ingredients for it. 
Posted from there to a new unit being formed to go to the Far East, the war with Japan was still going on so forces were being sent out to that area. Luckily for us after a few weeks of getting weighed up to fly out and sorted out, they dropped the atom bomb and it was all over. Japan surrendered.
Unit split up again, posted with a group across the Med. to Palestine. Moved around to several places, including a camp just outside Gaza where there has been lots of trouble between Arab and Jew since. Had a few weeks with an RAF unit in Jerusalem, they didn't need a cook as they had plenty so I had an easy few weeks in the stores. Finally found a more static posting with a Military Police Detention Barracks on the outskirts of Jerusalem. All staff there are Sergeants so it was a Sergeant's mess cookhouse.
Our quarters were a large villa type house with three floors, cooks in the basement, and kitchen on ground floor. Not bad there really, no one bothered you much. Because of the terrorist activity, everyone had to take turns to be on guard. Cooks had early turn because of being up early. Quite a panic one day when one of our cooks on guard was talking to a Sergeant and fiddling with his Sten gun, fired off a shot. The Sergeant dropped to the ground shouting he'd been shot but on looking him over there was no blood. The bullet struck a coin in his trouser pocket which stopped it dead. All he suffered was a painful bruise on his thigh and a loss of dignity. I bet he's still got that coin and tells the story quite often. The chap on guard was lucky too he only got a ticking off for being careless. After that sten guns were not loaded on guard. Of course, the Sergeant had quite a lot of leg pulling after that 'nearly lost it that time' sort of jokes. 
There were quite a number of attacks on British forces and a sort of undeclared war existed all the time. Mostly had to go out in groups of not less than four and carry arms. Spent nearly a year there during which time Romy had written and we had exchanged letters weekly and Romy sent me a newspaper weekly. Came back to England with still a few weeks to go before getting demobilised. Easy to get weekend leave so it was no real hardship.'

   Safely home again

'Some food was still on ration and clothes restricted by coupons.
My family, Mum, Dad, George, Gordon, Evelyn and myself were all now living at 55.
Brother Alf, his wife Hilda and son Allen were living at Fairways Crescent, Portslade.
 Sister Ivy and husband Ted were living at Yardley Street, Brighton.'

 

Gordon Langrish with wife Jean (right) and daughter.  The other lady is Jeans twin
Gordon Langrish with wife Jean (right) and daughter.  The other lady is Jeans twin

 Weddings

'Gordon was first to be wed after the war, he married Jean Woolard who lived in Wimbledon and so the wedding was up there. They started married life in a flat in Shaftsbury Road, Brighton I believe and had a baby daughter in January 1950

Evelyn Langrish weds Peter Rooke
'Evelyn and Peter got married at Hove registry office on April 8th, 1950, they first had a flat in Livingstone Road, Hove.' 







 'Romy and I got married the same year on September 23rd, 1950 and had two rooms in Southview Road, Southwick. Stayed only about a year then moved to a flat on the ground floor at 8 Mile Oak Gardens, Portslade for the next two years. We had a quiet wedding at Hove registry office, followed by an afternoon reception for just 22 guests at a place called 'Streets' in Brunswick Road, Shoreham. Had a weeks honeymoon with some friends at Portsmouth, Mr and Mrs Crane.' 

 

 George remained living at 55 until his death in 2003.
He worked at the Brighton Sheet Metal Works in St James Street, Brighton and went on many of the works excursions.

 

 Mother & Father 

'I lost my mother to a heart attack in December 1959, aged 73, the last day of the year, in fact, the 30th, quite suddenly at home and hopefully, with very little pain, brother George was there with her at the time. Dad died of old age in June 1962 aged 75 at Cuckfield Hospital'

 

 Returning the keys

'After the death of my brother in March 2003 it came upon me to clear the house that had been my family's home for almost 90 years returning the keys to the landlord. A final tour around the house with my daughter and her family to recount the many experiences and memories it evoked and a last step over the threshold and the end of a long chapter in the history of a small Portslade house.'


The author of this article, Bernard Langrish passed away peacefully aged 92 in the spring of 2017



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