Photo: Illustrative image for the 'CHRIST CHURCH CHURCH HALL' page

Story from the past

By Mary Avenell

Where's the French Chalk?

I wonder how many of you remember the socials and New Year's Eve parties held in the church rooms in South Road?  No discos and flashing lights in those days.  Instead we danced the veleta and progressive barn dance to the music of the Brownings' Band.

The Browning family were very talented.  Mrs Browning played the piano whilst her sons played piano-accordion and drums.  Mr Browning was Master of Ceremonies.  The wooden church room floor was very rough and plenty of French chalk was needed before we could begin to dance.  We played team games and quizzes and it was a lovely family atmosphere with Mums, Dads and teenagers all joining in the fun.

Food was not so plentiful in those days so Mrs Petter's iced sponge cakes and her home-made ice cream topped with chocolate and served in paper cases were a great treat.

On New Year's Eve my uncle, Reg Foulsham (who was also a brilliant pianist) led us into a conga.  Round and round the hall we danced, then he led us behind the stage, down the stone stairs into the basement, past the boiler room, through the vestry and into Christ Church.  When seated, we celebrated a midnight service to welcome in the New year.

This page was added by Ginny Smith on 14/02/2008.
Comments about this page

My memory of the hall is from the outside, walking home for lunch from Meeching Junior School, and feeling mightily glad that I didn't have to go into the hall for the school dinners being served inside: The smell of that roast lamb haunts me to this day!

By David Woolford
On 10/07/2008

The Browning family band consisted of my lovely grandad, Jim (Jimmer) Browning, my Nan (I think her maiden name was Mercy Jane Corbett), my Dad (Ralph Browning) on the drums and my Uncles Maurice and Ray Browning on the accordians.

Uncle Ray still lives in Newhaven with his wife Dot, while my Dad (Ralph) and his wife Joyce moved back to Eastbourne from Orpington some four years ago.

The Browning family lived in Saxon Road.

By jane bayley
On 09/12/2009

Remember Christ Church hall very well, We used to hire the hall to play badminton. Remember the Browning's band as well. Great, Ray and Ralph became apprentices at the Marine Workshops at the same time as me. Happy Days.

By John Snow
On 09/06/2012

I remember school morning assemblies in the Church hall, school plays, Christmas celebrations, school dinners (that always left an unappetizing smell of boiled cabbage) dance recitals, country dancing, WI jumble sales, Brownies and Girl Guides, a Men-Cap Autumn Fair, and a school medical. As a child, I loved running up the stone steps from the basement to the stage, giggling and excited to be performing in a ballet or tap recital with Jean Cantell's Dance Studio. One Christmas, when I was at Meeching Infants School, we had our Christmas carols and nativity celebrations in the church, and another time the church was filled with flowers and vegetables for the Harvest Festival. I fainted on two occasions during the long morning school assemblies when we had to stand in an airless, packed church hall. One time I came to and found the teacher had helped me outside and laid me down on the grass in the small cemetery in front of the church. It was actually very blissful to come to and look up at the huge beech trees and blue sky. It was a very hot day, and even at 9:30 in the morning the sun was beating down. I was so glad to be out of that stuffy hall and breathing fresh air again.

By Caroline Morrison (nee Taylor)
On 07/02/2014

At Christmas time in 1962 I played the lead role of Joseph in the nativity play in this hall. I was at Meeching County Junior School at the time. I think the part of Mary was played by Lorraine Dean. Tim Capon was the Innkeeper. A mixture of excitement and nervousness ensued.

By Ron Herriott
On 31/08/2017

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