Perhaps better known as 'Chalky Hill'

By Andy Gilbert and Celia Malfroot

Photo:The view from Chalky Hill, 1966

The view from Chalky Hill, 1966

Celia Malfroot

Celia Malfroot has kindly allowed me to publish this photo of the harbour, looking down Geneva Road. From the comments it has received on the 'We Love Newhaven Pictures' Facebook group, it seems that I am very far from being alone in remembering this bumpy road being known as 'Chalky Hill'.

It's been suggested that the man in the picture is the late Peter Bailey, MBE and I have to agree - it does look like him and he lived not far away on Hillcrest Road.

Looking past the road and on to the harbour, it's one of those moments in history that's easy for me to date.

The shadows suggest a mid morning in summer, and indeed the car ferry Villandry is flying the Blue Peter, showing that she's about to leave with the 10.00 am sailing. But Falaise, seen moored ahead of her, would normally have taken that sailing, and Brighton, seen at the right, would already have have left, taking passengers on the popular 47/6d 'no passport' day trips to Dieppe. So what's happening?

If you look at Falaise, you'll see that she has a narrow black top to her funnel - it was normally much deeper than that. This was almost universally disliked and she carried it for just one season, in 1966. Older readers might remember that 1966 was the year of the British Seamen's Strike, which saw most British flagged vessels laid up from 16th May to 1st July. Newhaven was no exception, and the car ferry service to Dieppe was operated by Villandry and Valencay alone.

Falaise had been here at the East Quay throughout the strike, but Brighton had been moored further up-river at the Railway Quay. Towards the end of the strike, she was moved down to where we see her here, by the tugs MNS52 and Meeching. The tugs were able to work normally during the strike, with Meeching's crew belonging to the National Union of Railwaymen, rather than the National Union of Seamen. As for MNS52, she was privately owned and run by the Newhaven based METREC company, and I doubt if her crew were union members at all!

At the left of the photo is the distinctive yellow and green Harbour Watch House and in front, on the mud at the corner of Cresta Marina, is the sailing barge Maid of Connaught.

So, our photo is from a sunny morning in late June 1966, just before 10.00 am. Click on the photo for a larger version.

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 07/09/2020.
Comments about this page

That was my route to Tideway School, out from the twitten at left separating the houses on Hillcrest and Fort Road, slipping and sliding up Chalky Hill, past the old anti aircraft gun placement on the piece of triangular land at the top and then on up and up and up, or so it seemed.

By Rob Patten
On 11/09/2020

This was our route from Western Road to the beach or the Sunday walk to see the boat in /out. Of course it was always hot and the hope of an ice cream..... I remember, aged 11, pushing my new baby sister up Chalky Hill in a carriage pram; can’t imagine being able to do such a thing now! Very happy memories.

By Val Lidster (nee Vinall)
On 20/09/2020

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