My dad was born in Woodingdean, 1926, shortly after his family moved into the village. The emerging village of shacks and tracks was almost nearly civilised by the time of his arrival. There was a shop or two, a cafe, and the Downs Hotel had just been opened the year before. Nevertheless, on the Downs Estate, east of the Falmer Road, it was a few years before such luxuries as tarmacked roads, electricity, or mains water arrived.
At the time of his death, as far as we are aware, whilst he was not the oldest person in Woodingdean, he was the oldest surviving indigenous Woodingdeaner.
I have touched on the early days of Woodingdean in two previous blog entries, Woodingdean and the Great War; Common Origins, and WW2 & the Woodingdean Downs Talk, as well as in the last two draft chapters of my Newmarket Farm book, Chapter 8. New Developments — 1911–1925, and Chapter 9. Brighton Corporation — 1925– Present. More can be read in the three books on Woodingdean’s early history by Peter Mercer. One day soon I hope to write of some of my dad’s experiences of early Woodingdean in more detail. But not today.
Meanwhile, here are a very few pictures of some of his contributions to our dig.
Looking N at excavation of the possible front door; 3rd May 2013.
He was a quiet, intelligent man, practical man, with a sense of humour, adventure, appreciation of nature, and a belief in our responsibilities to others and the planet. He will be missed by many.