A Brighton cliff top business and dwelling

By Chris Holford

My father, Frederick Holford, was born at Black Rock Farm in 1906. His father, Lawrence Holford, had carted building materials for the construction of Roedean School and had then started farming at Black Rock. He was a 'greenmeat' supplier and sold fresh grass and clover etc, to the brewery stables in Brighton. He had two horses, 'Captain' and 'Lion'.

My father had one elder brother, Lawrence, who was killed by falling aircraft debris while on duty as a special constable in Brighton in 1941. Frederick had two elder sisters, Olive and Ivy. Ivy travelled round the world and ended up living in Canada. My favourite aunt, Olive, stayed in England and was working as a housekeeper in Henfield when I remember her.

I don't know the date of the painting. The story is that an artist was on a walking tour and asked to sleep in the barn. Instead of paying for accommodation he painted the picture. My father also told of a man with a dancing bear who would stay in the barn when visiting Brighton. (It must have been a comfortable barn, as the 1901 census has two people living in it!) As a boy/young man my father was interested in 'wireless' and had an enormous length of wire strung along the cliff top with which he was able to pick up signals from the Eiffel Tower.

My grandmother planted a tamarisk hedge round the garden. When I visited Brighton in the early 60s I noticed a tamarisk hedge on the golf course and wondered if it could be the same one.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'BLACK ROCK FARM' page
This page was added on 05/03/2010.
Comments about this page

Hello Chris, I am the daughter of Norman Holford, born at Newhouse Farm Sheepcote Valley in 1908, the son of Silas and Beatrice.They had 13 children, he being the youngest! Silas had brothers, Rote, William, Clement and Ward,who lived in Tidy St. Brighton. I met him during the war, and Lawrence(your Grandad) with the sisters make a total of 12 children. The Holfords had a large Dairy herd of possibly 200 cows? Milk was delivered to customers from around Roedean boarding school to most of Kemp Town and down to St. James ice cream parlour! I was born at 2 Manor farm cottages, Manor Farm. This was demolished when building began on the new estate. 2 police houses were built on the exact site of the cottages which were in turn demolished to make way for St. Marks new school. I was at the reunion in 1995. When my father was in the Pioneer Corps we moved to live in Bennett Road(31). during the war, when we were bombed out, May 18th 1943,we lived for some weeks in the red brick house (Park House) east Brighton, with my grand parents, Mr. & Mrs. Alf Hodgkin. By mollystyles On 30/04/2010

By Molly Styles
On 14/05/2010