The Crouches
Kitty Lashly
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Tom Edwards
Ernie Treagus
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A village history in West Sussex


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Kitty Lashly - My earliest memories of an idyllic childhood at Westbourne.

Up Covington Road, I remember the Grange flats, and before that there was a Children's Home They walked in a crocodile to school. Margery Smith was the Matron. At Christmas we were invited to their party, as my Dad, Harry Lashly would play the principal part Father Christmas! The yard at the front belonged to the local Council, where the horses, carts and steamroller were kept.

Along the roads were open ditches, access to lots of houses was a small bridge. At the side Of Byrleys Mill (River Street,) was a small well, all of this was piped in the early 30s, and pavements made. School saw a progress of teachers - Mrs Hellyer, the infants, anyone fidgeting she would sit on - Miss Coombes, who taught us to knit dish cloths in spider stitch - Nellie Allan, Mr Urry, Miss Kemp and Mr Symonds, the Head. We always started the day with assembly, and closed the day, with prayers and a hymn. Sydney Ambrose was the Fire Officer, the pump being towed on the back of one of Lashly's lorries. Bertie Watt had the prize job of collecting sewerage with his horse and cart, as a lot of houses were not connected to drainage. Out of school activities - Brownies, Guides run by Miss Kemp and Audrey Watson - Kings Messengers in the middle house at the Miss Edens - Miss Kemp also helped with Church and Sunday School, and wrote religious plays which were performed in the Conservative Hall (now the Old School House, in Church path) on Good Friday.

Den Coasby ran the Scouts at Mrs Close's, Foxbury Lane. Sports Day in July, we would march to the Cricket Ground. Some of us were Foresters and wore a green sash. Races, followed by tea, then to the fair which arrived each year. 'School Day out' was Lashly's 'EverGreen' Coach, to either London Zoo or Hampton Court. 'Church Sunday School Outing' , Hayling Island - walk to Emsworth Station, train to Havant, then change for Hayling Puffing Billy, return worn out. Westbourne had quite a strong football team, Easter Monday was a six-a-side knockout, a lovely day followed by a Dance. at the Conservative Hall (not for me, not old enough). Westbourne also had a good cricket team. The Salvation Army was well attended and had a band which played on our corner every Sunday afternoon. August was Carnival Day, when a number of our lorries would be used for floats, the excitement of getting ready in great secrecy, cars and walkers at Edgell's field, then on to Chichester at night to compete with all of the other villages.

There weren't many telephones in the village, so ours was used for all emergencies at Commonside, I remember taking messages to a number of people from the Royal West Sussex Hospital. The local policeman also came regularly, nine o'clock at night he would book into Chichester. I remember the Prince of Wales (later George VI) staying at Adsdean House with the Mountbattens, official duty, we schoolchildren lined the Square waving flags. And on Lord Duncannon's 21st birthday, all the local schools were invited to celebrate at Stansted Park. Much later I played stoolball for Stansted.

Westbourne had lots of shops - starting at the Grove, Mr Holman the chemist, Cripps' papers (now the chippy) - in the Square, Dr Soame's surgery in Mr Pratt's house (now St Leger), George and Dragon public house (run by my parents, and where I was born), Pullen the butcher, some houses later Milton's General, Watson's General, Manchips, Duke & Hellyer (ironmonger's), watchmender - leaving the Square, next to Watson's was the baker's, opposite Trudgett's, later Cripps moved to the corner (now Desai's), later Mead's baker and general (now Spice Cottage). In East Street, Mr Hemming shoes, Mr Millington sweets, AIf and Bill Goddard blacksmiths. North Street, Morgan's, a super shop, clothes (ladies and gents), shoes, materials, wools, lino - everything required in the 30s and 40s, Mr Goddard, the post master, who had the unfortunate job of delivering priority telegrams during the War. Wool shop, and opposite Mr Daniell's sold sweets, and celluloid dolls for 2 pence (just under 1p in today's money). - Millington's coal merchants (delivered by horse and cart), Boyle's shoe merchant, Johnson's general, home-made ice cream and sweets, then Mr Homer's sweets. Ellis's nursery for tomatoes and plants, and so to Commonside Mrs Cole's (sweets in the front room), Mr Hellyer's General, on corner of School Lane, Sydney Ambrose plumber and Gilbert Ambrose butcher, Lashly's Haulage up to the Common, a hut where Monger's made fish and chips - or round to Commonside, the Cricketers, then close to the river a small front-room shop with sweets - Monks Hill , Bailey's joiners and builders, In 1939 life changed, war broke out, one by one we were called up. An Army Camp was built by the cemetery, Ack-Ack units at different points round the village, a beacon and searchlights at the top of Monks Hill.

Copy of certificate I got when presenting money collected to help build St Richard's Hospital - the Westbourne Collection was £8, in a special purse made from blue silk ribbon.   

WESTBOURNE 1930 - 1939

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