One winter in the 1980s, Ernie Mason was at a loose end, so he bought a notebook and began to write his autobiography. This story encapsulates a working-class man’s journey through life over the course of the twentieth century, documenting the many changes that took place in the local environment and in social conditions.

Born in 1906, Ernie lived all his life in Hove, except for a short period spent in the Navy during the war years. His childhood was spent in a neighbourhood that was full of market gardens, orchards and fields. Ernie recalls vivid memories of growing up, of his working life and finally of retirement after sixty years of work, having begun his working life at the tender age of eleven. The narrative not only provides a unique personal history, but also depicts a largely forgotten way of life in a bygone era.