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Judith Spencer was born in 1939 in Crescent Road. The street is on the top of a hill and overlooked the allotments, and was near the railway line that used to go up to Barcombe Mills.

"We had a big garden so we didn't need an allotment, but I remember spending a lot of time there. As kids we used it as a playground. We used to sit in a damson tree that we had flattened so it was like a huge armchair, singing songs and eating any fruit we'd nicked. We used to be able to hear our mum shouting across the valley when it was our teatime.

The entrance to the allotments was by the stonemasons, and opposite was an abattoir. You could hear the pigs squealing from our house when they we're being killed. Occasionally a cow would escape and there'd be uproar with everybody chasing it!

During the war the allotments were like gold dust and they were really well looked after; straight rows of vegetables with no weeds.

Right at the top of the allotments used to be Bates Farm and we used to play a game where we would see how far we could get before the geese came out and chased us! There was also an army barracks and a school for `backward' children, just off the Lewes Road.

When they started building the estate we were really angry that they were taking away one of our playgrounds. I only went on that estate once to visit a friend. We hated the place. From my house I could see the bulldozers moving in. The allotment holders moved out and we used to go up and play in the abandoned sheds. I used to take my dad's fork and dig up things people had left behind to stick in our garden. I remember one day towing a huge gooseberry bush home on a piece of rope - that old gooseberry bush went on for years.

We also used to go and play on Hollingbury golf course. There was one particular hole on that golf course, where you couldn't see the hole from the tee and we used to hear them shout four, see the ball, run out from the bushes put the ball in the hole - we put two in one day - and run back in the bushes and watch. The last place the golfers would look is in the hole! And they'd be `well done old chap' and backslapping, thinking they'd got a hole in one we'd be killing ourselves laughing! We also played on what we called the Roman camp (Hollingbury hill fort), on the Level and at Saunders Park.

We used to play in the streets and there was hardly any cars. If one came it was a major inconvenience `cos we'd have our skipping rope - my mum's washing line - across the road. There used to be the vegetable man, the coal man, and the milkman. We had our compost collected for the pig farm. They used to supply you with an aluminium bucket with a lid on and my mum used to put all her peelings and whatever in there and they'd come round and collect it.

   

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