Oral History Interviews



Lord, ‘Max’ Egremont, Earl of Leconfield

Lord Egremont discusses the running of a great country estate, which he inherited at the early age of 24. He also talks about the history of his family and Petworth House and those who he has worked with in a career of 50 years.

00:00 Intro
00:08 Early Life
01:53 Schooling and University
03:36 Petworth House and Estate
08:00 Ebernoe Horn Fair
08:23 Family History
11:08, Hunting
13:28 Class Distinctions/ local dialect
15:58 Authorship
18:49 By-Pass Controversy
21:10 Looking to the Future



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

John and Bernie Hills

Brothers, John and Bernie Hills have live all their lives in Stedham. Here, with insight and humour they discuss the changes they have seen in the village from the Second Worls War to the present day.

00:00 Intro
00:05 Schooling
04:59 John’s Working Life
09:00 Bernie’s Working Life
11:17 Wartime Memories
21:10 Changing Leisure Activities
27:47 Shops and Businesses
33:00 Change in the Village and Countryside
37:10 Ghosts and Legends
38:45 The Angers and the Royal Oak
41:39 The Importance of Friendship



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

Christopher Passmore: Applesham Farm

Now aged 90, Christopher Passmore has seen many changes in South Downs farming and community over the decades. He still lives on the farm worked by his father and grandfather before him.

Interview 1: Christopher talks about the history of Applesham Farm before he was born.



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

Christopher Passmore Memories

Interview 2: Christopher talks about his own memories of the farm and neighbourhood from the 1930s to the present day.

00:00 Intro
00:13 Memories of the 1930s
05:13 South Downs Shepherds and sheep farming
16:36 Country Singers and Harvest Homes
18:52 Wartime Memories
30:50 Attack on Steyning Grammar School
35:27 Soldiers on the Downs
38:10 Changes in Farming
47:35 Christopher becomes Farm Foreman
50:45 First Combine Harvester/ Mechanisation
53:03 South Country Accents



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

Bob Philips

Bob Philips came to live in Shipley as a very young child – an evacuee from wartime London. In this interview he charts an eventful life in the village, including memories of writer and poet, Hilaire Belloc.

00:00 Intro
00:07 Moving to Shipley
03:26 School Days
06:45 Childhood Illness
08:00 Wartime Memories
15:58 Memories of Hilaire Belloc, Kingsland, and the Windmill
20:58 Changes in Farming
25:20 Royal Visit 1952
27:10 Scouting



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

Andrew Shaxson

Andrew has now retired from farming and has had a ‘second career’ in local government. In this interview he looks back on a varied life, that at has taken him from the South Downs to Australia. He has many anecdotes that highlight the changes to South Downs farming and living since the 1950s.

00:00 Intro
00:12 My Early Life
02:31 On the Cusp of Change
06:57 Alf and Carrie Anger & the Royal Oak at Hooksway
12:06 Working Life on the Farm
17:01 Modern Farming
22:27 Schooling
28:00 My life in Australia
30:11 Changes to the Downs and woodlands
36:50 Council & Community work



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

Christabel Barran

Wood House Farm near Stedham dates back to medieval times. Christabel tells us something of its recent history, including the fascinating relationship between her adpoted Great Aunt and the local gypsies. She also recalls her childhood days growing up in Madehurst.

00:00 Intro
00:11 Woodhouse Farm and Ruth Scrimgeour
01:26 Ruth Scrimgeour and Selsey
04:05 The Duchess of Bedford
04:45 Childhood at Madehurst
08:00 Madehurst in the War Years
11:19 Changes to village life and farming after 1945
20:30 The Silver Queen Buses
22:02 Folk dancing and singing
24:19 Remembering George Belton
27:28 Water Supply at Madehurst
30:26 Superstitions
33:08 Adult Life: Return to Woodhouse Farm
42:27 The Gypsies
47:47 The Old School and Common Rights



Film and sound, Chris Evans, Redwood TV

(In a hurry? View short extracts from the main interview here)

Highdown Memories

In 2016, Chris Hare interviewed people who had worked at Highdown Towers and Highdown Gardens from the 1930s till the 1970s. This was during the time when the gardens and the house were owned by Sir Frederick and Lady Sybil Stern. Others who didn’t work for the Sterns, still remembered them and the role they played in the local community. The house is now a hotel and the gardens are owned and managed by Worthing Borough Council. Click here to view the interviews which were filmed and edited by Rob Gomez Martin and Chris Evans.

Do you remember Highdown during the time of the Sterns? If so please contact Chris at sussexhistory.hare@gmail.com

Highdown viewed from the south in the 1925. Photograph courtesy of Ed Miller, Ferring Conservation Group.



Interviews made by Children


Buddy Liszka interviewing Rosie Slough

Ten-year-old Buddy Liszka from Chesswood Primary School  produced a highly engaging interview with his former neighbour Rosie Slough. Buddy was able, in a few, well directed questions, to elicit a host of wonderful memories from Rosie. Buddy told us, “I have known Rosie all my life and it was nice to hear about her stories of her childhood in the Downs.”



Jasper Harrison interviewing Elizabeth Greenfield

Jasper Harrison from Chesswood School in Worthing has sent us an interview he recorded with his nan, Elizabeth Greenfield, over Christmas. Jasper is an excellent interviewer and is both insightful and reflective in his questions. We learn a great deal about Worthing in the 1960s and 70s, and also Jasper’s thoughts about the changes that have taken place locally in the last 50/ 60 years. Nan has some particularly vivid memories about the changes to Homefield Park in her lifetime and the horses that used to be kept in the stables that stood on the site where Chesswood School now stands.