This article was first published in the West Sussex Gazette on 24th August 2000
Barry Green, a warm and friendly character born in Lancing in 1939, still lives in that community which is the largest village in England. Like his father before him he's spent virtually all his life there.
Wartime infant: Young Barry Green wearing a regulation issue gas mask around 1944, while standing on the doorstep of the family home at 34 South Street, Lancing.
His mother was a Sussex lass too, from Shoreham, just a few miles away. She lived until 1995 out-living her husband by some 45 years. Barry, who was born into a thatched cottage in South Street opposite the Farmers' Hotel, recalls his formative years:-
'I was raised at no.34 South Street, one of a short terrace known as Myrtle Cottages and owned by the Mason family.
'At that time most people collected something during their childhood or teenage years and some kept those collections, even into adult life for affectionate reasons and as memorabilia. It may be that some are even of considerable financial value now.
'I often wonder what happened to so many of the things my friends and I collected during those years.
'There were the usual hobbies: like acquiring postage stamps, particularly those from foreign lands, and especially Commonwealth countries which were very popular; and collecting foreign coins, but those were quite rare in a place like Lancing then.
'Very few people travelled abroad in those days apart from those who had so recently been involved in the conflict of World War II.
A dress rehearsal for the Christmas play at South Lancing School 1947/1948. Those identified are: Barry Green, Audrey Meaby, Beryl Lauder, Brenda Dunford, Derek Christmas, James Godfrey, Robert Lavey, Jane Roberts, David Waddup, John Lewis, John Parsons, Elaine Freeman, Sally Simpson, Dorothy Stenning, Barrie Welman, Rodney Poundsett, Stanley Rosenbloom, Sheila Bishop, John Nicholls, Barbara Tonbridge, Allan Nicholls, John Floyd, Alicia Webber, Audrey Bradford, Maureen Stocker, Clifford Inges, Diana Churchill.
'Collecting postage stamps is still a hobby of mine and I wish I had the ones I'd collected as a boy as well as the postcards of the places we'd been to for our holidays. As our children grow up and go their ways these would have become more precious. Today I'm looking for labels from beer bottles, something that began in the 1960s.
'Cigarette cards, most of which had been printed and circulated by the tobacco companies before the war, had wonderful pictures of motor cars, ships, aeroplanes, football and cricket players and a whole variety of animals and birds. Many of these were eagerly swapped, or even fought over, in the school playground, the park, or one of the many areas of waste ground where we played.
'There were quite a number about in the 1950s and their popularity differed around the country. Players Capstan, Gold Flake, Senior Service, Woodbines and Du Maurier all had a distinctive motif. A favourite was the Midlanders. One of mine was Craven 'A' with its black cat.
'Turf packets came out around this time and introduced their brand of car. It was printed in various shades of blue. Some makes of packet, when opened from the gummed edge displayed a maker's serial number and these became quite a fad.
I also collected the many different types of matchboxes which were around at this time. As a selling point some companies would produce boxes with a picture on: a series of birds, butterflies, dogs, cats or even country scenes. An aunt of mine had a vast collection and very attractive they were too.
'A few years ago a friend allowed me the privilege of viewing his fine collection of Dinky Toys. It appears he had paid quite remarkable sums for some of the vehicles, in particular those of a military nature. But, I asked, 'How did they get to stay in such good condition?' When they first appeared around my home and school play-ground they were bashed about in mock crashes, left buried in the garden for weeks on end and used as items of play, which I thought was the object of the product!
However, I understand they are now considered a very sound item for investment. Yes, it's the same with Dinky Toys in the loft or in the cupboard under the stairs. Personally, I'm looking forward to playing with them again when grandchildren come along!
'There were two cinemas in Lancing and these were very popular, The Regal and The Luxor. They created another opportunity for the collector and I wonder if anyone still has their collection of postcard-sized, signed photographs of the stars of the day like Glynis John, Petula Clark, Jean Simmons, Richard Todd, Stewart Granger and David Niven. These were just a few of my collection but I've no idea what happened to them. It was possible to get some of these photos from the cashier at the cinema but normally she wouldn't let you have one, unless you had paid to go in.
'Today it's fashionable to make jokes about train spotters. However, there will be many fellows who can recall standing on the local station -- or as I did, Lancing railway bridge - or even going to Brighton to collect train numbers and names. One could buy a book full of the details of the trains in the region. When a number or name was spotted a line was drawn through that train's entry in the book. There were very few steam trains in the Southern Region, for even then west country class locos still hauled trains from Brighton to Plymouth and I well remember locomotives with west country town names of Honiton, Crediton, Tiverton and Ottery St. Mary.
