62 Rowan Avenue

Although the town was not of strategic importance during the Second World War, Brighton was an ideal spot for German planes to drop their unused bombs.

Precautions against air-raids were certainly made. Blackouts were enforced at night, shelters were dug, and children (and treasures from the museums) were sent to the countryside for safekeeping. Despite the preparations, around 200 people were killed in over 50 bombing raids.

I have been aware for some time that 24-26 Park Crescent were destroyed during one such raid in 1942 and were not in fact rebuilt until 1983. I had no idea though that nine large bombs were dropped on two roads that I have often walked along, Rowan Avenue and Elm Drive in Hangleton, during the raid of 26th August 1940. One person was killed and two others were injured.

Two buildings were destroyed on Rowan Avenue, Nos. 62 and 64, yet the replacement structures which stand in their place today look just like their neighbours. But there are some clues as to their past and these were pointed out to me by one observant estate agent. Simon Francis from Fox & Sons in Hangleton is currently marketing No. 62 on behalf of the family of the original owner – who purchased it for £620 brand new in 1946. Braybon, a well-known local building firm that usually operated in the Withdean area, was responsible for its construction.

The two replacement houses form the northern end of a terrace of six buildings. The older neighbours feature wooden decorative beams yet their counterparts on the new buildings are made of sand and cement, rather than wood. On the ground floor, the bricks are a different colour and above, on the first floor, a small triangular bay window is missing. Vents are located in slightly different positions. None of these is noticeable though.

Although the interior is somewhat dated, there are two features that I really like. The first is a variety of Bakelite switches and handles that are most attractive. The second is a solid fitted 1950s kitchen that most people would turn their noses up at, which I find infinitely preferable to the chipboard equivalents of today. Behind is a generously-proportioned garden with a concrete coal bunker that comes complete with asbestos lid.

See Simon at Fox & Sons to purchase this property for £244,950 – an increase of just 39,408% on its original purchase price.