Having read other letters expressing sadness at the demise of the old Polegate Station, I felt the need to write this somewhat historical contribution.
While visiting my sister in Eastbourne recently, I stopped to ask about the future of the station sign still standing outside. I was told it will remain, which is reassuring.
We have a family connection in that our grandfather, Harry Freakes, was Station Master from 1935-1945. Our father, William, lived in the station house, and courted our mother there, during the war years. When it became a restaurant, we enjoyed extended family celebrations in what was their old home, involving much reminiscing.
The love of trains continued with our younger brother, Simon. From the age of seven, in the 1960s, he visited the station regularly, wearing his own child-sized uniform, and was befriended by the staff on the platforms.
At 16 he joined the railway and trained in the Lewes signal box. Over time he progressed to a Senior Railwayman, manning first Berwick Station, and later the ‘new’ Polegate Station.
Numerous travellers appreciated him for a variety of reasons. Simon sadly died in 2010.
Our parents spent more than 60 years of marriage in the stability of the same family home, while the railway and many other aspects of ‘village’ life changed around them. Watching the demolition of the old Polegate Station building was a particularly poignant demonstration of how these changes continue.
JANE READ (nee Freakes)
Winterbourne Close, Hastings