In 1935 Brighton, Hove & District Omnibus Company was formed.  Their first acquisition was an 18-seater Dennis, which was purchased specifically for the Mile Oak run.  This route terminated in Chrisdory Road.  When it first started running, the bus would travel up Sefton Road into Stanley Avenue and then turn down Chrisdory Road.  It would stop at the top to let off any passengers and then drive to the bottom, where it would wait until it was the scheduled time to leave.  The drivers were regular to this route and they were well known.  In fact they would sometimes pick up shopping from Portslade for people and drop off passengers outside their own front doors should the bus be passing that way.

Eventually they knocked down the bridge over the High Street and double-decker buses reached even Mile Oak!  When the double-deckers started being used the bus would go straight along Mile Oak Road to the bottom of Chrisdory Road, where it would back up and wait at the bottom until it was time to depart. Some of the early double-deckers had outside staircases.

Mile Oak was still an isolated community at this time and often, as the bus went down into Mile Oak, the conductors would call out “Indian country coming up-mind the arrows!”  The buses found the climb from Portslade Old Village into Mile Oak Road a strain.  They would frequently come to a halt, gears crunching, whilst the conductor would call for everyone to lean forward to take the weight off the back of the bus.  The children would sit at the back laughing at all the old ladies leaning forward as requested!  In the winter, when it snowed, the buses would not even attempt the hill and the route would terminate at the Old Village.  As children we loved this, as it meant that we either could not go to school until the buses started running again, or we had to walk to school, only to be sent home again because the toilets (being outside) had frozen.  Even after Valley Road was built the buses still had to stop at the Village during snowy weather, as they could not turn across the hill into Valley Road.

As the community grew routes were changed and the No. 9 was replaced by the 15b.  After the construction of Valley Road we had a further bus, the No. 15, which traversed Valley Road to terminate at the Girls School in Chalky Road.  The 15b continued to use the old route along Mile Oak Road.  The 15b ran three buses an hour, 5 past, 25 past and quarter to the hour from the late 1940’s and often ran relief buses at 8.30am for school children.

These days the bus goes all the way from Mile Oak to Whitehawk, several times an hour; and - although these days we rarely have snow - they do find it much easier to get up the hill.

The journey to Mile Oak in the 1920’s would have been a rural one, rather than the suburban trip we are used to making today.  At this time the old bridge still spanned the High Street and therefore the journey could only be undertaken by a single decker bus.  In the early ‘20’s you would reach Mile Oak (probably sporadically) by the 9a, but in 1928 the No. 9 Route was designated.  This would be the route - from Portslade Station to Mile Oak - that I am sure we can all remember until the late 1940’s.

Buses - pictures