City Streets to Sussex Lanes by David Johnston

‘A Sussex classic…’

Just eight years old – homeless, destitute and sleeping rough on a south coast beach….

City Streets to Sussex Lanes is an evocative, often moving, account of growing up in the Sussex countryside half a century ago.

When David Johnston, his mother and elder brother were thrown onto the streets of London, they made their way south, first sleeping rough on a Sussex beach, then living in the workhouse. His mother fell in with a farm labourer, a restless man who periodically moved about the county from one farm job to another.

David’s story tells of his tough, but happy, childhood with his new stepfather – the sounds and smells of the old farms and cottages where he lived; his adventures down country lanes and field paths; and his delight in the wildlife and country characters he met on the way.


THIS ENGLAND magazine – Spring 2010

‘This is no rose-tinted reminiscence – the life was hard and often cruel – but the author’s lyrical way with words and sharp memory for detail, give it a beauty and a truth that raise it far above most similar memoirs’


‘City Streets to Sussex Lanes’ featured on Gordon Astley, mid-morning show on 19 December 2008. Gordon found the book a ‘joy to read’.


‘- This book is destined to become a classic of Sussex memoir writing… Johnston’s evocative pen brings to life a world that has gone; rich with country flavours and peopled by strong individuals who flourished in areas remote from the general gaze.-‘


‘-Anyone who has enjoyed ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ will be sure to appreciate this book. With telling detail and a deep love for the Sussex countryside, David Johnston brings to life a child’s experiences in the fields and farms during the 1950s.-‘


‘-The author was only eight when he became destitute and found himself sleeping rough with his mother and brother on a South Coast beach. His story tells of a tough but happy childhood with a new stepfather. He talks of the sounds and smells of old farms and cottages, and adventures down country lanes-‘

© David Johnston
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One thought on “City Streets to Sussex Lanes by David Johnston”

  1. Mr Johnston I am looking a for a speaker /talk for Unison Retired Members Club, Worthing , I had your name in my book for a tal;k ” Walks across the Downs” But don’t know if You are the right Mr Johnston , looking for February 22nd 10-12am at the Gordon Rooms Worthing about 15 people Thanks Jean Kitchener Unison R.M. Secretary 01903 535334 sillybillyjean

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'David Johnston, is a Sussex Artist who creates 'offbeat' paintings with an old world flavour. David also has a Sussex Countryside Photography Collection. Here you can enjoy a Unique Collection of Landscapes – Natural World – Steam Fairs – Bygone Farming – Heavy Horses – Barns & Farm Buildings – Military Vehicles