The Whistler – October 2015



Quadrupeds’ illustration from a late 18th century encyclopaedia. Private collection
Quadrupeds’ illustration from a late 18th century encyclopaedia.
Private collection


By living in the West Hill area you are automatically a member of the West Hill Community Association, which is why you receive The Whistler.

Some members have asked the Trustees to organise some more community events in addition to the quiz we hold on the last Tuesday of each month, the annual summer Treasure Hunt and the frequent Christmas socials. We’d like to hear about your ideas for the sort of events you’d like to attend, and if you have a hobby or interest that you would like to talk about and share with other West Hill residents. The Association is going to host a series of occasional talks at West Hill Hall – together with refreshments and bonhomie – and we thought we’d start by asking our own really interesting residents to let us know what they’d like to hear or want to share. The subject matter can be anything – say, the history of the Seven Dials, films, setting up a small business, women’s suffrage, windmills, alternative therapies, art movements, 7 Dials Open Houses, a wine and cheese tasting evening – the list is endless. The Association and the Hall is available to all residents, so do let us know what you’d like to see there. Write to Colette at to let us know your ideas for community events, and if you are interested in giving a talk, please contact Dorothy at and we’ll make it happen.

Talking of Christmas Socials, there’s another one on Saturday 5 December – see details in the panel below. West Hill’s got talent and we want to showcase it. We’re looking for 15 acts who can entertain us on the evening and win a prize into the bargain. Don’t hide your talents – share them with West Hill. Apply in writing to Colette at telling us about your act and why “it will mean the world to you” if you could perform on 5 December 2015.

Go on, you know you want to.



My People – Part 1

img838_1In the last edition we asked readers to share their childhood memories. Brighton actress, Kate Dyson, answered the call with some glorious memories of her famous Auntie Dolly…here’s the first instalment.

They might have been likened to a Penny Farthing. She, a handsome six footer, sallying forth in full sail like a magnificent galleon; he, the diminutive five foot nine figure at her side, dwarfed by her majesty. This though, only in stature, for the love these two shared was of equal measure. No question of that. He was Percy Sedgwick, my Great Great Uncle; she, Dolly Shepherd, his wife and my beloved Auntie. And then, of course, there was Molly, their only daughter, an unmarried schoolteacher. A little bossy, though good hearted, she strode forth with a step that would have been better suited to a Sergeant Major, ready to organise anything or anyone like a military operation. Always in the shadow of her Mother on whom she doted, it took me forty years to recognise the fine qualities Molly had inherited from Auntie. If ever there was such a thing as an enlarged heart, not as a result of disease, but because of the disproportional amount of love that was therein, then it would surely be found within these three people. Continue reading My People – Part 1

What did you do in the war? Part 4

Peter Batten concludes his memories of a terrifying time…

In September 1944 I started my years at St Olave’s. At that time the school was divided. Two thirds of the boys were evacuated to Torquay, but in 1943 part of the school premises was re-opened for those boys whose parents wanted them to remain in London. The rest of the premises were used as a temporary fire station! You may be interested to know that I am still in touch with 2 of the boys who joined the school on the same day that I did; they live nearby in Haywards Heath. Continue reading What did you do in the war? Part 4