by Pam Blackman from The Round Hill Reporter March 2003
The term Cat Creep, like Twitten (another local term), describes a route which whilst officially a public right of way, is more often a secret space shared by a few residents who may use it as a shortcut or remember playing there as children. For those of us who like to poke around the byways of the area, it offers fascinating glimpses of back gardens and, in particular, the orchard still occupying part of the 'green' area between Richmond Road and Round Hill Crescent.
Is it dirtier and more unsavory now than people remember? Ron Burleton recalls that 'the Cat Creep was frequented by an eccentric called Charlie - a harmless itinerant - who would recite Shakespeare to the children'. Mrs Clarke (aged 93 when interviewed in 2001) remembers daily using the steps both as a shortcut from her home in Belton Road down to Round Hill Crescent where most of her friends lived, and also later on her journey between her work and her home where (as was common then) she returned each lunch time for a midday meal. Quite a trek from Wellington Road where she worked, but certainly a shortcut, and quicker than using the tram which went up Ditchling Road.
Unlike some of the other Cat Creeps in Brighton, this one was not originally intended merely as a shortcut for the local residents. It was initially wider and named Lennox Road in readiness for houses to be built along it. However this plan was eventually abandoned: Lennox Road was just too steep for coaches to negotiate!
Read more about this interesting landmark as well as other fascinating memories from former and present residents in the forthcoming book to be published by Brighton Books. A suitable title has not yet been chosen and any ideas will be gratefully received. If you wish to make suggestions or to contribute your own memories of the area to the database collection already established, please write in the first instance to the editor of the Newsletter.