'There was not a great deal of television around in the 1950s but comics were very popular then. A lot of time was spent discussing the latest adventures of Dan Dare and the Mecans, in the Eagle. Much swapping took place of favourites like Dandy, Beano and Wizard. Maybe in someone's attics these are still hidden away together with the more obscure objects like labels from jam and marmalade jars which made a very pretty display.
'My cousin Paul in Coventry had a very colourful collection of labels from cheeses. It wasn't just Kraft and Dairylea then. Many came from Holland and Switzerland. Laid out in a scrapbook they looked very striking.
'Then there were train or bus tickets we used to collect, or even the end of the roll from the bus conductor's machine. Some of these had quite unusual marking in red or blue lines running down the centre on to one side of the paper. Goodness only knows whatever happened to them!
'There was, of course, the seasonal collection of frog and toad spawn. Brought home and placed in large jam jars, or if possible, a sweet jar from one of the many sweet shops in the village. Watching the spawn develop into tadpoles when the back legs first arrived, and then the front ones.
'Then suddenly, they had no tail and it's time to put them in the old sink basin dug into the garden, filled with water and a few bricks together with a few worms for them to eat, but we were never quite sure what happened to them.
'Some boys collected birds eggs -- a practice frowned on very much now by many. Each egg would be pierced at both ends and the contents blown out to stop it going rotten, and then the egg lovingly kept in a shoebox full of cotton wool.
'Some lads would make a pet of almost anything: newts, lizards, slow worms and mice, caught on waste ground or on the Downs. All doomed to die or escape in a very short time. Some grown boys of 16 or 17 have been known to shed tears over the loss of a pet after just a few days.
'Another pal of mine, Ron Kerridge, a well known locomotive historian and sports personality with an enquiring mind, collected more or less anything including a fine collection of football match programmes up to the 1960s but that's another story.'
Barry's working life began in 1954 as a messenger boy on a pushbike at Worthing Post Office, progressing a year later to the then familiar red BSA Bantam motorcycle. Two more years passed before he went over to Lancing Post Office, as a postman on a rota system of driving and delivering.
One year later he joined the Royal Army Pay Corps where he served his two years National Service as an accountant.
Back in civvy street once more he returned to his postman's job before transferring the following year, in 1961, to Post Office Telephone Engineering as it was then (today it is British Telecom), based at a large depot in Northbrook Road, Worthing.
It was in 1966 that Barry married his long-time friend, Jennifer of Broadwater. He then moved from the thatched cottage at 34 South Street to Grand Avenue, less than half a mile away, again to no.34.
One of these thatched cottages was no. 34 South Street, Lancing where Barry Green was born in 1939. They were demolished in 1974, and the site is now marked by the Sunny Café opposite the Farmers' Hotel.
Promoted to a foreman position at Brighton in the mid 1970s, he later took early retirement in 1990.
He currently occupies a part-time position at Worthing Hospital in the Haematology Department as a medical laboratory assistant.
Although he was raised in the Anglican faith in the parish of St Michael's, where he served as a choirboy, both Barry and Jennifer have found their true faith in The Tabernacle at North Road, Lancing. Ironically, it was their son Adam who inadvertently introduced them to that church after going to Sunday school there with the young boy next door when he himself was only four.
Barry's other two main interests of bird watching and, yes, you guessed it, stamp collecting still, occupy his remaining leisure time.
Royal Army Pay Corps Training Centre at Devizes. No.234 intake
July 1958, B Company 6 Platoon.
Back row (L to R).
M G T Gray, A J Melvin, R.L. Petyt, W Tindale, D J Ashton, A.L. Blakesley, B J Gibson, J M Ward,
K Potkins, J S Evans, C D Cooper, K R Grimwood.
Centre row (L to R).
W Adams, C P Lynch, A Day, A J Burton, P Noble, C T Shirley, C A Colwell, L F Fairlie, C A Jenkins,
R D Mann, D T Jones R Peers.
Front row (L to R)
B M Strutt, R Wightman, B J Green, J S Earlam,
Sgt. J S Lee, Lt. M Proctor, Cpl K Retallack R Crane G H Althasen, M Jones, T G Cornell.