If you remember the 1960s heydays of Framfield Road and New Town in Uckfield then a visit to an exhibition running at Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre in Uckfield will cement memories for you.
If you are a newcomer then you will be fascinated to see how that area of town has changed over the years, with documents showing how individual parcels of land were sold and developed, and photographs showing shops and businesses which once thrived, then disappeared.
Best of all is to hear other people chatting over their memories as maps and photographs reveal once more the places they played as a child, and the characters they remember.
Seventy-five-year-old Jenny Pursglove, nee Jones, for example, used to live at 147 Framfield Road, and played with her friends in a sand pit at the bottom of the road. After it rained heavily they would run through ‘the brooks’ to see if there was flooding, because there nearly always was.
They would sit on the high pavement of Framfield Road with feet on the step and take car numbers – but that would quickly get boring because there weren’t many cars.
She remembers they would cross the road and sit on the wall of Uckfield Laundry – premises now occupied by Mitchell and Cooper – and watch a Miss Rice training dogs for the police.
She said: “They would run up a very long ladder, through a dolls house at the top, and come out with a doll in their mouth and then come down a ladder. It was fascinating to watch.”
Also there was a lump of concrete outside the laundry which the children could kneel on to look through a window and watch the belts, wheels and pulleys of the steam machinery in action.
Jenny said: “It was brilliant fun. I had a lovely childhood.”
The exhibition shows how Framfield Road had shops ranging from Post Office to fish shop, greengrocer to general store along with hairdressers, sweet shops and butchers.
The peak of prosperity was around the late 1960s when national shopping experiences started to change and the first supermarket, Fine Fare, came to town – in the premises now occupied by Sussex Stationers.
People liked being able to find all their groceries under one roof, and select them themselves without queuing.
Apparently the first 100 customers were offered a free frozen Buxted chicken – and this was at a time when few people had fridges never mind freezers.
There’s much to learn in this exhibition which ranges from the arrival and growth of the railway, to revealing the history behind the names of groups of cottages. It also remembers lost buildings.
The exhibition began on Saturday and will run to this Saturday opening daily from 10am-3pm.