17 Easebourne Street, in Easebourne, Sussex is an ancient wattle and daub, timber-framed building. It was a fixture of my childhood and remains a major touchstone in our family history. This was where my grandparents (on the Muller side) lived. It was where my brother and I played football with our cousins, where we climbed the massive fir tree at the end of the property and where we were once chased from the garden by a huge swarm of bees when the queen bee decided to rest in the apple tree we were playing beneath.
The following notes are memories my mum has of the family living in Easebourne.
Arthur and Matilda Muller Settle in Easebourne
Arthur Albert Muller and Matilda May Glue, my parents, moved into a house on Lutenor Road, Easebourne sometime before the birth of my sister Gladys Mary in 1926. At that time Dad was working as a Post Office fitter.
After my sisters and brother, Joan, Pat and Don were born Arthur and May moved the family to a house opposite the church steps in Easebourne Lane. By then Dad had been promoted to being a linesman for the Post Office. In 1938 they moved once again, to 17 Easebourne Street, where they would live with their family for the rest of their lives.
17 Easebourne Street
Most likely built in the 1500s, 17 Easebourne Street is one of three dwellings in a large timber-framed house. It was originally built with a thatched roof which was later replaced with tiles after a huge fire nearly destroyed the entire building.
My parents paid just 5/6 weekly rent (26 pence in today’s money!). Being an old house, there was no bathroom, no running hot water, and an outside privy! I well remember on a winters evening opening the back door and looking left and right for Bogey Men before I ran across the cobbles, and yes we used newspaper torn into squares and hanging on a nail! You can see the privy in the picture below beside the shed.
We bathed in a large zinc bath in the scullery, or in winter when we were small, beside the old black range in the living room. The living room was the only room downstairs apart from the scullery, where the huge copper lived, opposite the butler sink and looking out on the side garden. Part of the garden belonged to our neighbor, Mr. Dabbs who lived at number 18 at that time.
The living room was huge before the house was altered and an indoor bathroom and running hot water were installed. There was a larder in the corner on the right of the range which was originally the larder. Dad had a huge wooden box in there which was off-limits to us children!
Renovations at 17 Easebourne Street
In 1957 the house was renovated and the rent increased to £1.00 per week. Now the house had running hot water, an indoor toilet, and a bathroom – what luxury. After the renovations, the larder beside the range contained a huge wooden box containing dad’s important papers and some tools (not whiskey or rum) which was off-limits to us children!